During tax season, emotions can run high. Many of us find ourselves stressed out and frustrated by all of the financial records and forms the IRS demands every year. When this happens, many of us turn to some of the trusted names in DIY tax preparation software.
Unfortunately, tax giants like TurboTax and H&R Block have betrayed their clients’ trust. Consumer reporting outlets are full of former customers claiming the companies promised them services that were later included only at a higher fee. Most of us need some help preparing our taxes, and these widespread allegations of bait-and-switch undermine confidence in the quality of these services.
If you need tax advice, you have to find a professional you can trust. Happy Tax can connect you with a licensed Certified Public Accountant who can provide you with all of the tax advice, preparation, and planning services you need.
H&R Block’s Legal Troubles Raise Consumer Protection Concerns
Millions of taxpayers have used H&R Block to help them prepare their tax returns, and many would be surprised to know that the company has an extensive history of false advertising claims. Back in 2001, a federal judge ordered H&R Block to pay over $500,000 in fees and penalties for misleading ads. The company was slapped with another class action lawsuit in 2006 based on its dubious refund anticipation loan program. Then, in 2011, the company settled a case brought in New York seeking damages for five counts of false advertising.
However, the controversy didn’t stop there. Several false advertising suits followed the New York case, and these cases were eventually consolidated into a class action. H&R Block settled each civil claim for false advertising in 2016, so it did not make a legal admission of guilt. However, these cases do highlight a disturbing trend and undermine confidence in H&R Block’s services.
Bait and Switch Complaints for TurboTax, H&R Block
The H&R Block class action alleged, among other things, that customers were required to pay extra for certain tax credits to be applied to their returns despite being led to believe that these credits were included with their service. So, although the company guaranteed a “maximum refund,” it would only file returns properly if its customers paid extra. Sadly, it appears that H&R Block is not the only company taking advantage of clients’ trust.
Intuit, the software company behind TurboTax products, faced consumer backlash after pulling what many users claimed was a bait-and-switch scheme. The company downgraded the capabilities of its TurboTax Deluxe product line in 2014, so the software could no longer be used to file common tax forms it could handle in the past. However, the downgrade was not widely advertised and was not reflected in the price. After substantial backlash from its customers, Intuit eventually issued a $25 refund to all TurboTax Deluxe users.
When In Doubt, Consult a Professional
Even if you think you can save time and money self-preparing your tax returns using popular software or online tools, you may be missing out on ways to reduce your tax bill. Some of today’s most trusted tax software programs have been exposed as down-right misleading. At the end of the day, this costs users time and money.
Tax returns can be complicated, and you need a professional you can trust to give you the best advice and assistance this tax season. All Happy Tax customers work with a licensed Certified Public Accountant, not just a bookkeeper or unlicensed tax preparer. This is important because CPAs face extensive qualification, competency, and ethics standards for licensing. These licensing rules ensure that you have access to the quality of service you deserve and you aren’t prey to some of the frauds and schemes that impact American taxpayers every year.