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Anybody ever do a seasonal H&R Block (or similar) gig?


BrianT

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My wife and I are scheduled to do the Amazon thing again this year, starting in October and working until about mid January, at least that's the plan.

 

I had wondered whether it might be possible to slip into another gig doing taxes shortly thereafter. My wife already holds a BS in accounting and I am typically the one who does our taxes year after year. No doubt we'd both need some training but it's not a completely foreign field to either of us.

 

I don't know if any of the tax preparation services are targeting workampers as such but I did wonder whether workampers might be a good fit for such a position.

 

Whatcha think? Worth exploring? Not a bad gig? An experience you still have nightmares about? Worth it / not worth it ($$)?

 

It's just a topic that's been tossed about here and I don't know anyone who's done it. With the prevalence of TurboTax and numerous others, I also wonder if the numbers of people who would use such a service is declining.

 

Any thoughts, I'm happy to hear them.

 

Thanks!

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I didn't figure taxes would come into their busy season until about February since that's when a lot of people get their W2s and 1099s. That's why I wondered if it may be a good fit.

 

No, don't want to sell Christmas trees. I'll stick with Amazon.

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We did take a serious look at this possibility since Pam was a "full-charge bookkeeper" for years and held more than one job where she did taxes. I have about 80% of the course work for an accounting degree and have long kept books for us and at times as part of my work. We visited with a friend who is one of those franchised H&R Block agents that work seasonally. They were interested in our ideas but they charge for the training and so the interest is somewhat self serving.

 

We have known one couple who did do this successfully on the road as well as the one who works for Block and only travels the remainder of the year. It visiting with them it seems that to do this successfully you probably need to sit in one location for the tax season and then do some local advertising. If you do not return to the same area each season you will also need to take a course in the laws of the state where you plan to work. Of course you could simplify things greatly by always going to a state with no state income taxes to work for the season. In addition there are local laws and licensing that are required so you would need to check those out as well.

 

We took this far enough that there is no doubt in my mind that it is possible but it isn't simple and would restrict travel if it is to be a complete success. Because of what was involved we chose to wait a year or two and see if we actually needed to do this and since we managed without the income by becoming RV volunteers and loved that lifestyle, we never did pursue it to the point of actually doing any taxes on the road. We have helped a number of other people to do their own taxes and even once held a workshop on doing so in an RV park where we were. Today we simply offer advice when requested and do our own.

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Thanks, Kirk! I appreciate the perspective.

 

We don't tend to travel nearly as much as some people so sitting still for a tax season isn't really a big deal for us.

 

It sounds as though a person needs to bring their own customers, though, and that could be difficult if we're in an area where we don't know a lot of people. I hadn't considered that.

 

The period of time around tax season has typically been a time when we tend to do more of our traveling and spend more of our savings. :( So sitting still for a tax season and actually working might offer a dual benefit, both saving and earning. The required classes might be difficult if they happen during Amazon's peak season, though. Not a lot of free time then.

 

Again, thanks for the perspective!

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The required classes might be difficult if they happen during Amazon's peak season, though. Not a lot of free time then.

I asked Pam and she believes that the friends attended classes in the Nov./Dec. time frame, but neither of us remember exactly when that was and we have lost contact with the RV folks. We will probably see the ones not traveling but not until fall when we start back south. If you are serious I suggest that you contact H&R Block via their website and inquire. I suspect that there may be other companies that offer that same service & training. If memory serves (which is shaky), the first course two or three months and then there was a two week or so update each year after that.

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  • 5 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I asked Pam and she believes that the friends attended classes in the Nov./Dec. time frame, but neither of us remember exactly when that was and we have lost contact with the RV folks. We will probably see the ones not traveling but not until fall when we start back south. If you are serious I suggest that you contact H&R Block via their website and inquire. I suspect that there may be other companies that offer that same service & training. If memory serves (which is shaky), the first course two or three months and then there was a two week or so update each year after that.

 

In our local area, H&R Block started their course in October and the course runs through November/December.

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We did take a serious look at this possibility since Pam was a "full-charge bookkeeper" for years and held more than one job where she did taxes. I have about 80% of the course work for an accounting degree and have long kept books for us and at times as part of my work. We visited with a friend who is one of those franchised H&R Block agents that work seasonally. They were interested in our ideas but they charge for the training and so the interest is somewhat self serving.

Many years ago when I worked in public accounting I looked into the H&R Block thing more out of curiosity than anything else. Even though I was a CPA they wanted me to take their basic tax course and of course pay for it before I would be considered eligible to do tax returns for them. I passed on that idea.

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AARP has a tax volunteer program that prepares relatively simple returns for low income taxpayers in a lot of cities. They provide the classes and equipment for no cost but the only pay is reimbursement of your travel expenses to do it. Here at home it only took one day a week of my time, small town, didn't increase my bank balance but hopefully it helped some folks get refunds that otherwise would not have.

It was a great experience & I'm signed up again this year.

Mike

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to show how wrong I can be, I would have thought that Turbo Tax or one of the other income tax programs would have

hurt the H & R Blocks badly.

While it has probably not hurt the business, I have little doubt that it has had some impact but most of the tax software users that I know are people who did their own taxes before that existed. I am often amazed by some people who pay to have taxes done even with pretty simple tax situations. I know more than one retired person who has few complications but because they have always gone to someone to get the taxes done, they continue to do so. Those tax offices use software also and it isn't that different from what anyone can buy.

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  • 2 months later...

I also thought this would be a great idea. I took a course with one of the big 3 national chains. The course was advertised as free but the books cost $150. They had several course start dates from Aug to Oct. After completing the course, there were several mandatory, unpaid meetings for prospective employees. We were also strongly encouraged to show up in the office, in business attire, to practice on the computers (which we never touched during training). The hourly pay was above minimum wage but the number of hours worked per week was minimal ( 3 hrs first week, 6 hrs second week). Maybe that would've picked up as the season progressed but I certainly got the impression that the franchise owner was trying everything he could to minimize expenses. I actually quit after the 3rd week due to ethical concerns.

 

Most of the returns I saw could've been done by the taxpayer with minimal effort but the tax place offered some incentive like instant cash back or refund loans. Many folks came in strictly because of that - they needed instant cash to put gas in the tank or buy a b'day present for a kid.

 

I don't believe the course is required every year although you may need to catch up on annual changes in the code, this year ACA was big. I've already put feelers out to smaller tax operations which might have a little more integrity. Good for this year, just not as portable for future years.

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