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Tax Fail

After about 20 years of using TurboTax, we are hiring a human tax preparer this year. Because of the increasing complexities of having to file as married in the state of California, but single for the Federal forms, plus buying another property in 2010, and shuffling stocks to effect said purchase, and my state pension beginning---well, it's all too complex for my little brain. And TurboTax admits they aren't supporting same-sex married/domestic-partnered filings, and recommend an outside preparer.

So about a month ago I made an appoinment with H&R Block in the Castro office. The website recommended an agent who had extensive experience with same-sex married/domestic-partnered filings. Our appointment was for this morning (March 25) at 10:00AM. We were in Palm Springs the last two weeks, and I even received a call 2 days ago reminding me of our appointment. We drove back up to San Francisco yesterday to attend the appointment, lugging all our forms and records with us.

This is the review I posted on Yelp after our encounter:

Epic fail.  My husband and I drove 500 miles from our vacation home to make a 10:00AM appointment with Robert McHugh.  Arrived 10 minutes early.  At 10:05 nothing was happening, so we asked the receptionist what the delay was.  She passed a note to Mr. McHugh with no response--he was still with his clients.  At 10:10 I walked over to his cube and interrupted, saying we were on a tight schedule (both of us needed to get back to work).  He just looked up at me, then turned back to his clients.  Five minutes later he dismissed his clients and came over to us.  "Are you domestic partners?" he asked.  "Yes, and we're legally married,"  I replied.  He said "We have a problem."  He escorted us to his cube and said he couldn't take our account--they were swamped and behind and he was overcomitted.  I asked why we weren't notified of this in the two weeks since I made the appointment, and he just shrugged.  In a way I'm glad, because I wouldn't trust someone so disorganized and poor at communication to do my taxes anyway.  I asked if there were any other agents available today.  "Do you own property?" he asked.  I replied yes, we own two homes together.  He said that the only agent that was available wasn't experienced in property issues, so we were out of luck.  No referral to another office. No offer to help us find another agent.  Just an "I don't care, I'm overworked and can't deal" attitude.  I got his manager's name and plan to complain to the branch and to the national firm about the totally piss-poor service we got (or didn't get--they did nothing at all.)

I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon with Liberty Tax Services. Sheesh!!!


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 26th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
I highly recommend my tax preparer, Jim Jenks. I have referred a few friends to him, and all have been satisfied. Jim and I have been friends for about 7-8 years, and in 2007 he became my tax preparer. His home and office are in San Jose, but he frequently comes up to SF because he has many clients here.

Mar. 26th, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)
Mar. 26th, 2011 01:54 am (UTC)
What a nightmare. Taxes suck so bad. They make it so difficult.

I'm sorry you drove all the way for such crap. I'm glad you yelped.
Mar. 26th, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)
The year I bought my house I researched everything I could and found 3 big tax breaks but was convinced I'd missed something important. I decided on H&R Block and searched through their area offices to find someone who specialized in new real estate. I made the appointment and showed up early for it a week early.

Their tax genius was late, rude, hadn't brushed his teeth in two weeks, and had more lunch on his tie than in his mouth. He asked some questions and pushed me through and came to some tiny little refund. I asked about the three tax breaks I'd found and researched and he had no clue. None. Zero. One of them was the 7500 tax credit from 2008. It was national news and he had nothing to offer.

It was pathetic.
Mar. 26th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)
That is just really sad. I hope you can get some satisfaction out of this through their upper management. Danny generally just goes to the top.

Good luck!
Mar. 26th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
That is one of the reasons Jason and I didn't marry when we had the chance. Our tax situation would have been a nightmare.
Mar. 26th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear this.....
I would of read him the riot act (after all that driving) xoxooxoxox
Mar. 26th, 2011 07:06 am (UTC)
I'm refusing to do community property this year. If they ask why I'll say " Do you think that we are married?" If the answer is no, we will say " then I'll file singly as in the past, no community property", If they say yes, then I'll say " then we'll file jointly like every other married couple. If they say " But your state is a community property state, then I'll say, "We have an agreement not to have community property", If they balk at that, I will sue their asses to the Supreme Court. By the time it gets there, I bet our marriage will be legal in the Federal govenment. End of story.
Mar. 26th, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
I heart men with big balls.
Mar. 26th, 2011 07:52 am (UTC)
So sorry to hear. I had good luck with H&R years ago in MA.
On a good note, we picked up your package.
Mar. 26th, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC)
That's so completely unacceptable!!! I hope you can find a tax preparer with the appropriate knowledge and skills, one whom you can trust. I've used the same tax preparer for 20 years. He lives in Kingsport, TN and rescued me one year when the woman who does all of the touring companies tax returns bailed on us. May you find someone like Randy who will get it right!

Mar. 26th, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
here is a pretty good blog: http://law.scu.edu/blog/samesextax/

Illinois will begin domestic partnerships in a few months and I expect that our tax issues will change. That said, Barry does teach Federal Income Tax at a JD and LLM level and we both work in a graduate tax law department, so we have enough contacts.

We will be developing a couple of classes for the fall semester to start training our students to understand these new issues.
Mar. 26th, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC)
Awesome blog. Thanks for sharing!
Mar. 27th, 2011 02:15 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear of your tax pains! I'm sure Liberty on your coast is ok, but the one here in Schenectady just got a "Shame On You" blurb in the news. Turns out that shredding documents isn't the norm. They found several trash bags with papers with all peeps info on it.

Ooops. I bet they were trying to save a few bucks, but the funny part is, they didn't even throw it in their own trash, they dumped it, un-shredded, into someone ELSE'S trash. Obvious Much?
Mar. 27th, 2011 04:01 am (UTC)
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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )