CEO Jeff Jones: Even with new July 15 Tax Day, tax refunds are needed more than ever
At H&R Block, we are in the business of creating financial confidence for Main Street Americans. Tens of millions of people turn to us each year — at this time of year — for help with their taxes to get everything they deserve. We understand deeply that for many people their refund check is the single largest “inflow” of cash they have all year long. And, we know that money isn’t used for vacation and luxuries … it’s what they need to live and provide for their families.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis presents an entirely new dilemma – how do we help people in a time of financial need, who aren’t confident doing taxes themselves, while people are being told to stay home?
In today’s digital world, it’s a natural reaction to think, “Why don’t they just do taxes online?” This is an option for some people, and we have an award-winning online product for them. But most of the U.S. population, including most H&R Block clients, rely on an expert to help them navigate their taxes. Taxes are intimidating for many people — they’re afraid of getting something wrong and they rely on our tax professionals to get it right. It is our human advantage.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have heard from many of our associates on the front lines – those who deliver our human advantage. They’ve asked questions, expressed concerns, and many have also shared the sense of duty they feel to make certain as many people as possible in their local communities can get their refunds, and get them quickly. For millions of Americans, if we’re not available, they cannot file their taxes, which means no refund. As a result, we have taken two significant steps to protect our associates, while helping clients file their taxes safely and get their refunds as soon as possible:
- For the first time in our history we have put in place absence benefits for all seasonal associates like tax professionals, and other hourly workers. There are a variety of ways people could be impacted by coronavirus and we want to help ease the financial burden during these incredibly challenging times.
- We have shifted our entire U.S. network of company-owned locations to be primarily drop off which means clients can drop off their tax documents in a safe and secure manner. Once their taxes are done, they can digitally review and approve their return and we’ll e-file on their behalf — no need to come back to the office. We are encouraging tax pros and their clients to use this approach if an office appointment isn’t possible for any reason.
We also offer multiple digital ways for consumers to get help, so they’re not left to do taxes on their own. Services like Tax Pro Go and Online Assist are great options for many people and www.hrblock.com is the best resource to learn more.
Today, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced the federal tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15.
This is good news as it takes some pressure off of consumers. It’s also good news that the IRS continues to process returns and issue refunds! During this unprecedented time, we will remain available to help people — in a local office by dropping off your documents or by working remotely with a tax professional.
I am enormously thankful and proud of our associates and franchisees. They are the frontline heroes like others doing their part to keep needed services going – whether checking out people in line at grocery stores, serving clients in bank branches or providing access to medication at pharmacies.
We will continue to provide this support across the country as we face and make new decisions daily.
Jeffrey J. Jones II
President and CEO