SOURCE: H & R Block

H & R Block

February 13, 2012 09:00 ET

H&R Block Offers Free Second Look(SM) at Prior Year Tax Returns Through April

Taxpayers May Receive Additional Tax Refunds From Overlooked Tax Breaks

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - Feb 13, 2012) - Through April 30, participating H&R Block tax offices will offer taxpayers free Second Look(SM) reviews of their 2008 - 2010 income tax returns not prepared by H&R Block (NYSE: HRB). This review is designed to ensure taxpayers received the maximum refund possible and to help them recover any hard-earned money that might have been left on the table.

New this year, taxpayers can access the expertise of H&R Block for a free Second Look from the comfort of their own homes with Block Live. The video conferencing tool engages the taxpayer directly with a tax professional in a secure format, making it even easier to have H&R Block do a Second Look at prior year tax returns.

Unfortunately, not all tax returns are prepared accurately and some mistakes can lead to overpayment. H&R Block's Second Look provides a professional review of the original tax return and advice on what to do if variances are found.

"No matter the amount, people always like to have a little extra change in their pocket," said Phil Mazzini, retail tax president at H&R Block. "It's their money; we're just helping them get it back."

As part of a new advertising campaign, H&R Block offered all Detroit residents a free Second Look at their tax returns, and the company recovered more than $100,000 in overlooked credits and deductions. For example, after an H&R Block Second Look review, Detroiter Russell Gismonde, part-time student and restaurant manager, was able to receive an additional $1,135. Doing the tax return himself online, Gismonde claimed the Lifetime Learning Credit instead of the Hope Credit, which proved more advantageous.

"I've always done my own taxes. It's not too hard, so I thought," Gismonde said. "Every penny I can get would really help; The plan is to have my own business someday."

The Second Look review process in Detroit revealed many common tax mistakes, including:

  • Missed education credits: The American Opportunity Credit was extended through 2012, allowing taxpayers to claim $2,500 for the first four years of college education for each student. The Tuition and Fees Deduction provides a reduction in taxable income of up to $4,000, and the Lifetime Learning Credit is worth up to $2,000 per return for post-secondary degree programs. These education benefits cannot be combined (for the same student) so taxpayers should work with a tax professional to choose the one that is most beneficial.
  • Inaccurate filing status: It is very important to accurately assess your filing status as it impacts the value of some credits and deductions available. For example, a family in Detroit received an additional $5,498 from their Second Look review by changing their filing status to married filing jointly versus the often less beneficial married filing separate status).
  • Overlooked Earned Income Tax Credit: Eligible low-income earners did not claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is worth up to $5,751 for tax year 2011.

Taxpayers who want to take advantage of the free Second Look® offer can find a participating H&R Block office by visiting www.hrblock.com.

About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) has prepared more than 575 million tax returns worldwide since 1955, making it the country's largest tax services provider. In fiscal 2011, H&R Block had annual revenues of $3 billion and prepared more than 24.5 million tax returns worldwide, including Canada and Australia. Tax return preparation services are provided in company-owned and franchise retail tax offices by approximately 100,000 professional tax preparers, and through H&R Block At Home™ digital products. The H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Online Press Center.

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