H&R Black or Jackson Hewitt Tax Classes
July 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm #172892
I want to start a side gig by doing taxes. Although I have passed the CPA I have no real practical experience doing taxes. Do you guys think taking the tax class from any of the two companies and doing taxes in the fall would help me in starting my own side business doing taxes or would I be better served getting a up to date Wiley Regulation book and some good tax software?July 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm #358604
i would go for the experience over the booksJuly 30, 2012 at 6:37 pm #358605
You might want to call around various local CPA firms and see if they need seasonal tax help. You will learn more at a CPA firm than at a Block or Hewitt. Typically first year preparers at Block get very simple returns. At a CPA firm, you will have more exposure to higher end and more complicated returns.July 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm #358606
I worked part-time at H&R Block in my junior and senior years of college. Here’s my $.02 on it. The experience was good and it helped set me apart when applying for my 1st public accounting job after I had worked in industry for 1 year prior to that. However, the returns were very simple and basic. Mostly a W-2, some bank interest, maybe some unreimbursed employee expenses like uniforms.
I took the Block tax prep class and found it very useful and would do it all over again. However, try for some accounting firm experience 1st. The returns you will prepare will be more complex than what you would likely see at Block or Jackson-Hewitt. If unable to obtain this experience, then I’d consider Block or JH.July 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm #358607
I would echo what kgirl has already said. I found the Block tax prep class to be useful. If you aren’t able to find an accounting firm that needs helps, I would recommend checking on any VITA programs in the area (I believe you may be able to search on the IRS website).
While the tax complexity of a “volunteer” return will most likely pale in comparison to a “real” tax return, there are still opportunities to gain valuable experience (actually explaining a particular tax situation to a client comes to mind). Plus, if you are like me, the heavy burden of your soul is at least lightened for a few months.
Good luck.July 31, 2012 at 12:38 am #358608
I took the H&R Block class and worked one season for them about 10 years ago. The tax class was actually pretty decent, covered a lot of the individual stuff that sometimes doesn’t get taught in favor of corporate tax. The work experience was pretty good too. But I don’t know if I’d take the class in lieu of one at a real school. You don’t get any credits or CPE for it.July 31, 2012 at 2:32 am #358609
Definitely look into VITA. You can qualify as an advanced volunteer and get returns with rental props, schedule C, multiple years, etc. They’ll give you the harder ones and leave the simple ones up to the beginners. It helps if you live in a huge city so the sites will always stay busy.August 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm #358610
Hey there. Quite honestly the HR Block tax class is not bad at all. I actually fell into tax before I fell into the CPA , and from first hand experiene I want to lay out the difference between working at a CPA firm and working at block.
At Block you go through the class, which you have to pass at the end (my class had two out of 12 pass..I was one of the two ;. Not sure if this rate is standard, or if there are just a bunch of idiots in my area). You then pick a location and get to work. Your first year they will hold you back unless you are clearly able to excel (they tried to put me into management my first and only year) , but honestly most block returns are easy anyway, the tough stuff goes to the higher up offices. The most valuable experience I took from Block was interviewing skill. Because of their business style you basically have client after client after client, and interviewing becomes second nature. You dont get paid squat. And from my experience you end up in an atmosphere of older ladies who took the test ten years ago, and really havent updated their knowledge base since. (On a side note, and one that makes me smile…Blocks business is about to be entirely altered by the RTRP test which becomes a requirement here at the end of 2013. You cannot pay people 9-10$ an hour and expect them to pass that test. They will either change business strategies and consolodate, or become much less competitive on a price level).
At a CPA firm you may be fakeing your experience for a while. I had a coworker or two who were excellent accountants, but didnt know squat about taxes, but felt the need to “pretend” their supperiority (probably because of the general level of expected excellence from a CPAs clientelle). At most CPA firms, you never see the client. You are given a stack of returns to complete, many of which will require contact with the clients, but just for pieces of necessary info. You will get paid more, and handle much more complicated returns, but you may end up understanding less in the end. Proseries is an awesome piece of software, and even a dummy who has no understanding of what they are inputing can become very good at simple input.
A happy medium may be to take the Block class, and then find a CPA firm that will take you. Id start trolling Craigslist and state CPA website for tax jobs around late October. Also, Block waives a non-compete in your face after the class, but from my understanding none of the info they give out is proprietory, and to this day there have only been cases thrown out in relation. And they probably wouldnt go after you unless you set up your own shop the next year. Last thing, and you are probably aware. Both Block and the CPA firm will probably only be hiring for the season.
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