Wistfull!!! You project a real bad attitude!!! I still think its not very difficult for a average man to handle an average income tax situation. I have took care of my family for 30 years with no problem. But many people are affraid of taxes and want to pay someone else to do it. Which is fine and dandy,also good for business.
The goals of instant turn-around and excellent quality control seem mutually exclusive. (cf)
Reminds me of reading about a sign someone had in their tax office - when clients would make demands about having the return done quickly and cheaply, he would point to the sign and say "you may choose any 2 of the 3". The sign said:
"... then sent it to the district office to be checked. A week later the return was back and the client picked it up. Something tells me that wouldn't fly anymore." (patricka5)
The instant turn-around of returns is good from both client satistaction and office efficiency points of view. But Block seriously needs better quality control.
The goals of instant turn-around and excellent quality control seem mutually exclusive.
Of course, no system is perfect. Friend who used to work at a CPA firm said that she was surprised at the number of mistakes that crept through, in spite of having both a preparation and a review process.
At least in my office, nobody reviews returns - even 1st year preparer returns - so it's good to have checks built into the system. In the old days (I worked for HRB in the 80's), we used to run check tapes to make sure the math was correct and then sent it to the district office to be checked. A week later the return was back and the client picked it up. Something tells me that wouldn't fly anymore.
There were several times last year that while reviewing the 1040 on the screen things didn't look like they should have. I had a heck of a time trying to figure out which buttons to push to get the return to match what I knew it should be in my head. Returns that took me 15 minutes to do by hand took me much longer on the computer. Of course, most of the time spent on a tax return these days has nothing to do with taxes - at least at Block.
"Which is why there should be a very strong emphasis in all tax training courses to LOOK AT THE RETURN when you're done with it." (wishfulthinkin)
Also, it's a very good idea to pay attention to the current v prior year comparison that most software provides. A lot of missing mortgage interest statements have been discovered that way.
To a degree, I welcome TPS's idiot proofing. For example, I have no problems with TPS adding the SS screen to the "flow" for a taxpayer 62 or over. (OK, I do get annoyed by some of the IRA questions and the "you can't go any further unless you enter something in the Student checkbox" type of questions. And I agree that interview-style questions, lists, and comments are beginning to take up way too much screen space.)
But you have to remember the nature of Block and the other mass market tax prep firms: A lot of returns are done by less experienced preparers. And quality control for tax returns is not something to which Block pays a lot of attention. Good idiot proofing can help prevent a lot of common errors.
As for me, to get a return right, I'm willing to accept all the help I can get. Even if it is sometimes annoying.