CHICAGO — H&R Block Inc. (HRB), which provides tax advice to millions of Americans, made an embarrassing confession on Thursday. It goofed on its own taxes.They're on a roll at H&R Block, having already messed up earlier in the year.
Ouch. Any decent accountant will tell you that the most important aspect of running a successful accounting practice is having the proper technology to do so - even if that means shelling out bigger bucks. For a large company like H&R Block to blow something like that in a way that could drive away a quarter of a million customers is just atrocious. Messing up your own company's taxes as an accounting firm is mind-boggling, and is sure to drive away more customers: Why go to H&R Block - who can't even do their own taxes - when I can get TurboTax or some other program or find a trustworthy accountant myself?
Ernst said software-related technology problems left the company unprepared for a surge in January filings by taxpayers expecting refunds and "created a hole out of which we're working to climb."
He said the problem "cost us 250,000 clients" that were "unable to be recovered."
One more thing that bothers me about H&R Block: Their lottery-style advertising. The focus of their advertising is on this scratch-off "double your refund" game, not on their ability to save you hundreds of dollars in taxes. In addition, most people aren't getting huge refunds to begin with that they could gain much by doubling it anyway. That a few people nationwide are getting a couple of thousand dollars off a game is very unimpressive; an accounting firm should be able to say how much money they're saving a normal customer, not a lucky customer, on their taxes.
I'm glad I know how to do my own taxes.