This year, H&R Block has assembled an online community to promote its tax preparation products and services. The H&R Block Digits website is a forum where visitors can talk with each other about taxes as well as other random topics, like the one titled, “When You’re All Done Having the Babies.”
This new site is heavy with multimedia, mostly featuring the H&R Block Digits mascot, “Truman Greene.” His purpose is to entertain while praising H&R Block’s TaxCut Software, but he misses the mark just about as much as any corporation’s attempt to cater to younger generations. Corporate marketing tends to underestimate the intelligence of customers, and I fear that the Digits campaign is not an exception. Or maybe I’m just getting old.
I’m considering filing my taxes using H&R Block’s new Tango product, if not officially, at least to compare my results with what I’ve already calculated using TaxAct. I like the idea of having access to “real live tax professionals” any hour, any day, and this service may be worth a shot in a year in which I should have been working with a tax accountant in person.
When it comes down to the bottom line, a tax tool is only as useful as its ability to provide an accurate tax return. H&R Block’s new Digits website is flashy, and Tango appears to be, as well. The proof will be in the results.
By the way, H&R Block still offers refund anticipation loans, a pricey way to receive your refund, if any, early. These loans can be expensive when fees are viewed as an interest rate as most loan “fees” are, so avoid these if possible. The IRS is much quicker these days, especially if you opt for direct deposit, so the few weeks you may save are most likely not worth the fees. Even worse, H&R Block offers to lower your loan fee if you sign up for a prepaid credit card.
Have any thoughts about Digits? Let us know.
Updated August 9, 2011 and originally published March 6, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.