Here we go again.
Like clockwork, the folks at H&R Block have released their annual tax season ad dissing the CPA profession. This year’s is sadder and more pathetic than usual.
“Did you know many CPAs don’t even specialize in preparing tax returns? Think about that,” the ad states. “You may want to ask your CPA’s office a few questions. Who actually prepares your return? Can you sit with them or drop your taxes off as you like? What’s with all this paperwork to fill out every year, and most importantly, will they be able to stand behind the work if the IRS comes knocking?”
An MACPA member alerted us to the ad last week and we immediately contacted the AICPA. In turn, AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon sent a letter to H&R Block CEO William Cobb in which he said the ad “grossly misrepresents the CPA profession” and asked that it be removed from Block’s tax season rotation. Cobb responded sarcastically by not only refusing to remove the ad but by actually increasing spending for the spot and dropping prices to compete directly with CPAs.
Sigh … where to begin?
Let’s start by answering Block’s deceptive questions about CPA-prepared returns.
Now, while we’re all in an inquisitive frame of mind, I have a few questions of my own.
Perhaps the most important question of all: If you want the most thorough, compliant, and personally advantageous tax return possible, why would you consider hiring anyone other than a CPA — the most trusted, experienced and knowledgeable preparer on the planet?
We’re all for good, healthy competition; it strengthens our markets and empowers consumers.
What we do not endorse are shady marketing tactics that intentionally deceive the public and sully the good names and reputations of America’s CPAs — the most trusted business advisors in the land.
CPAs encouraged to respondIf you have questions of your own, we encourage you to respond as well. The MACPA has drafted a response to H&R Block, and interested CPAs can send their own letters to the following address:
Mr. William C. CobbPresident and CEOH&R Block, Inc.One H&R Block WayKansas City, MO 64105
If you need a good starting point, the AICPA has released a sample letter that CPAs can use to help draft their own responses. Download the sample letter here.