Truth About the Maximum Refund Guarantee
You’ve probably heard about H&R Block’s Maximum Refund Guarantee. Sounds pretty great, right? Like most guarantees, the devil is in the details.
We dug through over 100 bullet points on their homepage to sum it up. It sounds good, but it’s not relevant.
The main caveats in their wonderful guarantee
They only guarantee a reimbursement up to their fee, not your loss, and only if you they made an error and you didn’t have any new information to report. This means that when you show up at H&R Block, you need to know everything that is deductible to you. Unless you are a tax professional and have paid close attention to the new tax rules for the last year, it will be hard for you to know everything you should include.
They also know that you won’t bring your tax return to a knowledgeable professional to double-check their work, because you’ll be happy with your $700 refund, for instance. They know you won’t look to see if it could have been $2,700. Even if your refund could be more, it’s probably because the quality professional asked for new information, which is an exception to H&R Block’s guarantee, so you won’t get a dime from them.
Do you know taxes?
If your tax return consists of a W-2, a 1099-INT, and a CRP, then H&R Block will handle them right. But if that’s the case, why would you go to H&R Block? This low-maintenance tax return could easily be done on your own using a low-cost service online that walks you through the process for a non-complex return, step by step, such as TaxAct. The program won’t think, but it’ll ask you about common situations.
Unfortunately, H&R Block (and other retail tax offices) builds trust with customers who have a W-2 that significantly over-withholds, so there’s almost always a refund. Withholding tables are designed by the IRS to give you a refund so you have incentive to file your taxes.
Those trusting H&R customers then buy a house (which usually results in unknown deductions in the house closing statement) or have children (which may result in child, dependent care, or education credits). Then they go to the same low-grade accountants as they always have, and they’re happy, because all those added complexities always result in deductions and credits, which means they’ll always get a refund.
They’ve already secured your loyalty and trust, so why would they put a lot of effort into maximizing all of your benefits? Do they know or care about what you do not? You trust them because they prepared your easy returns and got you a refund. But they’re there to produce as many form pages as possible (some aren’t needed, but you’re still often paying for them) and serve as many people as possible. For them, it’s like a fast-food restaurant—it’s about turning tables.
When you go to the retail tax office, the personal touch just isn’t there.
What if there was a way to get a much larger refund? At Sundberg Tax & Consulting, we don’t just meet with you once. We continue the conversation by email to ask you for more information to see if outside-the-box tax deductions could apply. We continue to search for the information you didn’t know to bring us.
If you have a business, there are so many rules, options, and opportunities that we highly recommend a close professional relationship with a high-caliber tax professional who knows the techniques that will greatly reduce your long-term cash expenditures on taxes.
Unless you know everything that should be deducted, how to allocate all of your expenses between the business and the personal sections of your return, and all of the correct information to record (and you record such information in an efficient manner), it is almost certainly more advantageous for you to opt for the kind of personalized accounting and tax experience that you can’t get at a retail tax office or using tax-preparation software.
Don’t go to a retail tax office to save a little cash on your tax prep fee? What are you missing? What are they missing because they never bothered to ask the questions or get to know you? They’re focused on getting you in and out. It’s better to use a tax company that teaches its clients why it does things, a company whose professionals do this every day, year-round, and a company that was founded with the goal of giving small businesses and families a better option.