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H&R Block Test

 
 
mpally
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      11-12-2004, 07:36 AM
I signed up to take the H&R Block tax test on De. 4th. I am
wanting to prepare tax returns there part-time. I am
currently getting my master of science in taxation degree,
so I do not have time to take H&R Block's tax class. Has
anyone took this test? What should I expect? This semester
I am taking individual federal taxation. Will that be a
sufficient background to take the test?

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Paul A Thomas
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      11-13-2004, 03:06 AM
"mpally" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote

> I signed up to take the H&R Block tax test on De. 4th. I am
> wanting to prepare tax returns there part-time. I am
> currently getting my master of science in taxation degree,
> so I do not have time to take H&R Block's tax class. Has
> anyone took this test? What should I expect? This semester


Eons ago. And if my memory serves, it's open book.

> I am taking individual federal taxation. Will that be a
> sufficient background to take the test?


I would think so.

--
Paul A. Thomas, CPA
Athens, Georgia
taxman at negia.net

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CBotella
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      11-13-2004, 03:07 AM
> to take H&R Block's tax class. Has anyone took this test?

It was over 20 years ago that I took the test, but as I
recall, it is all about basic individual taxation. It is a
test on what has been taught in the basic tax class.

If you are already taking a masters in taxation course, you
should have no trouble passing this test.

And I think you only need about 80% correct to be eligible
to be hired.

Good luck!

Kate, EA in PA

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Arthur L. Rubin
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      11-13-2004, 03:26 AM
mpally wrote:

> I signed up to take the H&R Block tax test on De. 4th. I am
> wanting to prepare tax returns there part-time. I am
> currently getting my master of science in taxation degree,
> so I do not have time to take H&R Block's tax class. Has
> anyone took this test? What should I expect? This semester
> I am taking individual federal taxation. Will that be a
> sufficient background to take the test?


My recollection, from about 14 years ago, is that the course
and test covered individual Federal and State taxation. If
you are in a state without a state income tax, that's
probably OK.

With all the changes in tax laws this year, you might need
to get the course syllabus or course notes to determine
which set of laws would be tested. You might not actually
have to take the course to get the notes, but you might have
to pay the course registration fee.

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Sam
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      11-13-2004, 03:26 AM
> I signed up to take the H&R Block tax test on De. 4th. I am
> wanting to prepare tax returns there part-time. I am
> currently getting my master of science in taxation degree,
> so I do not have time to take H&R Block's tax class. Has
> anyone took this test? What should I expect? This semester
> I am taking individual federal taxation. Will that be a
> sufficient background to take the test?


I think you should be fine - I saw people passing the test
.... well, if you have some knowledge, no problem

Do you know how much H&R Block is paying? And is it paid by
hour or nr of tax returns?

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jbdrayton
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      11-13-2004, 03:45 AM
"mpally" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I signed up to take the H&R Block tax test on De. 4th. I am
> wanting to prepare tax returns there part-time. I am
> currently getting my master of science in taxation degree,
> so I do not have time to take H&R Block's tax class. Has
> anyone took this test? What should I expect? This semester
> I am taking individual federal taxation. Will that be a
> sufficient background to take the test?


The test is in three parts. The first part is closed book
and involves identifying the correct and best filing status;
the number of personal and dependent exemptions; and the
eligibility for EIC for a number of situations. The second
part and third parts are open book. The second part
involves prepartion of several worksheets and forms for a
couple of situations, and the third part is a comprehensive
return involving numerous types of income, adjustments,
deductions, taxes, and credits. The time allowed is three
hours.

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Rhickey
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      11-14-2004, 06:19 PM
"mpally" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I signed up to take the H&R Block tax test on De. 4th. I am
> wanting to prepare tax returns there part-time. I am
> currently getting my master of science in taxation degree,
> so I do not have time to take H&R Block's tax class. Has
> anyone took this test? What should I expect? This semester
> I am taking individual federal taxation. Will that be a
> sufficient background to take the test?


