Last September I decided I'd like to work for H&R Block doing taxes during the 2012 tax season. I took and passed the H&R Block tax class during October nd November. The class was 7 weeks long, 4 days a week 3 hours a day. It cost in the neighborhood of $200. The class was a prerequisite if I wanted to work for H&R Block.
The class was well worth the cost even if I wasn't looking for a job. In fact the books alone were worth the cost. They were amazing. They were very well written and they made what is a confusing and convoluted subject easy to understand. There was a text book, a work book with 50 case studies and a California tax book. They added up to 4 inches and 8 pounds of books!
All those case studies were a lot of work. We started out doing all the returns by hand which accomplishs two things. One, you really understand how taxes work. When I took my CFP tax class at UC Santa Cruz I memorized that taxes = income - adjustments - deductions + credits. After doing 50 returns by hand I know it. I can visualize it on the forms. I know how the forms work to determine taxes owed.
The second thing that doing returns by hand accomplishes is that it makes you really appreciate the computer. About half way through the class we started also doing returns in the computer. I love computers!!
Doing the returns by hand meant that we had a lot of homework. This class was a lot of work. I spent literally hours reading and doing returns.
Another good thing about the class was the people I met. Going through a challenging difficult process with other people forges friendships. One of those people was Susie Iventosch who has written a fun cook book about taxes called Tax Bites and Tasty Morsels: Who's Been Eating my Pie?
Finally I have to say the class was fun! I have the kind of logical mind that likes puzzles, spreadsheets and challenges. Finishing a return and getting the right answer was a moment for celebration. Yes! I solved it! It reminded me of completing a difficult puzzle or solving an adventure game and discovering you have found the prize.
I would highly recommend the H&R Block tax class. I feel prepared to do real returns for people accurately and with confidence.