Can somebody making $7 an hour really beat a CPA?

Is your accountant certified That is what H&R Block wants you to believe with their radio and television ads.

Our members are getting annoyed, so we started looking into this a little deeper and found this post from a fellow CPA and his blog over at Virtual CFO.

Turns out he knows exactly what we (and they) are talking about from his own first-hand experience. See his posts titled I Have People (Who are Paid $7 / hour) Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. He saw first-hand the "quality" and "extensive background" of the average H&R Block tax preparer and the fact that they are being paid $7 per hour!

Now compare that to the grueling requirements to become a CPA, also known as the Four Es: 1) Education -- a minimum of 150 hours of college education; 2) Examination -- the Uniform CPA Exam, one of the hardest among all professions; 3) Ethics -- a college requirement, on the exam, and a separate self-study test (in Maryland); and 4) Experience -- one year of experience in practice under supervision of a CPA.

Did I mention that the CPA is licensed by the state and comes under regulatory supervision?

Sweating It even gets better: H&R Block actually is trying to water down minimum examination requirements enacted last year in the Maryland Tax Preparer Act. They want to change the law to allow their 36-hour tax preparation program to qualify and exempt all of their people from having to take a test and demonstrate that they actually understand the law and have the necessary competencies to prepare taxes.

So let me get this straight: They claim their preparers are better than CPAs, yet they won't even take Part 1 of the Special Enrolled Agent examination that was suggested when the law was enacted? They want the public to trust that they will certify people who have been through the H&R Block tax courses (produced by them, given by them and certified by them).

Does anybody see a conflict here?

Funny, I think the guy in the sauna who says he doesn't sweat because he has "people" probably should be sweating a lot more if he reads Virtual CFO's firsthand account.

See Bill's prior post with talking points here.

This tax season, shouldn't you be asking whether your tax preparer is certified?

We are asking H&R Block to stop these offensive and inaccurate ads on radio and television and withdraw their legislation (see House Bill 329).

Here is CalCPA's letter to the CEO of H&R Block. We are sending a letter as well.

You see, we have "people," too -- 350,000 CPAs in the United States, to be exact.