Author Topic: Gave myself a $9.75 raise! UPDATE in Post#22  (Read 6581 times)

mousebandit

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Gave myself a $9.75 raise! UPDATE in Post#22
« on: December 30, 2016, 02:07:43 AM »
My new side gig, tax preparation with HR Block, has an incentive program where you get higher bonuses as you gain experience and pass their certification exams.  After studying my brains out the last month, I passed all their exams except the highest, and bumped my incentive bonus from $0 per return to $9.75!  Theoretically, I should be able to jam out at least one or two returns an hour, so that is a pretty good raise! 

« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 10:26:42 AM by mousebandit »

bigalsmith101

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 07:38:45 AM »
My new side gig, tax preparation with HR Block, has an incentive program where you get higher bonuses as you gain experience and pass their certification exams.  After studying my brains out the last month, I passed all their exams except the highest, and bumped my incentive bonus from $0 per return to $9.75!  Theoretically, I should be able to jam out at least one or two returns an hour, so that is a pretty good raise!

Hell yea. That's awesome! Was there a prequalifying certification you needed to get that job in the first place? I mean, are you an accountant already?

Greenback Reproduction Specialist

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2016, 08:42:38 AM »
I could see myself doing this post fire.... I'm also interested to know about pre requirements to get this position.

mousebandit

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2016, 08:05:01 PM »
Well, I want to say NADA, but Oregon requires a course and state licensing exam, so I did that.  Other states do not require that though. 

I have done my own taxes and "helped" others with theirs for years, and I have had accounting classes during Jr College, but nothing official. 

I took the online HR Block "Tax Knowledge Assessment" quiz, and passed that.  In almost all states, that's the extent of what you need to do before you head into your local office. 

I will update on my journal as tax season gets rolling, how many clients I'm doing, how the bonuses are looking, etc.  I really think this is going to be a great side-gig for me as a SAHM.  The only reason I'm going through HRB right now, is because of Oregon licensing requirements, which say I can't set up my own shop until I've done a certain number of hours supervised by a preparer with more experience.  As soon as I hit that mark, this will be home-based, or maybe just rent a desk in an office in our small town during the season.  But profits will be dramatically higher, versus HRB payscale.  But regardless, I'm stoked! 


Hey It's Me

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2016, 11:59:38 PM »
Congrats - awesome job!

Metric Mouse

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2016, 03:58:45 AM »
Awesome! Hard work does pay off.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2017, 06:13:01 AM »
Nice gig!

Acorns

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2017, 12:44:38 PM »
I would be interested to hear how this goes for you this tax seson, I have thought about doing this myself. Good luck!

ImCheap

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2017, 02:23:19 PM »
Good for you, been doing our own taxes for many years, thought about doing something similar, will be interested in how this goes for you.

Looks like the H&R program starts in August, may have to mark that down

ABWindfall

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2017, 07:31:43 PM »
Your post inspired me to look this up. I was disappointed to find that I have to wait until August for the H&R Block training. However, I ended up signing up for the IRS training to volunteer to help others with taxes. If that goes well, I may have a new career direction. Thanks for your post!

kpd905

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2017, 03:41:24 PM »
Nice, do you know how much of a bonus you'd get if you complete that last exam?

mousebandit

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2017, 09:48:00 PM »
Cert Bonus per return would go up to $11.75, and I'd be a "Master Tax Consultant".  ;-) 

Definitely don't wait on HR Block for their training.  There's plenty of online courses, and sounds like you found one through IRS.  You may not be ready to get hired at HRB this season, but you can get lots of training and practice elsewhere, and if you're not in a state that requires licensing, if you do an online course and feel confident, you can start doing returns for friends and family this tax season.  :-) 

Got snowed in this week, so won't start at the office until Tuesday the 10th.  Have been out of power since Monday, it literally just came back on an hour ago!   

ImCheap

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2017, 11:20:03 AM »
Your post inspired me to look this up. I was disappointed to find that I have to wait until August for the H&R Block training. However, I ended up signing up for the IRS training to volunteer to help others with taxes. If that goes well, I may have a new career direction. Thanks for your post!

Care to share a link of IRS training?

ABWindfall

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2017, 04:42:02 PM »
Your post inspired me to look this up. I was disappointed to find that I have to wait until August for the H&R Block training. However, I ended up signing up for the IRS training to volunteer to help others with taxes. If that goes well, I may have a new career direction. Thanks for your post!

