Discussion:Liberty Tax Clowns (now a political discussion)

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Discussion Forum Index --> General Chat --> Liberty Tax Clowns (now a political discussion)


Ztom (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
Driving dowon the street yesterday I see a clown in a statue of liberty outfit waving a sign on refunds. These guys to me are a joke(not funny one) Their crap in my opinion lowers the professional tax preparer. I have a client who said she was asked if she wanted to buy the tax service in our town. She went to class last year and did a few taxes. She had me do hers and asked simple questions I could not believe. What kind of outfit are they anyway?

Ztom (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
I meant down

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
My music store client is across the street from a franchise in Glenside PA. Last year one young woman in the suit was hit by a car while doing her thing; nothing serious but I wondered if she was on the books or 'sub tabla' since I heard rumors that Ms. Liberty is paid that way by some.

If you search, I believe you might find someone last year or the year before said they were a slight cut above HRB and JH.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
Liberty was started by John Hewitt, who had also founded Jackson-Hewitt, and was a former District Manager of H&R Block.

The 'waivers' catch people's attention, which is what they were intended to do. Maybe make people smile.

Remember, JH and Liberty and H&R Block do millions upon millions of returns (more than any CPA firm, as one HRB commercial a few years ago stated). They cater to the masses, not the classes. There is a lot of money to be made in providing an expensive service to millions while paying only for seasonal help.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
Also, many of the masses are intimidated by those of us with professional designations and generally anyone wearing a tie who works in a nice office.

The Liberty statues are designed to break down the intimidation factor. And the interior is set up to be low-cost, non-intimidating.

Surprisingly, as I go around the US teaching tax update classes, I find so many professional tax preparers who actually charge LESS than the chains, and provide year-round personal service too. The masses are so easily misled by the TV ads.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
A symptom of the continued dumbing down of America as she races headlong to the bottom. A concrete expression of this can be found in such clowns as Sarah Palin.

Southparkcpa (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
Kevin is 100 percent correct. Not to mention the thousands of preparers with NO credentials, working from their bedrooms basically, with NO continuing training etc... some of them are CPA's. yes if you ask them... they are qualified.

I was "put in my place" many years ago by a mentor who said to me.... "If you are concerned about HR Block as competition" your mind is filed with things that will impede your success.

Not saying he is right BUT in mycase ... he was.

Ksnoopytax (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
The AICPA has some targeted marketing that focuses on higher end taxpayers that are using a cheaper tax service such as H & R block and really should be using a CPA. Besides that, your mentor was wise. If you spend your time and effort going solely after H & R Block clients, you are limiting the money you could possibly make on higher end clients and wasting your designation as a CPA or EA.

Belle (talk|edits) said:

January 13, 2009
So what does everyone think of the Magic Johnson commercial promoting Jackson Hewitt (I think that's the one). Can't believe that's who really does his taxes....but then Palin used HRB.

I've been told twice this year by clients that they are 'afraid' of me. And I don't wear a suit/tie/dress (very often). Usually in jeans or cords; often have the dog here in the office with me - not very scary in MY mind.

Laticiaw (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
CrowJD -- you are a great guy when it comes to taxes, but do you think that you could leave your politics out of it? Sorry, but I happen to think that Sarah Palin was a great choice as a candidate and I can't help it if the same masses that go to H&R Block, Liberty, etc...are unable to tell her apart from Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live. If you really looked at what she has done you would see someone who made it a lot more legitimatly that the clown that has been elected to run this country (by the same masses that go to H&R Block, etc. to get their taxes done)...there now that I have offended your political beliefs could you PLEASE let it rest...if you want to bash the low level firms go ahead, but leave politics out of it..

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
actually, bashing the 'low level' firms would be bashing ourselves, since we don't do 1% of the volume of any of the big guys. The majority of pros on this site don't do any more complex returns than HRB does. 1040, Sch A, Sch B, Sch C, SE, Sch D, Sch E, 2441, 2106 and EIC.

Laticiaw (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
I know...I guess I was just trying to make a point quickly I try not to bring my politics onto this sight so I get frustrated with people who won't let it go...his guy won mine lost...the guy I don't like is now my president whether I like it or not...I'll get on with my life. Sorry I came off so abrasive...I guess my new years resolution didn't last that long.

