Monday, January 25, 2010

The H&R Block Debacle

It was Tom who wanted to go to H&R Block to get our taxes done.

I wanted to do them online as we had done four years in a row.

But no. He kept worrying that he’d make a mistake since we bought a new car and would get the sales tax back.

I kept saying that he was doing it right online because he had started it to see what our tax refund estimate would be.

“I’d just feel more comfortable going to an actual tax person,” Tom kept saying.

So fine, I gave in.

I made the appointment and we gathered up all our papers and drove over there.

We walk in, I say we have an appointment with Linda and the young girl behind the desk blinked at me.

“Um. There’s no Linda here,” she said.


“Maybe the appointment was with someone else?” I suggested. Maybe they had given me another name on the phone. Natalie was freaking out when I was making the appointment after all. She wanted me to pick her up and when I refused, she started trying to climb up my leg. So I was trying to focus on the conversation while she decided to act like she was a monkey. On me.

The young girl typed in my name and shook her head. “Nope, you’re not here. Oh.” She peered closer at her screen and I thought, Phew, she’s figured it out. But then she gave me an apologetic smile and said, “You’re at the wrong H&R Block. Your appointment is for the one downtown. Not here.”


“But I know I dialed the number for the one here.” I made sure of that.

She shook her head. “All the numbers are the same. The woman who took your appointment was supposed to let you know.”

I felt my blood begin to boil. “Well, she didn’t.” I said this sharply and gripped the handle of my purse. For a brief second I was tempted to spin my purse over my head and make a noise like Xena Warrior Princess to show my anger. But I didn't.

“I’m sorry. I’ll call and let them know you’re running late,” the girl said, picking up the phone.

“We don’t even know where the one is downtown!” I said.

So she gave us directions. I thought Tom was paying attention because hello, he was driving and he was the one who wanted to go to H&R Block in the first place. But when we got back in the truck he went, “What road do we turn off of?”

“Screw this,” I snapped, tossing the W2 on the ground. “Let’s do it online, okay.” Fine, I admit I have a temper if places aren’t organized. Why didn’t the woman on the phone tell me it was for the H&R Block downtown in the first place?

“I don’t want to do it online,” Tom said stubbornly. He started messing with his GPS. “We’ll figure this out.”

We made a few wrong turns. Usually Tom hollers and carries on when he’s missed a turn. But he just calmly turned the truck around while I seethed in my seat.

“I want to do the taxes online,” I kept saying.

“I don’t,” Tom answered.

We finally made it to other H&R Block. It was across the street from an adult bookstore. I’m not even kidding.

“Thanks Tom, for bringing us to the seedy part of town,” I said.

“No problem,” he replied lightly because after all, he was getting his way.

We checked into H&R Block and I apologized for being late—have I mentioned that I HATE being late? “But when I made the appointment the woman on the other end never bothered to tell me which H&R Block to go to. She seemed distracted when I spoke to her,” I said accusingly. This was true. I remember that the woman had seemed flippant and eager to get me off of the phone. I bet she was texting.

The blond woman behind the desk immediately looked guilty. “Oh. You probably spoke to me then. I have a bad habit of not telling people where to go. Tee hee.”

I’m not kidding. She actually went teehee at me.

Tom could see I was about to lose my cool so he took hold of my arm and led me to some chairs in the waiting area.

“Sit. Breathe,” he instructed, taking the clipboard with the paperwork that we had to fill out from me.

“But that girl teeheed me like it was no big deal!” I hissed. “There are people out there who need jobs and H&R Block gave teehee girl one? What’s wrong with this world?”

Tom put a finger to his lips. “Shhh. It’s okay. We’re here now.”

A few minutes later we were called back by our tax person. I showed her the receipt that we got for paying the car tax when we bought the new car. I expected her to go, “Oh yes, I’ve seen tons of those before.” Instead she took the paper from me, peered closely at it and went, “Hmmm. I’ve never done one of these before.”

Okay, I assumed H&R Block was filled with experts.

I shot Tom a Look that clearly said, “THIS is what you wanted?”

“I’ll figure it out though,” the woman said as she logged onto her computer.

I slid over our Social Security cards. “Show me the money,” I said jokingly. I was trying to make best of the situation even though I still wanted to throw something at Teehee Girl.

The woman stared at me with wide eyes. She was clearly perplexed. “Huh?”

“Show me the money,” I repeated a little weakly. Hasn’t she seen Jerry Maguire? I assumed everyone had.

“Don’t mind my wife,” Tom spoke up. “She has Tourettes.”

Actually, he didn’t really say that. But his expression certainly did.

