Tax moves to make in February 2011
Senate trying to repeal expanded business 1099 reporting ... again

Tax prep company smackdown!

H&R Block has been hitting the airwaves this filing season touting the ability of its offices to get taxpayers money back that they overpaid in earlier tax years.

Dubbed the Second Look Review, the Kansas City, Mo.-based tax preparation giant says that its analyses of previously filed tax returns find mistakes in the majority of those old 1040s.

Now I've watched these H&R Block ads, mainly because I'm fascinated by the poor woman who runs a small business and apparently overpaid the IRS by more than $5,000.

Sure she points out the obvious, that numbers are not her thing. But really? Five grand? She couldn't have gotten some tax software and saved herself at least some of that tax bill? 

As I recall, this woman doesn't say who did her prior return. In fact, I got the impression that she screwed it up all on her own. Again, lady, software!

In fact, I don't recall hearing any other company specifically named in the TV spots.

But then, I might have just missed the finger-pointing. Apparently, Jackson Hewitt Tax Services didn't.

The country's number two tax preparation company says the H&R Block ads are "false, misleading and highly disparaging" and Jackson Hewitt executives want them off the air.

The Parsippany, N.J., tax prep firm has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to force the commercials' immediate removal.

Is this a great country or what?

He said, he said: "We intend to pursue every avenue available to us to stop their campaign of misinformation," Jackson Hewitt CEO Philip H. Sanford said in a statement.

"This lawsuit was filed without any requests for substantiation," said H&R Block in its own statement.

Now I'm not sure what H&R Block is saying here. Is the company implying that if Jackson Hewitt wants to get down and dirty, Block will be happy to spill the beans on who exactly screwed up just exactly how many tax returns and how badly?

I've gotta say it again, is this a great country or what?

You can read more about the lawsuit and the "Are, too! Nuh-uh" exchanges in Forbes' publication of the  AP article and in the Reuters story published by

My favorite take, however, comes from the accounting blog Going Concern. That always entertaining and informative online financial news source sums up the situation in one of the best headlines ever:

Jackson Hewitt Doesn't Appreciate the Implication
That They Suck at Preparing Tax Returns

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The ongoing drama between the two giants makes for interesting publicity. How much of this is a PR campaign? What's your take on it?

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