March 20, 2013
WHAT WOULD a tax season be without confusion and last-minute changes? First up, a lot of H&R Block customers are irate about a snafu that will delay their federal tax refunds by weeks. For days, customers complained on Facebook that they weren't getting a clear explanation as to why their refunds were being delayed. As it turns out, there was a problem with returns that included Form 8863, which is used to claim two higher-education credits - the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
March 15, 2013
In the Region Green discharge costs Teva $2.25M Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. , of North Wales, agreed to pay a $2.25 million penalty for violations that included a fluorescent green discharge into a river at its plant in northeast Missouri. Details of the settlement were announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. Teva makes antibiotics at a plant outside of Mexico, Mo. Koster said the green discharge flowed into the Salt River from a wastewater treatment plant in 2008.
May 19, 2010 |
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - H&R Block Inc. said Wednesday it will trim 400 jobs and has shut 400 underperforming locations as it seeks to reduce costs. The tax services provider expects the cuts in its field and corporate support organization will cut annual operating costs by $140 million to $150 million by the end of fiscal 2012. Philadelphia has 34 offices, but none of them is scheduled to close, company spokeswoman Kate Rauber said. However, three offices in South Jersey - Cherry Hill, Marlton and Yardville - will be closing, she said.
February 18, 2010
FEBRUARY is the month we usually report on the dismaying annual herd of companies that take advantage of taxpayers - often targeting low-income people - with a variety of "products" and "services" related to tax preparation. One of our favorite enemies: the "refund-anticipation loan. " Tax-preparation companies charge high fees and interest rates to lend people the amount of their tax refund so they don't have to wait. This dubious "service" has been highly profitable for tax-prep companies, which charge fees up to $250 and effective interest rates of 70-700 percent or more.
January 18, 2007
IF IT'S JANUARY, it must be time for our annual request for special places in hell for those who see tax season as a time to fleece poor people. This year, it looks like we're going to need a lot of space down there. Case in point: the "pay stub loans" being offered by large tax preparers such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt. One advertisement making the rounds proclaims, "I got $1,500 without a W2. I got people. " The promise: an easy advance on your tax refund, without even having to wait for your W2. The reality: a high-interest-rate, expensive loan based on a guesstimate that could be wildly inaccurate, rope people into expensive services, and trap them into having to take out bigger, more expensive loans later on. Here's one way this plays out, according to the Campaign for Working Families and Community Legal Services, which sent testers out to the large tax-preparation services to see how these loans work: You go to, say, H&R Block with your pay stub and it calculates what your tax refund might be based on your salary.
March 30, 2005
WHAT ADELAIDA Cruz experienced when H&R Block prepared her 2004 income tax return shows the vulturine environment that surrounds low-income families. They make less, but must pay more: More for food bought from the neighborhood corner store, more for utility services and insurance. They are captive prey for businesses that charge high-interest rates and fees for loans and check-cashing. Cruz is a receptionist for Community Legal Services. As reported in yesterday's Daily News, Cruz volunteered to have H&R Block do her taxes as part of an experiment to test its services.
December 2, 2004
Ironies don't come much juicier than this: Ken Jennings, the human data-retrieval machine who won more money during a 74-episode winning streak on Jeopardy! than any game-show contestant ever, was tripped up by a question on taxes. The Final Jeopardy answer was: "Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year. " Jennings guessed FedEx. Nope, H&R Block. The young software engineer from Utah said that, until his $2.5 million run this year, he'd never had any reason to hire someone else to do his tax returns.
December 1, 2004 |
IF THE RED SOX could win the World Series after 86 years, "Jeopardy" genius Ken Jennings had to lose some time. As we hinted yesterday, the show that sent Jennings home with a giant "L" on his forehead aired last night. It was his 75th appearance. He left with a record haul of $2,520,700. The answer that tripped him up: "Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year. " Ken's dumb-ass answer: Federal Express. The right answer: H&R Block.
March 10, 2004
Refund loans are risky for lenders, too In response to the commentary on income-tax refunds and refund-anticipation loans ("Instant tax refunds are bad deal for consumers," March 2), the neighborhood H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt offices probably aren't the cheapest and most economical means of filing an income-tax return. However, if consumers do a little homework and compare prices with the other income tax-preparation agencies that offer this service, they will see that there are many other locations where a person can file a return and apply for a refund loan at drastically lower prices.
March 22, 2003 |
Revondia Payne's best payday was the one last month when she realized that Uncle Sam owed her $970 for being a low-wage worker. To collect the money, Payne, 35, a part-time housekeeper at a nursing home, did what millions of working poor people do. She had a professional tax preparer do the paperwork for the benefit, called an Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, right along with her tax return. Then, to get the money faster, Payne took out the short-term loan that the preparer offered.