You should know the limits for EIC. This will be worth
several points. You will need familiarity with the various
tax forms. If your tax course had you prepare (by hand)
1040, A, C, D, E, SE, and EIC you should be ok. The grading
is usually pretty easy.

Block pays about a $5.00/hr (some locations pay more) draw
against the revenue you produce. The first year you will
receive at the end of the tax year about 20% of the revenue
(times .87 to .92) less $3000 plus some add-ons based on how
many "peace of minds" and IRA investments that you convince
customers to take.

Most Block clients return to the preparer who did the
previous year's return. This tends to limit clients
available to you. As a first year employee, you will get a
fair share of the walk-ins. If you work 40 hours/week
expect about 200 clients and you may earn $5000.

IMO this is a realistic expectation. Your experience may
differ (even substantially) depending on your work location,
personality, interaction with your peers, office leader,
local policy, etc.

In addition the the meager wages, you will learn a great
deal about preparing tax forms.

You will learn how to charge clients by the tax schedules
prepared, the weird W-2s, unusual situations (hostess from
Gentlemen's Club who has neither W-2 nor 1099 and lots of
very strange expenses), the green card customer whose SSN is
the one "all the illegals use" and other strange
happenstances.

Many of the older block preparers have an excellent
understanding tax issues and are very generous in helping
everyone in the office.

I think it's all wonderful.

Good luck.

Ron
EA, CPA, Block preparer.

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jake johnson
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      11-18-2004, 02:54 AM
"Rhickey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
[...snip...]

> Block pays about a $5.00/hr (some locations pay more) draw
> against the revenue you produce. The first year you will
> receive at the end of the tax year about 20% of the revenue
> (times .87 to .92) less $3000 plus some add-ons based on how
> many "peace of minds" and IRA investments that you convince
> customers to take.
>
> Most Block clients return to the preparer who did the
> previous year's return. This tends to limit clients
> available to you. As a first year employee, you will get a
> fair share of the walk-ins. If you work 40 hours/week
> expect about 200 clients and you may earn $5000.

[...snip...]

Out of curiosity, are you one of the CPA's that work with HR
Block year 'round? If you're seasonal, wouldn't a CPA find
it more lucrative to work with an accounting firm during tax
season? I'm just wondering how HR Block stacks up against
working for an accounting, particularly if you have a CPA.

- Mark

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Whit Matteson
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      11-18-2004, 02:54 AM
"Rhickey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> "mpally" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


>> I signed up to take the H&R Block tax test on De. 4th. I am
>> wanting to prepare tax returns there part-time. I am
>> currently getting my master of science in taxation degree,
>> so I do not have time to take H&R Block's tax class. Has
>> anyone took this test? What should I expect? This semester
>> I am taking individual federal taxation. Will that be a
>> sufficient background to take the test?


> You should know the limits for EIC. This will be worth
> several points. You will need familiarity with the various
> tax forms. If your tax course had you prepare (by hand)
> 1040, A, C, D, E, SE, and EIC you should be ok. The grading
> is usually pretty easy.
>
> Block pays about a $5.00/hr (some locations pay more) draw
> against the revenue you produce. The first year you will
> receive at the end of the tax year about 20% of the revenue
> (times .87 to .92) less $3000 plus some add-ons based on how
> many "peace of minds" and IRA investments that you convince
> customers to take.
>
> Most Block clients return to the preparer who did the
> previous year's return. This tends to limit clients
> available to you. As a first year employee, you will get a
> fair share of the walk-ins. If you work 40 hours/week
> expect about 200 clients and you may earn $5000.
>
> IMO this is a realistic expectation. Your experience may
> differ (even substantially) depending on your work location,
> personality, interaction with your peers, office leader,
> local policy, etc.
>
> In addition the the meager wages, you will learn a great
> deal about preparing tax forms.
>
> You will learn how to charge clients by the tax schedules
> prepared, the weird W-2s, unusual situations (hostess from
> Gentlemen's Club who has neither W-2 nor 1099 and lots of
> very strange expenses), the green card customer whose SSN is
> the one "all the illegals use" and other strange
> happenstances.
>
> Many of the older block preparers have an excellent
> understanding tax issues and are very generous in helping
> everyone in the office.
>
> I think it's all wonderful.