“It’s a line from a movie. Never mind,” I mumbled to my fingers.

The woman blinked a few seconds and then took the Social Security cards. “I see,” she said with faux politeness. “I see.”

Then we started. And her computer tax program kept beeping at her.

“What am I doing wrong?” she said.

Was she asking us? How would WE know?

Finally she’d figure it out but then something else would go wrong.

I was beginning to get a headache. I kept tossing Tom I-told-you-so looks. Trust me, if the roles were reversed and I insisted on going to H&R Block, he’d have done the same to me.

An hour later we were finally done.

“So your total fee is $230,” the woman said, tapping her screen.

Excuse me?


Was she on crack?

I mean, it was the seedy part of town. She could have very well been on crack.

“Yes,” Tom said beside me. “Okay.” He nudged me as if to say, “Start acting like a human being.”

“Two hundred and thirty dollars?” I echoed.

“That’s right. We can just take it from your tax refund if you wish. But if you pay us with a debit or credit card, you get thirty dollars off,” the woman said cheerfully. How does she sleep at night charging people that much for punching in a few numbers? We had an uncomplicated tax return for craps sake.

“We’ll pay with debit card,” I said thinly. I poked Tom in the leg as if to say, “I hope you’re happy with this. We could have paid NOTHING had we done it online.”

I mean, okay, I’m happy with the tax refund amount that we’re getting back.

But two hundred and thirty dollars to get said tax refund? Seriously?

I was trying to bite my tongue as we got into the truck to leave.

“What’s wrong?” Tom asked as he backed out.

“Nothing,” I answered but my tone clearly said that I was pissed the crap off.

Then Tom went, “Actually, the amount we got back was basically the same amount as it showed online.”

That’s when I lost it.

“Why didn’t you SAY anything then? We could have walked away if we didn’t want to pay TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS! You should have said, ‘Excuse me, clueless H&R Block lady, but when I typed everything in online I got the same amount so I think we’re going to walk.’ And you DIDN’T?” I didn’t want to throw anything at TeeHee Lady at that moment (on the way out she had gone, “Have a fantabulous night!” and I felt the urge to throw my cell phone at her blond head). Now I had a compulsion to hurl something at my husband’s head.

“Well, I figured she did all that work so we should pay her for it,” Tom said calmly. How can he remain so calm? TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS?

“Here, you look stressed, I’ll get you a diet cherry coke from Sonic. Okay?” Tom offered.

He’s really lucky that I love Sonic.

Two hundred and thirty dollars indeed.


  1. He's still have restraint! we only dealt with H&R once...we learned, too. Always use Turbo Tax. It's well with the $50 for the program. I'm self employed and have to do all kinds of forms and it simplifies my confusion!

  2. Taxes should have NEVER gotten so complicated that you need help determining what they are...

    We really need to nuke the tax code with its gazillion loopholes (mostly for the seedy politicians) and start over.

  3. Oh. My. Gosh. I would have told both of them where to go!
    I hate H&R Blockheads. Went there once and they totally ripped me off. I e-filed by myself after that, until I started a business and hired an accountant.
    I don't know if Sonic would have made me feel better. :)

  4. Ahhhh H&R Block....the most incompetent & overpriced tax preparation source in the entire world! I have had a few run-ins with them in my life. I can't believe that people actually go there.

    Let this be a lesson Tom! :)

    P.S. I would have so thrown something at TeeHee girl AND reached over the desk to slap Ms. No Sense Of Humor woman who punched in a couple of numbers on the computer and called it a days work! Ugh.

    You can't fix stupid!

  5. Gah! I would have ripped my husband's head off if he did the entire tax form, got the same number and still paid someone else! Men are very anti-confrontational, aren't they? I figure that if you don't have complicated investments, haven't sold any stock it's not worth it to pay someone else to do the taxes. Of course supposedly you can file online free but not really because you have to income qualify. Annoying. So TurboTax gets some of our $...but much less than H&R Block.

  6. How on earth did you not launch yourself over her desk and throttle the last breath from her body???

  7. We used H&R block for years due to many confusing circumstances but their prices have shot up way too much! We've actually never had a bad person, but then the computer program does everything for them so I think it must be hard to screw up. As soon as she said "what am I doing wrong?" I'd have walked.

    I'm doing mine online this year for sure.


  8. YIKES!!!

    we don't do our online, but where we go they only charge 75 bucks! and i totally would have fought hard with myself to not throw something at her!

  9. I'm pretty sure H&R Block uses Turbotax online. I only use TurboTax, but I'm pretty sure I will be audited anytime.

  10. You wrote this so well that MY blood pressure went up as I was reading.
    A woman I know works at H&R during tax season and she's CLUELESS so I shudder when I hear people say they're going there.