Care to share a link of IRS training?

Of course! I should note that while I signed up two weeks ago, no one has gotten back to me yet. That may vary by region, however...

https://www.opssupport-surveys.com/se/2511374571F86012

[Edited to add working link]
« Last Edit: January 07, 2017, 02:42:33 PM by ABWindfall »

RichHarvest

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2017, 09:29:21 PM »
A lot of the accounting students at my University did the volunteer thing. I imagine in most cities if you have a simple enough tax return or meet the income criteria (I'm assuming there is some criteria, but don't know for sure), you can get your taxes done for free by the students.

mousebandit

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2017, 07:20:59 PM »
I wanted to give a brief update, as we're nearly through tax season now, on my H&R Block side-gig.  It's going well, I'm learning a ton about the runnings of tax prep business, lots about multi-state taxes and about military taxes.  The pay is awesome in the respect that I am 100% motivated to either go solo next year or to buy the local franchise office, haha!

I'm making $9.75/hr for payroll, 40 hours per week, but there is also a bonus program.  The bonus program is based on per-return you do, and is comprised of the certification amount I talked about in my first post on this thread, an amount based on the fee-range of the return you prepared, and extras for things like selling additional audit protection, Tax ID protection, etc.  Theoretically, if you're performing well, your bonus will be higher than your wages, and you get paid the extra at end of season.  Right now, my bonus is running about $1500 higher than my wages.  Which is decent.

What is motivating though, is that I've brought in about $24,000 in fees to the office.  That is mind blowing for me.  What is more mind-blowing for me is why all these amazing preparers that I'm working with (like 14-26 yrs experience!) have zero desire to go solo.  And even though they've been there so many years, they aren't making tons more than I am, after all is said and done.  But, to each their own.

The other big development is that the owner wants to sell this franchise office (in a coast town) and his other office (in our small hometown) to me.  We don't have time yet to talk numbers, so I honestly don't even know if we'd be in the running, but I suspect that we would.  So, that is an option, too, although I am really hesitant about it for multiple reasons (mostly due to my own lack of desire to run a busy storefront type business and the diverting of funds this year from our planned real estate deals).  We shall see how that one turns out.  I will be seeking lots of advice on it. 

But, overall, I am EXTREMELY glad that I took this season to work for an office employer, and I am still planning to continue on and earn the Enrolled Agent credential with the IRS.  The money for this season sucked, LOL, and honestly, I wouldn't recommend it as a long-term side gig to work for a franchise, because you just get paid so little.  I suspect all the funds are going back to HR Block in franchise fees.  But you get a ton of high-speed experience in a ton of areas very quickly, and that is worth considering it an education and not worrying about the low pay for a season or two. 

As a home-based side-gig, as long as you're competent and in compliance with all the laws and regs, I see very few downfalls to this.  I'm extremely excited about the future and glad we took this route, even though there have been some crazy developments! 

And, if you read my blog thread, my husband finally got a layoff, and he is home with the kids and I'm renting a room from one of the other preparers for $200/mo., versus the big vacation house for $1500/mo plus the uberexpensive babysitter!  We got the house paid off, so now we are officially land- and homeowners!  The final debt payoffs are currently being debated against a new roof for the house and shop (both are leaking), and watching closely to make sure the promised next big-pay job for the husband is really coming.  It will be an exciting remainder of the year, for sure! 

MB

marty998

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2017, 01:15:08 AM »
Congratulations :)

Always great to hear some positive updates.

Slow&Steady

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2017, 01:23:41 PM »
... What is more mind-blowing for me is why all these amazing preparers that I'm working with (like 14-26 yrs experience!) have zero desire to go solo.  And even though they've been there so many years, they aren't making tons more than I am, after all is said and done.  But, to each their own...

My mom has worked for HRB for the last 15 years and claims this is her last year.  As I am sure most of the other 14-26 yrs experience people will tell you, the pay, bonus, and work atmosphere has gone down a lot in the last few years.  Or at least my mom has complained about it a lot the last several years.  That might be because her motivation to keep going back every year is drastically decreasing, she only started to do taxes to give us kids extra money while in college and now only doesn't it to buy extra crap presents  for grand children. 