For the test, it's also helpful to be familiar with how to
compute several of the more common credits, and how to
handle IRA contributions and distributions. Be sure to take
a Pub 17 (at least) with you. The test covers the same
material as the class, which is based on the previous year's
laws and forms, so you'll be looking at forms, rules, pubs
for 2003. I think the 80% rule is somewhat flexible --
Block needs to hire a certain number of preparers; if there
aren't enough who scored over 80%, they might look kindly on
someone with a degree who did reasonably well on the test
without having taken the class. On the other hand, getting
80% is no guarantee of a job offer. The class does not
generally cover Block processes or software -- just the tax
stuff. There are some Block-specific worksheets that you
might be asked to complete. Many are similar to worksheets
in the IRS pubs, but a few are very customized and difficult
to navigate without a roadmap.

I would concur that the learning experience is probably
worth more than the income :-). It's possible to earn
$5000, but it can be difficult the first year: you are
pretty dependent on the volume of walk-in traffic and the
scheduling approach used by the office manager. Some office
managers will be reluctant to schedule first year preparers
during peak days because they aren't as efficient and they
take up a valuable desk space. It won't matter in the end
how many hours you worked, just how many returns you did
(which is certainly fair!). I grossed about $3000 my first
year - the office manager was very generous in her
scheduling, but my availability was limited to evenings.

The learning experience is great, though. In addition to
the situations Ron mentioned, you'll learn that a large
portion of the population doesn't have checking accounts,
and that there are a lot of single mothers out there raising
several kids on less than $20K per year. I was also taken
by the proportion of couples who came in where the husband
was absolutely clueless about essentially everything, and
the wife had every piece of financial information for the
whole year in her head. I would guess that 75% of the
married couples I saw fit this description. It made me
wonder how all these clever, intelligent women ended up
married to morons.

The bulk of the returns were uninteresting (W2s, mortgage
interest, ...), but the occasional interesting one (Schedule
D, limited charitable contributions, rental property, etc)
keeps it from being too repetitive. And figuring out how to
get the software to give you the answer you know is correct
-- that's fun too!

And indeed, the cameraderie in the office was outstanding.

Whit Matteson
EA, former Block preparer

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Rhickey
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      11-22-2004, 02:58 AM
"jake johnson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> "Rhickey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


> [...snip...]


>> Block pays about a $5.00/hr (some locations pay more) draw
>> against the revenue you produce. The first year you will
>> receive at the end of the tax year about 20% of the revenue
>> (times .87 to .92) less $3000 plus some add-ons based on how
>> many "peace of minds" and IRA investments that you convince
>> customers to take.
>>
>> Most Block clients return to the preparer who did the
>> previous year's return. This tends to limit clients
>> available to you. As a first year employee, you will get a
>> fair share of the walk-ins. If you work 40 hours/week
>> expect about 200 clients and you may earn $5000.

> [...snip...]
>
> Out of curiosity, are you one of the CPA's that work with HR
> Block year 'round? If you're seasonal, wouldn't a CPA find
> it more lucrative to work with an accounting firm during tax
> season? I'm just wondering how HR Block stacks up against
> working for an accounting, particularly if you have a CPA.


Gee, I don't know why I'm responing to Mark or Jake Johnson
and I don't know if any exception should be taken to your
question. However; you can check Virginia License 22896.
Lucra is no longer very interesting.

I work the season with Block. The people who come thru our
doors represent an fascinating segment of America. I really
like em. And, I have considered working with an accounting
firm. But for now, I prefer interacting with the Hoi Pol
Loi as opposed to the back room operations of the CPA firm.

By way of partial explantion, I grew up as a sofware
engineer. Became a CPA when I got older than dirt and
thought doing tax returns seemed interesting and allowed
keeping an old brain engaged. Became an EA because any
idiot can be one.

Sorry, no offense intended to all the EA professionals who
continue to learn and grow.

Ron

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