Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I Love My H R Block Tax Preparer

Yes, I’m a broken record lately. I’ve listed the names of two big corporations two times in a row in my blog titles. (See last month’s tirade against Charter Communications Interenet Service.) I can’t help it this month—I have to say this: I love my H & R Block tax preparer!

No, no, it’s not a romantic attachment at all. It’s a professional arrangement, but she’s my friend as well and she understands what a tough financial bind I find myself in lately. She went the extra mile to help me get all the business deductions I could legally take this year and helped me get my personal tax forms in order. The end result? I don’t owe the government anything! Yippee!

This is a big deal for me, since I had been forced into submitting my tax forms as “married filing separate” because of my ongoing divorce difficulties. Without dependents and a head of household deduction, you can pay a lot (that is, GINORMOUS) amounts of taxes. And when you’re forced to itemized your deductions (since the other spouse had done so already without bothering to ask if this would be convenient for you) rather than take the standard deduction, you really do find yourself scrambling to come up with enough deductions to help lower your tax burden.

But with my tax preparer Donna’s help, we did it. Just in time, too. There’s a deadline of April 15 in the US to file these sorts of things, right?

My “bacon has been saved” as some would put it, and don’t I know it. I’m breathing a little easier at nights knowing that the taxman won’t be coming after me in a black hood, chain mail vest, combat boots, a vicious sneer plastered on his ghastly visage, carrying an ax to chop off my head… Yes, it is a silly nightmare, but most Americans possess an instinctive fear of the Internal Revenue Service. It’s in our genes somewhere next to the uncontrollable urge to yell, “Play ball!” after hearing the national anthem.

(Sorry about that IRS. I’m sure you are all very nice folks, like Will Ferrell is in Stranger than Fiction. Good move on your part to cast likeable guy like Will in that role, too.)

Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt desperate like I did this past month? Like nothing or no one could help you? Did you find out that someone could actually help you out of this hopeless situation? How did you find yourself after the experience—older, wiser, less stressed, committed to an insane asylum?

Leave me a comment below describing your experience, and I’ll choose a name from the comment-makers for a freebie e-book prize. So, talk to me—what have you got to lose? (You might just have something to gain. It won’t be extra taxes, either.)


ddurance said...

I feel desperate right now. I have it in for my insurance company and let me tell you why. We had insurance through my husband last year and it was AETNA. Let me warn you now, never take out insurance with AETNA. They didn't pay a penny on us last year, not even when I was put in the hospital for a couple of days due to a bleeding ulcer. We decided to take my insurance this year, which is state. Everything seemed to be going along okay until yesterday when I carried my girls to the dentist for fillings. I paid my part of $252.00, which was plenty, mind you, there at the office. I get a call today from the dentist office that the insurance claim was denied because there is a waiting period for basic procedures of one year and there is a waiting period for major procedures of two years. So, now I owe another $292.00! I pay over $300.00 in insurance every month and this is what I get in return. Ain't life grand?


Depressed in Georgia

Jean said...

This year we got slammed with paying taxes, due to a mistake our financial advisor made with some purchases and sales. So we have two big tax checks to send out, not to mention installments for the next year to both federal and government. We aren't too happy with the financial guy right now. Its going to be kind of interesting this year how we are going to make out. Things aren't the happiest in our household right now. What is that saying....death and taxes!

C. said...

OOo!! Yeah, it's death and taxes--and being taxed to death at other times. Sigh! I hope that works out for you in the end, Jean.

And I feel for you on the health insurance. It seems since the 1990s I've had nothing but problems with whatever insurance we were covered under. I thought the "first time" Hillary was in office we were suppose to have the health care crisis attended to? Seems not to have happened!

Debby said...

I too have messed up my tas with holding and had to pay biug bucks one year. We had to take out a loan. Now we get back about $5000 but I have not changed it because I hate that feeling. We are losing kids for claiming purposes and so that $5000 will shrink

Anonymous said...

I still do my own taxes rather than depend on someone else, but that does mean I spend quite a bit of time reading all those arcane publications like F6781 Gains and Losses Section 1256. And filling out all those little calculation sheets in the instruction booklet (that you don't file, but you better have them handy if the IRS ever decides to audit you) is a major pain. But even more disturbing are the 'caps' that are put on various deductions - I can't take the student tuition deduction (even though I paid over $16,000 last year for my eldest son's college) because my total gross income is too high - the IRS tax code doesn't care that I live in one of the highest cost-of-living areas of the country, and that my income is merely average for this area.

Somewhere along the line Congress really needs to dump the entire existing tax code and start over, with something that is both understandable by the average person (even the IRS people frequently can't tell you accurately how to fill out your return!), and that is equitable for all, poor or rich.

As far as a situation in which I felt desperate, my youngest son began showing very disturbing symptoms of extreme stress (poor grades, non-socializing, argumentative, angry, etc) at least partially caused by my earlier divorce and the battles I was having with her over custody. It seemed like nothing I did or said could get through to him. The court system was not very helpful, but did at least mandate that we employ the services of a family counselor. This was not cheap ($300/hr), and the counselor's recommendation of how to help my youngest son was even more expensive (sixteen months at a private boarding school dedicated to helping 'troubled' teens) at $90,000 (and of course, my medical insurance paid $0 of that total), but the net result was very positive, as I now have a son I can talk and relate to, who has real plans for his future, and dedicated to actually working towards his goals. Unfortunately, such help is simply beyond the means of most people (and stretched me to the limit - I'll be paying for this for at least another ten years). Government aid for other families in similar situations really should be part of any new universal health care package, but I doubt that it will ever happen.

LK Hunsaker said...

*sigh* You hit a touchy subject today since I just got notice that I'm "randomly selected" to prove that what I said on my return two years ago is true.

Not only do I have to call tomorrow (got the notice late because they sent it to my old address), but I have to arrange a face-to-face ... and I'm social phobic which makes these things awfully hard to deal with and hubby is away working. I worked for H&R Block for 10 years and I know my taxes are right, but that doesn't help my nerves.

HRB does know taxes! Their other stuff might be iffy but their preparers are well trained. A couple of times I had to call the IRS for a client and prove I was right against their argument, and I was. I've also corrected CPA returns, which are often wrong.

LuAnn said...

When I was a single parent, my tax refund was vital to survival. One year, they decided to take all my refund for my student loans ... after I had already arranged payments on it! You can imagine how panicked I was over that. But since you can't argue with them, I had to bite the bullet and struggle through. Didn't make me wiser, didn't make me older, didn't make me anything but irritated.

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