Wkstaxprep (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
wow, this is getting heated. may need to create a new discussion forum called "venting"

In my humble opinion, the only point I would like to make regarding the above is even though Liberty, etc. may not provide such great service on mnay occassions, me personally, i can't knock someone trying to use a creative way of advertising. If it works for them then that's great.

If wearing a statue of liberty suit got me a lot of publicity, and i thought it would increase my practice, I may give it a shot.

also, even though Liberty, H&R etc do many returns that are not well done, I have also seen a number of their returns that were complex that I was surprised by the competency of the preparation.

i guess my point is that i appreciate creative marketing and advertising.

after all, i have a feeling that the majority of people thought that a gecco was a bit silly for a car insurance company but doesn't look so bad these days :)

Iaklein (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
With H & R you see them invest massive money in advertising. I wouldn't be shocked if 10% of the price of a return is attributable to marketing. Then they also rent an office for the whole year even though generally they are using it for a small fraction of the year.

This all causes H & R's price to go way up. Which is great for us ...b/c I think

H & R should set the floor for what we charge.

I was just chatting with a prospective client today and I quoted him $400 for his return and I told him that's probably what H & R Block would charge him....and the client soon thereafter signed on.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2009
I stand by the statement that Sarah Palin is a clown, and from the raw material she is starting with, I have my doubts whether it can ever be remedied. Is that politics?

I do apologize for being off topic though. It came out during the campaign that she had her taxes done by Block, not Liberty. You know Sarah, she's just regular people.

Southparkcpa (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
I would agree, politics can be and usually divisive and we no so little about each other. I would vote for NO politics at all. This is not the right forum and no good can come from it other than hurting someone we don't even know.

Yt1300inHtown (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
CrowJD (talk-edits) said: I stand by the statement that Sarah Palin is a clown

I wonder if you could elaborate on it?

Yt1300inHtown (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
I wonder if Crow could elaborate?

Kirthe (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
Laticiaw asks to keep politics out of this and then proceeds to do exactly the same ("the same masses...") What, everyone who goes to HRB/Liberty voted for Obama?

Also, I find a frequent arrogance that appears on this board is by those who think they are automatically superior to anyone who works for these companies. Not a single tax return is 'prepared by the company'....it's prepared by a tax preparer who works for the company, having access to the same resources as others may have. And there are incompetent and competent tax preparers, regardless of whether they work for HRB or hang out their own shingle.

Laticiaw (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
I also apologized for saying what I said. Sorry if I offended anyone, I just wanted to make the point that noone likes to have "their guy" bashed the way that he did. He pretty much calls me an idiot to...so I returned the favor (I shouldn't have and I am sorry that I did that). Crow just does this on every chance that he can get and I'm getting tired of it. His guy won for crying out loud. (or that is my assumption). I don't continue bashing his guy unless I am making a point. This is not the only discussion he has done this on. I'm not making a point anymore...I wish Obama well and he's my president as of the 20th of the month so that's that.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
yes, but some of the ones working at Jackson Hewitt were caught for fraud.

Belle (talk|edits) said:

January 14, 2009
Or have initials after their name?

I agree with keeping politics off this forum; or at least restrict it to the chat room.

I don't like to discuss politics with folks that I know well (friends or clients), and as someone posted, we on this board don't really know each other anyway.

My post above about Magic Johnson was intended more as a jab at truth in advertising. I find it difficult to believe he wouldn't have a stable of professionals with fancy credentials handling his financial affairs. It is quite believable to me that Sarah Palin would have used HRB. Up until her nomination, she wasn't under any real spotlights. And if I remember looking at her return when it was released, it was not overly complicated.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
It seems strange that "talking politics" around here is defined as making negative comments about Republicans, and postive comments about Democrats. If you do either, you are "talking politics."

Look,it's not Palin that's the clown. She is just mirroring the faces of her admirers. Even the "Huck" acknowledges her mental limitations. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/01/13/huckabee-pans-palins-interview-with-couric/ But hey, if Palin is who the Republicans want to run with in the next election, go for it.

But, you don't choose a president based upon the fact you want to moose hunt with her, or take her to a NASCAR event and swill beer all day with her in the infield.

