11 Questions With a Tax Pro: The Income Tax Course and Beyond

July 27, 2016 : Allie Freeland

Michael Hayes Sr. has worked for H&R Block for nine years. Based in Sacramento, California, Michael is all about numbers and has a passion for helping others. But, he wasn’t always a tax professional; he previously was a business consultant who set up corporations, non-profit organizations, and Limited Liability Companies.

The allure of a job that helped individuals, businesses, and the community at-large convinced him to make a career change to H&R Block.

Read on to learn more about Michael and his career at H&R Block and how to get started as a tax professional through the Income Tax Course…

1. How did you decide this was a career you wanted to pursue?

I had been a customer of H&R Block for a couple of years after having a negative experience with a CPA. I was getting ready to set my consulting business as a Corporation and wanted to make sure that I understood the tax implications.

Then, I met an H&R Block District Manager at a networking event who invited me to take the (Income Tax) Course. Upon completing the course, I found many of my business clients who trusted me to form their businesses also trusted me to do taxes for them and their employees.

2. What would someone find surprising about being a tax professional?

A tax professional becomes an extended part of the clients’ family. Over time, a bond of trust is developed and they refer us to their circle of friends and family. I have one family who caravans from the Bay Area each tax season to have me complete their taxes.

3. How would you describe the Income Tax Course?

The Income Tax Course is a fast-paced, fun-filled and nurturing submersion into the world of taxes. In addition to learning theory, real-life examples from instructors and peers guide you through the education process.

And, many of the students find lifelong friendships that stay strong throughout their careers.

4. What was your experience in taking the Income Tax Course?

I found it be informative and practical, whether you have a strong financial background or are new to the world of taxes, you’ll be able to grasp the information and, in turn, teach others.

5. What are some of the most important things you learned when taking the Income Tax Course?

The power of peers… No matter the expertise of the instructor, many things are best explained through interactions and personal stories among peers.

6. What role does continuing education play in your career?

I am a lifelong student. H&R Block’s extensive continuing education program allows you to stay current on changes in the tax law as well as specialize in a variety of tax strategies.

7. What is your favorite part about being a tax professional?

Seeing the relationships formed between our clients and  tax professionals

8. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve encountered as a tax professional?

Helping a client get more than $25,000 back as a result of a change in the Adoption Law.

9. If someone were on the fence about choosing this profession, what would you tell him or her?

The Income Tax Course, at the very least, provides you with a better understanding of your personal and business tax situation. At most, it can open the door to a new career that is beneficial to the community at-large.

10. What one thing keeps you going during a long tax season?

The lives impacted every season. When a client comes to me for assistance, I have an opportunity to educate them and provide actionable advice that often changes their tax situation for a lifetime.

11. How do you spend your time outside of tax season?

Teaching and providing tax talks to employer groups.

If you, too, feel like a career change is around the corner for you, you might want to consider being a tax professional. The first step is taking the Income Tax Course. This class will teach you about preparing taxes, and it could help you decide if this is the path for you. 

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Allie Freeland

Allie Freeland

Contributing Editor, H&R Block

Allie is the Contributing Editor of the H&R Block blog, Block Talk. She has been a practicing grammar geek since 2007.