  11. Holy crap! This is why Im glad my friend is a CPA!!!

  12. shit I was seething reading that. I so would have told teehee lady to shut up and clueless tax lady would have gotten a few words too.

    We go to a CPA guy who works for himself and pay him less than that and get personal service...

    Your husband is lucky to be alive...

    I do love the way you write it .. very funny.

  13. Indeed.

    That is where I lost it.

    You really are hilarious.

  14. the "what am I doing wrong" lady was probably using turbo tax that you could have done at home WITHOUT spending two hundred dollars!! and if the number was the same and THEN you spend 230 dollars it ISNT the same amount refund, its 230 LESS! how can men not see that? I do love the way you recount these things though.

  15. girl if you would have told me that you were planning on going there I could have warned you!!! The hubs and I went there f years ago and the charged us $375 to tell we owed money!!!!!!

    NO JOKE!

    I have done our taxes MYSELF with Turbo Tax ever since and we have gotten at least a $2000 refund back....2 points for Mom!!! And trust can't mess it up. You could have done the car tax on it yourself, they even ask you that question, and all you have to do is key in the amount...but don't tell Tom I told ya that :O)

  16. and Turbo Tax only cost me $35 and they file it electronically for you too!

    you don't even have to buy the program. just go to their website.

  17. My first year out of college it was my first time to file as an independent, plus I a couple of extra deductions to make, so I did the H & R Block thing just to make sure I had all of my bases covered. To begin with I wasn't getting near as much back as I had in the past, and when he gave me their fee, my eyes started to tear up. The nice old man that was helping advised me to go home and do it online myself for free, since it was such a simple return. So I took my stuff and left, but I was still shaken up because I had plans for that return. I thanked him all the way out the door for not charging me. =)

  18. We use Turbo Tax too and we have serious deductions. No EZ form for us.

  19. I'm afraid my hubs would not still be living if he had done that! LOL You showed great restraint!

    Once while wheeling & dealing with a car salesman I laughed out loud in the man's face and had to get up and walk out. Now hubs doesn't make me go with him anymore.

  20. The next time Tom gives you any grief over any UPS packages that arrive just say "H&R Block" - that should shut him up. :)

  21. I would not have blamed you for going all "Xena Warrior Princess". 230 bucks? That is crazy!!!

    I had to laugh at the cherry coke from Sonic. That is my vice too when I'd had one of those days.

  22. For 24 years I did my own taxes. Seriously. Paul however has always used a guy and it's always a couple hundred bucks. I just shake my head in confusion as to why he gives up his hard earned money for something I could easily do for him.

    Teehee girl would of rubbed me the wrong way. I can't stand overly happy people. (Hugs)Indigo

  23. I too use Turbo Tax and we have a couple of different businesses and our personal...I always do it myself. Hopefully, I'm doing it right! :) Teehee!

  24. Wow! You are way ahead of me. . . I'll be doing my taxes on line on April 14th and filing an extension at that!

  25. Well, now he knows, right? And you got another great post, for only $230. Plus cherry Coke. Which reminds me, we should get started on our taxes, and not wait until, oh, April 14!

  26. I really, really hate this time of year! Taxes make me feel ill.

  27. Oh I would have had to strangle someone. I only used H&R Block one time, and it was because I had actually worked in two states that year and it was quite confusing. But it was still screwed up. Both states sent me nasty letters wanting me to pay taxes in that state for the entire amount I'd earned and reported on Federal. So somebody somewhere totally screwed it up, and nobody at H&R was willing to help us fix it all.

    I do it myself now.

  28. You should have killed them all. $230 for filling in the blanks? When she was clearly less qualified than you guys to do this? "Never seen one of these before?" Off with her head!

    Hey, when she didn't recognize the Jerry McGuire line, you should have said, "You had me at 'refund'." She wouldn't have gotten that either... How dim can a person be???????

  29. My dad does taxes for a living. He charges much less.

  30. we are truly blogger soulmates! i do my taxes online ALLLL the time, and if i have a changes for a new year (anticipation of extra dinero), then i'll go to Jackson Hewitt and almost do my taxes just to make sure its the same amount. cuz you sure as heck wont catch ME paying $230. no way, no how. but men? they dont get it. siiiiiiiigh.

  31. That is why we always do ours online. I would have been tempted to throw something at someone's head, too.

  32. I probably would have killed him. I was actually sitting here reading this with such a look of horror on my face that my husband said "Why are you making that face?"