I think that if the last 8 years have proven anything, it's that you can't sit an idiot behind the desk in the highest office of the land. At least not in the 21st century. The stakes are too high.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
stupid is as stupid does, CrowJD

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
"overly complicated" depends on what might have been omitted. Like our nominee for Treasury Secretary, Ms. Palin's return might reflect the tip of the iceberg.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2008/10/tax-profs-agree.html

Please note: I tried to make this non-denominational. For every Charley Rangel, there must be a Duke Cunningham.

Laticiaw (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
In other words your posting says that it depends on the political alliance of who was auditing the return that determines whether she participated in tax evasion...that's what I got out of reading the tax analysis anyway...they couldn't come up with a straight yes or no...

Laticiaw (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
Oh and if there are serious problems with her tax return then by ALL means it should be corrected...however in her case I would recommend that she use someone other than H&R Block to do the amended return and to never darken their doors again. As for CrowJD's comment -- I am not sensitive to Repoublican Democrat things...I just don't think that they serve a purpose here on this site. May I recommend Huffington Post or moveon.org for your political leanings...or if you are really interested in finding out what the right really thinks about our leaders ---try townhall.com. Those places are the ideal places for you to vent your frustrations with the political parties involved instead of bringing it up here with people that are looking for a place to vent their tax frustrations at. Believe me there are plenty of things that Bush has done that I totally disagree with, but please refrain from making personal comments about the man since I can almost guarentee that you do not have any personal relationship to him. Since he not only got into ivy league schools but had higher GPA's than both of his previous opponents then I really don't think that the intelligence issue should even be mentioned.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

14 January 2009
I didn't see that Messrs. Bogdanski or Camp were on anyone's team, and from reading Mr. Camp, he accepts some and rejects other positionss, or calls for more information. And from his points, Block would be exonerated because the W-2 revealed none of this, and apparently no one mentioned it. That in itself is as lame an excuse as Mr. Geithner's.

Beangrinder (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
So, if I follow the post, we should wear clown suits when we prepare tax returns?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
only if you value your liberty

Joanmcq (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
Its easy to get into an Ivy League School if you are a Legacy and a prominent Legacy at that.

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
Liberty Tax manger in North Palm Beach, Florida placed an ad in Craigslist seeking a CPA or EA to prepare Forms 1120. 1120S, 1065, 1041, 706, 709 (complex returns) but stipulated that he demanded "drive in service" - Yes he demanded the prospective CPA/EA meet, greet and hand the "finished return" signed by the CPA/EA (as the Paid Preparer) as the client leaves the office.

I pointed out the new regs on section 6694(b) liability - and he scoffed "not my problem".

If you want the job and live in the Palm Beach area its available, but you paid on a percentage of fees collected.

The upshot, the Clowns do attract complex returns, and if they can get a "clown CPA/EA" in there to do "clown tax work" they are delighted.

BTW - in my humble opinion CrowJD is right-on with his "clown" assessment of Sara Palin - she is an absolute dunce.

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
But, in all due respect to all Palin lovers on this board - Obama's appointment of Tim Geitner for Secretary of the Treasury - the chief Tax Enforcement Officer in the Nation - should he have been better vetted and simply asked, " do you have any tax ghosts in your closet" before we make this vital nomination?

Very dumb mistake for a very smart "Harvard Law Grad".

Oh my oh my.

Snowbird (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
I am always amused when I read discussion such as this one! It was not some poor sap from Alaska that lost 50,000 lives in Vietnam, it was the “Best and Brightest.” It was not some poor sap from HRB or Clown from Liberty that screwed up the economy for a generation or more, it was the “best and brightest from Harvard and other schools with JD’s, Esquires and CPA behind their names. Who is the biggest fool or maybe the most corrupt, the MBA from Harvard that leveraged 30 to 1 and the CPA that attested it is a variable business or the Blockie that screws up the dependency on a return? If you want to paint someone by association, the CPA’s and lawyers have screwed up more than all the Blockies and Clowns put together. Not all lawyers and CPA’s are corrupt nor all Blockies and Clowns incompetent.

Southparkcpa (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
Snowbird

WELL DONE!

MWPXYZ (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
Snowbird

AMEN

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
What's this, a greek chorus singing the praises of mediocrity?

Isnt' that what you really mean when you praise stupidity?

The mistakes of Vietnam justify more mistakes of a similar nature?

