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H&R Block Catering to Younger Taxpayers

This article was written by in Taxes. 5 comments.

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.

Digits also offers podcasts and links to some useful tax calculators (like the tax estimator and a deduction finder).

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 June 20, 2014 and originally published March 6, 2008.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

you inspired me to check out the site. In their effort to be cute, they’re factually in accurate in the first video I watched: if you’re filing a 1040EZ, you don’t need any receipts as they suggest. Truthfully, you don’t need them or a tax preparer if you filing an EZ. I turned down a client like that yesterday – no one can make it worth it to do your EZ. Double-check your SSN and your math (if doing it by hand) and you’re eliminated the most common mistakes. Don’t be intimidated.

Sure, H&R is going after young people (as well as anyone else who can use a computer.) But if you can use a computer and want to do it yourself, you can do it for a lot less than $80 (like free.)

To me, their Tango product falls in the middle: much too expensive considering you do all the work and it’s not reviewed by a professional. Keep in mind, they’re not going to find the mistakes you might make or the deductions you might miss. Rather, they’re only going to answer the questions you ask. If you put garbage in, you’ll get garbage out.

Either do it yourself and save the money (if your return is simple), or save the temptation to believe you’re getting something you’re not and higher an affordable CPA. They’re out there – especially if you find one who is targeting young people.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

Do not just walk into an H & R block. They charge you way more than you might think. VA + DC Tax Returns + a form to deduct student interested ended up being $230. Never again.

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avatar 3 Anonymous

Why is it that HR block has law suite’ in 50 state from Attorney generals? Perhaps because they are ripping people off? oh yeah and what about their mortgage company that went belly up? C’mon. I really dont blame them like i do the people that walk in there. Some of them know better.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

Hi there. I wrote the post about being done having all the babies, and I’m the editor for Tango. I’m glad you’re going to give it a shot. While younger is of course good, we’re really looking for people who want a more entertaining tax preparation experience. Taxes – usually not so entertaining.

Let us know what you think!

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avatar 5 Anonymous

I dont know about anyone else but I have used HR Block for 6 years and never had a problem until I used Tango. What a joke. You guys should put this through more UI Testing and usability before you make this available. The interface was confusing, the live chat slow, and very buggy. I will never use Tango again and think I might even move away from HRBlock now after I was charged $70 for the bad experience.

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