    Not to rub it in, but you do realize they will give any loser that can operate a computer a job at H&R Block, right? I figured that out when my massage therapist told me she got a part-time job at H&RB last tax season, and they only gave her 4 hours of training.


  33. I don't think I would have let him off with just a sonic.

  34. Oh my gosh, I would have back-handed her after the first teehee!

  35. Teehee?! Teehee?! I think I would have slapped her just for that comment alone.

  36. Oh, I would've gone apeshit.

    That whole scenario is one giant ass clown.

    And "tee hee"??? I would've lodged a complaint the second that came out of her vapid, little mouth.

    I am outraged on your behalf.

    Straight up poppycock!

  37. Maybe you should have ordered 3 diet cherry cokes, one to throw at each of them!

  38. I had to laugh at the cherry coke from Sonic. That is my vice too when I'd had one of those days.

    Work from home

  39. Ohhh man. Yea, I would have walked out of there myself. I do mine online, so I'm on your side!!!!

  40. Wow, he's lucky to be alive and not chopped up into a million tiny pieces buried 6 feet under. I would seriously wring my husband's neck after something like that.

    But look at it this way...he owes you big time. I think perhaps a day off with some girlfriends to see a movie and have dinner would be a great way to collect!!

  41. argh we went to H&R Block once. ALL THEY DO is use a program exactly like Turbo Tax. A fracking MONKEY could do it. My accountant now charges $250 to do both our personal taxes AND my business taxes (which is the main reason I have someone else do them because it gets a little confusing with the business stuff), and he uses an actual pen & paper, and we ALWAYS get way more back than we thought. He's awesome.

    Your husband OWES YOU ONE. lol

  42. I'm one of those idiots that went to H & R Block. I had never done the paperwork for my husband's business and was all nervous. After the second year of paying $350! for them to fill in the blanks with numbers I provided, I decided I could fill in the blanks myself. [sigh.] I didn't even get a trip to Sonic out of it.

  43. i hate being late husband is to anal to let anyone touch our finances....i'm always the one that is scared it is wrong...i can hear the IRS taking us away over $1...i hate the tax man! ok enough w/my rant! cute blog. you have a new follwer! ;o)

  44. I hate H&R Block...they are such a rip off!

  45. Thump him on the head. Know how many Gymboree clothes $230 would have bought? ;) Glad you got your taxes done. I'm filing ours thru TurboTax this week.

  46. Hubby and I once walked on a $379 tab at the Block - apologized to the geeky little greasy haired man behind the desk for wasting his time and we went home. After that, I learned all about capital gains tax and I've been doing our taxes on-line ever since!

  47. HOLY CRAP! Our accountant doesn't charge us that much and he does our small home business AND personal taxes! We used to go to H&R, but our new guy gets us more money back AND he can actually answer our questions!!

  48. That's one helluva spendy cherry coke...

    I can't even believe they charge that much, that's insane. There's so much wrong with this story...I'm seriously mad FOR you, so I'm going to just shut up now so I don't say bad things :)

  49. Now I know why we do our own taxes with Turbo Tax! I think I would have had to yell very loudly at more than one person it that office!

  50. I hate taxes. I'm very impressed that you've already done yours.

  51. Ya know, it would be ONE thing if you had a lot of complicated things, like moving, buy and selling a house or a business, etc. But if it was straightforward, $230 was a LOT of moola! If Tom didn't think so, then maybe he'd like to just hand over that amount to you so you could spend that at Gymboree! How does THAT sound to him? Huh?

  52. Holy smokes, I was stressed just reading your post!

  53. $230 at the office? SHoly kitxty! I paid only $49.95 on line and got the H&R immediate thing. You got ripped and tom owes you more than sonic.

  54. I can't believe you are already done. Sadly my accountant charges more than that and I'm nowhere near ready.

  55. Yep. That's why we do ours online...We had ours done by a CPA a few years ago and it cost that much. The next year, I got it all out and noticed that things weren't exactly right. Apparently, she filed someone else's taxes as ours and ours as theirs. I think I may have thrown something at my hubby when I noticed it!!!

    Stopping by from SITS! Have a great day!

  56. The first year DH & I did our taxes together we went to H&R block thinking it would be the easiest thing to do. $450 later, two DIFFERENT filings (because we weren't married yet) and an IDIOT behind the desk... I will NEVER go back!

    Since then I have done it online with no issues.

    They are not tax professionals, they are bums off the street that can repeat numbers like a trained monkey.

  57. Wow.

    That is some intense ass-suckery!

    But then I read your new blog today about how they called and made it all better (mostly. There is that tiny bit of your soul that they stole and you'll never get back.)


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