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My mother recently got a letter from the state of Ohio saying she didn't pay a school tax that was active for her 2010 return. She filed through H&R Block so went there thinking they should be responsible for the mistake which is going to end up costing her over $700. They say that they are not responsible and she will have to pay it. Does anybody have any advice for this? She really can't afford $700 for a mistake that the people preparing her taxes made.

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Is the $700 the tax, or the penalties? Did the H&R employee sign the return as a paid preparer?

If the $700 are penalties and the return was properly signed, she can sue them to compensate her for the penalty.

If the $700 is the tax itself, she'll have to pay it, tax liability is still hers.

  • I've never used H&R storefront, don't they have to show the return as paid preparer? – JTP - Apologise to Monica May 9 '12 at 13:46
  • @JoeTaxpayer of course they have to. The question is whether they did. – littleadv May 9 '12 at 17:59
  • I meant to suggest that if they did not, and OP has a paid receipt that in fact H&R did the return, isn't H&R in more trouble? The school tax is common in Ohio, this is a very careless oversight. But they had better have signed the return. – JTP - Apologise to Monica May 9 '12 at 21:00
  • The fee is a little over $500 the rest is the tax. – Valael May 10 '12 at 4:26
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From the H&R Block site:

The H&R Block Guarantee: The H&R Block Guarantee is included with every tax return we prepare. If H&R Block makes an error on your return, we'll pay resulting penalties and interest. If you are audited, we'll explain your IRS tax audit notice and the documentation you should provide to the auditor.

Maximum Refund Guarantee: Get the maximum refund you're entitled to, or your tax preparation is free.

Satisfaction Guarantee: We're so certain that you'll have a positive experience that you don't pay until you're satisfied.

It would appear they will need to pay whatever portion is a penalty and interest. As littleadv wrote, they won't repay the tax itself.

May I ask? - Who did her return last year? This (school) tax isn't new.

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