An open letter to H&R Block clients about Emerald Card and stimulus payments

April 23, 2020 : Jeff Jones

What we’re doing and not doing

Most Americans get a tax refund each year, and H&R Block has always been committed to getting taxpayers every credit, deduction and dollar they are due. For many people, their tax refund is the biggest payment they receive all year. Because of this, one of the most common questions we hear once a tax return is completed is: Where is my refund? It’s a hard question for us to answer because once a return is filed, it’s up to the IRS to determine how quickly the return and refund are processed.

Due to the widespread impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, people are more cash strapped this year than ever. Tax refunds remain critically important, but the new most-asked question is: Where’s my stimulus payment? And unfortunately, it’s not a question we can easily answer because, like tax refunds, the IRS determines when and how stimulus payments are distributed.

The IRS is moving as quickly as possible, but with more than 170 million Americans qualifying for assistance, the distribution of payments has had some glitches. People are worried and confused and we’ve received an unprecedented number of calls and emails from clients looking for answers leading to longer-than-normal wait times and added frustration. Our customer service agents, tax professionals and extended team are being bombarded with questions, verbally abused and even threatened. We share your frustration because we pride ourselves on being helpful, but given the circumstances, we can’t be as helpful as we want to be.

To add to the confusion, there is a great deal of incorrect information circulating about H&R Block’s role in stimulus payments in social media. To help clear up confusion for our clients and in hopes of protecting our employees which is of the utmost importance to me, I’m addressing some of those things here.

How we are helping

Even though we do not control the amount of the stimulus payment or when it is received, we’re doing what we can to help people understand their payment and make accessing it as easy as possible.

  1. Our online stimulus calculator helps people understand how much money they can expect from the IRS.
  2. We’re answering commonly asked questions and providing updates as we receive them here: Stimulus Payment Updates.
  3. We are processing payments as soon as they are received.
  4. For clients receiving their stimulus payment on an Emerald Card:
    • We’re loading an additional $10 to each Emerald Card to help offset ATM fees .
    • We’ve waived all fees associated with withdrawing funds over-the-counter at a bank through May 31, 2020.
    • For anyone needing a replacement Emerald Card, we offer two free options – visit one of our local offices or receive one in the mail.
  5. We are talking with the IRS daily to get updates and help where we can.

Beyond what we’re doing to help, let me also address two bad rumors that suggest we are trying to profit from stimulus payments:

  • We have never proposed the IRS pay a fee to H&R Block to facilitate Emerald Card deposits or charged the IRS anything, nor would we.
  • We are not holding payments or delaying processing so we earn interest on taxpayers’ stimulus money.

We are eager to see everyone who qualifies for a stimulus payment get it quickly. In the meantime, we ask for your patience, especially toward our frontline associates who are handling the daily calls and doing their best to get people the answers and help they need. I cannot thank our employees enough for all they are doing to help clients during this stressful time.

We are never happy when our clients feel like we’ve let them down because our business is built on relationships. Yes, we do taxes, but WHO we do them for is what matters most to us. Always.

Sincerely,

Jeff

Jeff Jones

Jeff Jones

President and CEO

Jeff Jones is president and chief executive officer of H&R Block. Jones brings 28 years of executive management, innovative leadership and operational excellence to the company after having held key roles at top companies in the retail, consumer products, agency and technology industries.

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