Polish_Hammer

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2017, 01:45:08 PM »
IBM's watson will be replacing many Tax preparers over the next few years.  The robots are coming....

cowstash

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2017, 04:55:36 AM »
IBM's watson will be replacing many Tax preparers over the next few years.  The robots are coming....

Or the IRS could pre-fill your tax forms as an option for you since they have all or most of your information anyway. This was proposed by the Obama Admin a few years ago, as it'd save millions (billions??) of hours a year for Americans who don't have complicated returns. Not to get too political, but guess who successfully lobbied against it? HRB (and other tax prep services/software companies) and the anti-tax lobby (folks like Grover Norquist).

MagicMoney

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2017, 12:10:55 PM »
I just listened to a podcast about Ready Return in California.  Apparently in 2005, you could get a state tax return sent to you that already had all of your information and all you had to do was sign it saying it was correct and you were all done.  That would make taxes soooo much easier, especially if you get W2s and take the standard deduction.  No chance of it happening at the Federal level though...  California couldn't even keep the TurboTax lobby from crushing it.
 

mousebandit

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2017, 01:16:04 PM »
The pre-filled return is an interesting idea for those who, like you said, just have W2s and standard deductions.  I know that the corporate HRB offices have implemented Watson into their systems, but our franchise did not, so I don't have any experience with it.  I know that the general consensus among all the HRB employees (both corp and franchise) was highly suspicious and many were resentful of the money HRB spent on it. 

There are still so many returns that wouldn't work for the pre-filled thing, that I think there will be plenty of work for those preparers who want it.  Schedule A, Schedule C, real estate income, ex-Pats, etc. all seem to be alive and well.  I don't know enough about Watson to know how it might benefit on those types of returns, but I think there will still be plenty of work for the solo preparer, should they want it.  From what I'm seeing though, the vast majority of preparers are HRB-trained or some similar training, are only comfortable and pretty much are best qualified to do the more straightforward 1040EZ and 1040A returns.

 

mousebandit

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Re: Gave myself a $9.75 raise!
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2017, 10:25:38 AM »
UPDATE POST-TAX-SEASON!  I got the paperwork for my final bonus pay yesterday (will receive the actual money hopefully by end of week). 

Final assessment was that I brought in to the company $38K and change, and with the hours I logged, I earned $17.41 per hour, after the bonus. 

As I think I posted before, I was making $10.25/hr during the season in regular paychecks, then after the end of season, they go back and calculate your bonus pay, which is based on per-return instead of per hour.  And then you get the difference between that amount and what you got in bi-weekly paychecks as your end-of-season bonus.  (Basically, the paychecks during the season end up being like little draws against your bonus.) 

My bonus will be $2900 and some, which included $250 as a shared office bonus because our office hit a long-standing goal of 1000-returns-prepared during the season (they never made that before).  Without that shared office bonus, it would have been $2600 and something.

Overall I am REALLY pleased.  I definitely think it's a do-able side gig, and worth the hassle.  The costs affiliated annually will be $50 to maintain my PTIN registration with IRS (which most franchise tax offices will reimburse you, HRB does), and in states requiring licensing, the license and CE (continuing education) expenses, which again, HRB reimburses and provides, respectively. 

I will be continuing on with the tax preparation education, and get the EA designation (Enrolled Agent, with IRS), which will give me maximum flexibility for practicing independently or with an employer, nationwide. 

The franchise owner and I sat down yesterday to look over the potential for me to purchase both HRB offices.  He is ready to retire, and wants out.  It would be LOT of money, WAY more than I ever dreamed.  $450,000.  I do not know that I want to do that, even if the cost was half of that.  He will be giving me the financials for last 3 years here soon, but I know that basically he and his wife are pulling about $80k out per year in salaries, and paying a heavy debt-load, and there's not much, if any, left after that.  At this point, I am feeling like that's not something I want to take on, from any perspective, debt, work and hours commitment, people management (8 employees and need a few more), and the future of tax franchises.  I will take the time to go through all the financials, and study it all and get further advice, since that will be a very good education in and of itself.  But I really can't see us taking on that kind of debt for $80k/yr salary and a TON of commitment and responsibility. 

But, in short, I think if you have the inclination towards it, working in a tax franchise seasonally can be a very decent side gig, and doing tax prep on your own, from home, can be extremely lucrative.