Tomorrow, January 11, 2007, is H&R Block’s National Tax Advice Day. This “holiday” occurs right before the IRS begins accepting completed tax forms, to build awareness of of H&R Block’s products and services. The company has established a website for taxpayers to access free tools and generalized advice.
There have been improvements since last year. Block is offering two new free products (web applications), OrganizIt and DeductionPro. OrganizIt is “designed to help taxpayers plan for a discussion with their tax professional or to prepare their own taxes,” and DeductionPro helps maximize itemized deductions.
The site also offers calculators, including a tax estimator, in which the only information they typical taxpayer needs is the last paystub of the year. This is the same type of calculation H&R Block and other tax companies use to offer tax refund loans. These are loans in which the amount of the predicted refund is offered right away, with interest, in anticipation of the payment from the IRS.
I wouldn’t recommend these products, especially for those all ready in debt. The best (mathematical) solution is to optimize your withholding so your refund or tax due is as small as possible. You’ll have the money to use or save throughout the year and there will be no option to receive a high-interest loan.
H&R Block is an advertiser on Consumerism Commentary, but the company does not control or influence editorial content.
Updated February 10, 2011 and originally published January 10, 2007. 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.