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Tax News

For more information click here

Tax pro satisfaction is on the rise

Are tax pros happier with their job? According to more than 10,300 tax professionals who went online to share their thoughts in this year's Tax Professional Satisfaction Survey, the answer is a resounding yes!

Overall tax professional satisfaction increased significantly this year, with some of the largest improvements focused around computer issues and compensation.

Some highlights:
Season readiness, tech support and the easy-to-understand commission and bonus structure received a more than 15 percent jump in approval.
Additional key measures increased significantly, including the intent to return next season and the intent to recommend H&R Block as an employer.
Tax Professional's satisfaction with all areas of TPS also increased over last tax season.

As a next step, we will determine how to use these results as a springboard for further improvements.



Tax Training: Building On the Basics

When the Income Tax Course was created, it was designed specifically to help H&R Block tax pros quickly learn their skill. Little did we know it would become the industry standard for training.

This year, we're taking it to the next level: Welcome to Basic Building Blocks -- or B3 -- the newest, cutting edge tax training course in the market.

There are many aspects of B3 that set it apart from ITC, but one of the biggest improvements is right on the classroom computers. This season, tax pros will train on the same TPS software used in the office during tax season. Tax pros will be ready to start serving clients on their first day in the office.

B3 also integrates many tax pro fundamentals, including
Tax theory, law and application
Client interview skills
Advice

While the new training course has three parts, only Part I is required in most states for H&R Block tax associates. B3 is scheduled to roll out nationally on Aug. 15 for Part I and Oct. 1 for Parts II and III

To enroll in B3:
Log on to www.hrblock.com, choose "Income Tax Course" from the bottom menu and follow the prompts
Call H&R Block Service Center at 1-800-hrblock (1-800-472-5625)
Call the H&R Block district office in your area.

For further questions, call 1-888-412-7880 and choose Option 6.


Industry Update:
Tax Act takes aim at "kiddie tax"

For many parents, saving for a child's education is an important part of planning for their future. But a new law that is part of this year's Tax Act may change just how much saving clients can do.

Parents with investments often transfer them into their children's names to save for important purposes, such as college. Under the current rules, some income from those investments is taxed at the parent's rates. For example, unearned income for children is:

Not taxed up to $850
Taxed at the child's rate for amounts $851 to $1,699
Taxed at the parents' rate for amounts of $1,700 and more

This year's Tax Act raises that tax age. Most recently, the tax affected children under 18. Now it applies to children under 19 or under 24 (if the child is a student) and whose earned income is less than half of their support. The change will apply to most clients in tax year 2008, applicable in tax season 2009.

"This new law effectively changed a tax-saving strategy for many higher-wealth taxpayers who have dependent children in college," says Jackie Perlman, senior tax research coordinator -- U.S. Retail Tax. "And that in turn may change the advice that H&R Block gives many clients about the timing of transferring investments, as well as the best methods to save for their children's futures."

For more information, review IRS Publication 929.



IRS Forums provide info on tax topics

The IRS offers free phone forums for tax professionals on a variety of tax topics. Each forum is typically one hour long and qualifies for one CPE credit.

Topics to be covered in upcoming phone forums include:
IRS e-Services (August 7, August 9, August 21, August 23)
Payroll and Foreign Workers (August 15)

You must register online at the AT&T TeleConference Services Web site to attend a phone forum. When you register, you will be assigned a PIN to join the conference. If you have never registered with AT&T before, you must create a profile, and then register for the phone forum.

For more information on IRS phone forums, visit the IRS Website.



News Briefs:
Are you the next Tax Training Star?

Do you think you have what it takes to star in a new "Basic Tax Interview Skills" video? Tax Training is banking on it!

In place of actors, Tax Training is looking for real tax professionals with actual client experience to participate in a new "Basic Tax Interview Skills" video for the upcoming tax season.

The training video focuses on the basic interview techniques that deliver an outstanding client experience. As part of the training example, tax pros will demonstrate some basic interactions, including:



Tax Training Content Developers wanted

Are you ready to put your tax expertise to a new use? Consider joining the Tax Training Team. If you enjoy writing training materials, learning or teaching tax theory and taking on new challenges then you could have a place shaping the future training curriculum for H&R Block.

The Tax Training team at Corporate Headquarters is currently looking for content developers to design and develop course materials.

For more information, log onto MyBlock, select Career Tools, Career Opportunities. The job is listed under number 10198, Training Content Developer.

Here's your chance to make a difference. Apply now!



BlockCentral to get facelift

BlockCentral's popularity has grown tremendously this past year, due in part to tax office broadband access and more national and local stories of interest to you. On Sept. 4, the site will reveal a new look as well as increased interactivity to help deliver the news you need, when you need it and how you want it.

There will be additional changes to make BlockCentral your "Interactive News Hub." A couple important changes you will want to know about include: The TaxCentral tab will go away with the news and information to be incorporated into BlockCentral; and SCORE materials will be relocated to another location within myBlock. But don't worry, you won't lose the information.

Stay tuned for more information about the features and functions of the site as we move closer to the September 4 launch date.



Outstanding Service Award Recipients - Action Required

The H&R Block Service Awards program made some significant improvements this year, including how recipients of 10 year and above anniversaries receive their awards. For milestone anniversaries of 10 years and above, recipients previously received their actual Service Award gifts at the end-of year-ceremonies. This year, recipients received an Honor & Reward box instead. Along with your certificate and medallion was a letter included in the box with instructions for selecting your Service Award gift. While many 2007 recipients have successfully selected their gifts, there are still many individuals who have yet to make their selection. If you are one of these people, please follow the instructions you received in your Honor & Reward Box and select your Service Award gift by the end of August, as a number of items are available for a limited time only.

If you have lost your directions or need assistance with this process please contact the Service Award program administrators at:

H&R Block Honor & Reward Administration Center
E-Mail:
HRB@hrblock.serviceawards.com
Phone: 1-866-767-3969, follow the prompts indicating your business unit then navigate to the Service Award option. Business hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 9pm- Eastern Standard Time. 

  1. Setting expectations
  2. Responding to a client issue
  3. Maintaining Engagement
  4. Summary
  5. Wrap-up

"We're looking for tax professionals who are recognized by their peers for their outstanding tax interview skills, who have a high degree of comfort on camera and strong enthusiasm for H&R Block and their clients," says Theresa Bolin, Tax Training. If you have these qualities, we want to hear from you."

Submit your "Indication of Interest Form" HERE




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