KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - Jan 24, 2013) - H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) announced today it continues to support establishing uniform industry requirements despite a recent court ruling negating basic testing and competency requirements in the tax preparation industry.
"The court's ruling essentially eliminates key protections for millions of taxpayers," said Kathy Pickering, vice president of government affairs and executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. "H&R Block continues to believe the IRS standards and additional oversight strengthen the industry's credibility, reliability and integrity ultimately protecting U.S. taxpayers."
H&R Block operates one of the largest professional tax education programs in the nation, providing approximately 10 million total hours of tax education covering annual tax updates, industry regulations and more. In fact, the average H&R Block client is served by a tax professional with eight years of experience and 450 hours of tax education and training.
"The tax education H&R Block provides represents a significant time and financial investment for H&R Block," Pickering said. "But it's an investment we feel is the right thing to do for our industry but more importantly, for our clients."
Reducing errors, protecting refunds
One goal of the new IRS standards was to help reduce errors by increasing oversight and training of the tax preparer community. The regulations thus ensure taxpayers receive the maximum credits and deductions they're entitled to by law. In 2012, H&R Block helped clients claim more than $50 billion in tax refunds, credits and other government benefits.
Sixty percent of taxpayers seek assistance with filing a tax return annually. It's important to note that digital do-it-yourself (DIY) solution providers are not regulated by any taxing authority.
"It's easy for software providers like TurboTax to say they support these regulations when they, themselves, are not directly impacted," said Amy McAnarney, president of retail client services at H&R Block, which served more than 14.9 million U.S. clients last year in 11,000 retail locations and 7.4 million DIYers.
"While H&R Block does produce a DIY product, H&R Block At Home, it is backed by the same tax experts at The Tax Institute who stand behind all of H&R Block's 90,000 tax professionals, and therefore provides similar guarantees and assurances of quality," she said.
"Tax code complexity is not going away, which is why we've held H&R Block tax professionals to the highest hiring, continuing education, and performance standards in the industry for the last 57 years," McAnarney said. "And we call on all providers -- both assisted and DIY -- to do the same."
H&R Block tax professionals secure their electronic signature to every tax return they file and stand with their clients, providing individual, customized tax advice. In addition, unlike other online solutions, H&R Block's DIY clients have the option of either general tax advice or selecting to work directly with a tax professional, who will then finalize the return, ensure its accuracy, sign it, and e-file it on behalf of the client.
"It's the difference between general tax advice and personal tax preparation services," McAnarney said.
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world's largest tax services provider, having prepared more than 600 million tax returns worldwide since 1955. In fiscal 2012, H&R Block had revenues of $2.9 billion and prepared 25.6 million tax returns worldwide. Tax return preparation services are provided in company-owned and franchise retail tax offices by nearly 90,000 professional tax preparers, and through H&R Block At Home™ digital products. H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Online Press Center.