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  • Peter Wiesner

H&R Block Errors! (from 2013)

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

If you're using a gloried or basic tax service that markets like they are pro's and doesn't deliver here is a article for you.

Tammy MacLean started going to H&R Block as a graduate student in 2008. A year later, she married a federal civil servant and moved with him to a diplomatic posting in Switzerland.

“We rented out our home in Ottawa and should have been exempt from paying capital gains tax during our posting,” MacLean says.

“However, we needed to file an election to claim that our property remained our principal residence, despite its change of use. We were not informed of this Canada Revenue Agency requirement. As a result, we have to pay $2,000 in capital gains tax on our 2013 tax return.”

Hamel is quoted as saying the " Every tax return prepared in Canada is covered by a guarantee called the Block Advantage".

“I just received a call from the regional manager,” MacLean said last week after I forwarded her complaint to H&R Block’s media contacts.

“What a turnabout. He was quite apologetic about his last call with me, which was anything but helpful. He asked us to get in touch with him to arrange the reimbursement once we get our notice of assessment.

“I cannot say thank you enough. My husband and I just bought a new house, we had a baby in December and I’m struggling to finish my PhD, so extra cash flow is hard to come by this year.”

This was a good conclusion at the end of the day for the taxpayer.


However, not so fast, I have two clients that got paid on this and two that didn't. So they publish this guarantee, but I would caution that this is really a hit and miss and not a 100% true statement, but really slick marketing.

Two clients of mine John G of Innisfil and Judith H. in Aurora would disagree with this guarantee quote. H&R Block missed the disability tax credits and transfer to family member which caused a loss in the tax refund plus interest after I cleaned up the errors. They simply missed the claims in the tax returns. The clients didn't receive interest, but I did get the taxes back many years after the fact on the errors identified which happens over and over from many basic tax services.

To conclude, maybe I am biased, but please use a Chartered Professional Accountant to get the most out of your tax return and yearly tax planning. I work with your financial planner, lawyer, insurance broker, banker, and become part of your professional team. The results to you are superior as compared to using a low end tax/data entry service that naturally under services its clients (lower price) and offers a weak guarantee, in my view, but tries to look the part of a CPA.

If you need further advice on Section 45(2) extending your Principal Residence exemption mentioned in the article, please give me a call or e-mail.

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