H&R Block Identity Theft Victim Gets Victimized Again in IRS Audit


Tim Geithner is probably laughing somewhere going "well shit, shoulda used TurboTax!" and frankly, JDA is kind of giggling herself.

First the guy gets ripped off by an unscrupulous H&R Block employee and then gets audited by the IRS. It's a hard knock life, eh?

The Post Tribune live from East Chicago:
A victim of an alleged identity theft scam by a tax preparer still is waiting for his refund check.

Byron "Duke" Florence was counting on a few thousand dollars from the IRS this January when he went to file his 2009 tax return at an H&R Block at 3932 Main St. in his Indiana Harbor neighborhood, the same place he'd filed the previous three years.

Staff at the branch told him he'd apparently already filed his 2009 form, and the IRS told him his check had been sent-- and deposited. Florence went to police, where he found three other H&R Block clients waiting in line to report similar stories.

Last Thursday, tax preparer Francesca Foster was arrested and charged with identity theft for allegedly using H&R Block tax records to file fraudulent claims-- totaling nearly $300,000-- for at least 60 customers.

Shortly after he made his report, Florence said he filled out a second tax return with the help of IRS agents assigned to his case. Last week, he received a letter from the IRS with the heading "We're Auditing Your Tax Return And Delaying Your Refund."

"I thought, 'Damn. I went through all this, got robbed, and now I'm getting an IRS audit?' " Florence said Thursday. "I didn't do anything wrong but trust people to look after my business."

Alright, let's break this down issue by issue.

First and foremost, WTF was Florence doing at H&R Block in the first place? It's the McDonald's of tax preparation and I'm sorry but if you go in there expecting filet mignon, don't go whining that you ended up with a Filet O Fish. The kids at the Block make just about as much as the kids at McDonald's so if you want to put your Schedule C in those hands, by all means. Just don't bitch when it gets screwed up.

Secondly, what happened to doing your own taxes? Seriously. I'm asking. And I expect an answer. My grandpa taught me how to do it in high school, it's really not that fucking difficult. Grab a calculator and stop being lazy.

Thirdly, if you're not of the set that can pull together a W-2 and a few 1099s, find a CPA, cheap ass.

And finally... well... there is no finally. I've said enough.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


First off Im not a giant fan of H&R block but how is it there fault... they didn't do anything wrong.. they had a misguided preparer who decided that they were going to steal peoples identities... If he had gone there for the past 3 years and never had an issue why would this year be any different? the problem is that an employee decided to do a bad thing and now your disparaging the companies name, to be very honest with you your the idiot. If your so great at taxes why don't you volunteer to help people prepare for free... ohhh wait i forgot your to high and mighty for that or is it that your to busy making 123 bullet points, mabey its that your just good enough to verbally abuse them... the second part of the article is also a little misleading... he's not being audited by the IRS there simply holding his return to verify info due to recent fraud. while it is frustrating its standard procedure for them... Jr. Deputy Accountant try Jr Deputy idiot....

Ohhh Robert and Maria, where do I start?

I'm not a tax preparer, I prepare my own, that was the point. The other point that I believe you failed to grasp was that H&R Block is franchise, cookie cutter tax prep - if you can only afford a McChicken, don't complain when it arrives and it isn't a T-bone steak.

Also, since I'm the idiot, how do you explain your atrocious use of "your" in place of "you're"? I won't do your taxes but I would love to offer a free lesson in 1st grade grammar and English. Would that redeem me in your eyes? Actually I think I'm too busy, but my 1st grader is available and he'll even teach you some Spanish words while he's at it. We're a helpful bunch.

Jr Deputy Idiot

p.s. how do you manage a word like "disparaging" and can't seem to get a grip on simple English? Let me guess, you work for H&R Block?

Oh and now that that's out of the way, here's where my bone to pick with HRB lies... why do they need to spend so much lobbying against regulation that would require their tax preparers to be certified?

That's all I want to know.

"I didn't do anything wrong but trust people to look after my business."

That's the crux of the issue right there. Don't trust anyone to look after your business. Contract with a professional to help, but the only one really looking out for #1, is #1.

Having been both a preparer at Block and now a CPA, I can say that for the less complicated stuff, Block does a fine job. Really though, most anyone could do that by themselves and be fine. They just wouldn't get the instant refund check. For the more complicated stuff, a CPA will do a better job and usually charge less than Block in the end.


Exactly. It's kind of like what's happened to the community banker of yore. Apparently long before either of us were on this planet, the business owner/banker relationship was one of trust. The business owner could go to his banker to ask advice and receive guidance. What happened to that relationship?

Same with taxes. People go to H&R Block because they can't afford the pre-packaged services of large CPA firms, who of course cater to massive businesses. Where does that leave everyone else?

I think it's great that the VITA kids help out with taxes every year and see nothing wrong with accounting students earning spare cash filing easy returns for the Block before they run off to an exiting life of public accounting but I find it difficult to have much sympathy for a business owner who puts his faith in a company that operates only part of the year in abandoned CRE spots.

Then again, I'm a bit biased when it comes to CPAs and what they can do for businesses. As I'm sure you are too :)

Anonymous said...

Love the McDonald's analogy and subsequent banter. Funniest post I've read in a long time.

Anonymous said...

I will have you know I am an Employee of H&R Block and they are NOT McDonalds. Not all Offices are Franchise. You need to get your facts straight before you mouth off! They have the Best Tax Schools and Certify their Tax Preparers. There are always bad employees in every single company!
Furthermore I'll have you know Block has plenty of Tax Preparers that can do complicated Returns. I myself have "fixed/Amended" a few returns from CPA's too.:)