H&R Block Test

Discussion in 'Tax' started by mpally, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. mpally

    mpally Guest

    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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    mpally, Nov 12, 2004
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  2. "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


    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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    Paul A Thomas, Nov 13, 2004
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  3. mpally

    CBotella Guest

    > 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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    CBotella, Nov 13, 2004
    #3
  4. 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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    Arthur L. Rubin, Nov 13, 2004
    #4
  5. mpally

    Sam Guest

    > 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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    Sam, Nov 13, 2004
    #5
  6. mpally

    jbdrayton Guest

    "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?


    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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    jbdrayton, Nov 13, 2004
    #6
  7. mpally

    Rhickey Guest

    "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?


    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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    Rhickey, Nov 14, 2004
    #7
  8. mpally

    jake johnson Guest

    "Rhickey" <> 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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    jake johnson, Nov 18, 2004
    #8
  9. "Rhickey" <> wrote:
    > "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?


    > 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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    Whit Matteson, Nov 18, 2004
    #9
  10. mpally

    Rhickey Guest

    "jake johnson" <> wrote:
    > "Rhickey" <> 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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    Rhickey, Nov 22, 2004
    #10
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