It was the Southern Democrats that really made Vietnam possible. Military bases and installations are all over the South, even today. It's about money. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, these democrats began drifting to the Republican Party, a process that is pretty much complete today.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
I do agree with one part of Snowbird's criticism, however. McNamara and Rumsfield both ingnored the advice of battle tested, competent generals, and they thought they could take a "numbers" "desktop" approach to war fighting. If their Harvard or Princeton degrees led to that kind of arrogance, then that is a valid criticism. Does that mean we go to the other extreme, and put a mental midgit like Palin in the Oval office?

But, that's just a part of the issue. The big issue is why we got ourselves into both conflicts to begin with. This has to do with big money interests. Eisenhower was right, the biggest enemy of the American people has turned out to be it's military industrial complex, which constantly needs feeding: with tax dollars, and young lives.

Snowbird (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
Crowjd,

If you have not read the "Best and Brightest" by Halberstam, it is worth a read! It is not about how some good old Southern boys and the Industrial Military Complex got us into a war, but how some smart wiz-kids thought with management science, etc ... they could manage anything ... lots of smarts but no practical experience. There is a quote in the book, I believe it is from Sam Rayburn to Johnson ... Johnson tells Rayburn how bright the guys were ... Sam said something to the affect that he wished they would have run for at least a county sheriff's office (don't have the exact quote since I am 1400 miles and about 60 degrees of temperature away from the book). Sounds familiar ... lots of smart but no experience ... but we can solve anything with change.

Why do you think Palin is a "mental midgit", because she does not have the smooth repertoire of a Harvard educated? Well, you would not have liked Linclon either. Mediocrity and excellence like heroism and cowardice can usually be distinguished unfortunately only after the fact … it often comes from the most unusual sources. I was about to write more especially about Republicans being racists ... but I remember an old country saying ... maybe by Lincoln ... that is "if you wrestle with a pig in the mud, after awhile you realize the pig enjoys it” … and I am enjoying this way too much! Well, I need to go off and be a mediocre tax preparer since I only a moose hunter at heart and a graduate of a state school ... need to figure how I cleanup a depreciation mess by another tax preparer with a lot of initials behind his name (not EA or CPA) ... maybe with a 3115.

Snowbird (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
Crowjd,

Duplicate deleted by Snowbird

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
Pent-up makes a very good point; it is not the quality of the people at the big chains, but the pressures put on them by their employer that eventually drives them out. Seems to me Tin Cook, who used to post here, knew more about taxes than most of us, and was a Block man. We have had others here and several alumni. So I suppose we can say that 'some of our best friends are Blockies.'

Southparkcpa (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
That was Snowbirds point. We can't all be painted with the wide brush.

Wkstaxprep (talk|edits) said:

15 January 2009
Beangrinder,

Only wear the clown suit before and after business hours to get attention and draw publicity to your firm.

Then when they walk in your door and they say "I got this advertisement and I need a tax pro" You can reply while wearing your professional suit "Oh, that silly clown that works for me must have handed it to you"

This approach is the way to go, you don't wear the clown suit while actually doing the returns.

Beangrinder (talk|edits) said:

16 January 2009
Wkstaxprep proposes the Batman approach, whereas outside of normal business hours we wear the clown suit, but become Mr. Wayne during the business hours. Yes, this has much more class. I enjoyed the thought of wearing a red clown nose, big polka dot suits, long shoes, face paint. If you're having a bad day, just paint the smile upside down. I also like the thought of people wearing ridiculous suits doing difficult mental work at a desk with some serious reprecussions if done in a ho-ho way.

As to politics - I venture whatever issue is needing to be solved, we will totally solve it here, in this form, with people coming away with concrete decisions and people switching sides of the fences... thus, the clown suit.

IDrinkYourMilkshake (talk|edits) said:

16 January 2009
As far as H&R is concerned, I actually saw an 1120S they did in 2007 from a new client last week. They didn't ask the client for financials, bank balances.... pretty much anything! End result, $100K profit, no officer salaries, and no distributions. Balance sheet showed $200K+ in cash when in reality it closer to $89K.

Another new client, went to Jackson-Hewitt for 2007 1040. Client was going through foreclose, but foreclosure did not happen until 2008. You guessed it, this was reflected on the 2007 return, using what to figure out the COD amount, I do not know.

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