Veteran receives $2,419 from H&R Block after calling 5 On Your Side
A local veteran contacted WRAL 5 On Your Side after H&R Block made a mistake filing his taxes.
Greg Gidding hired the tax preparation company to file his 2018 taxes. Years later, he received a letter from the North Carolina Department of Revenue explaining an error in the filing.
Because of the mistake, Gidding owed thousands of dollars in back taxes.
Gidding is an adjutant for the American Legion Department of North Carolina. He joined the army in the nineties when he was 17 and went on eight deployments before retiring in 2018. As an adjutant, Gidding wears several hats, one of which is handling finances.
Because of his busy day job Gidding went to an H&R Block office in Zebulon to handle his taxes.
"It’s kind of like the plumber always has leaky pipes,” Gidding said.
Gidding filed his own taxes in 2019 and 2020 but used H&R Block’s 2018 filing as guidance.
“I filed 2019 and 2020 on my own using the template from 2018,” he said.
Using H&R Block’s filing, however, turned out to be a mistake. In 2018, H&R Block filed Gidding’s taxes using the Bailey Act. Under the Bailey Act, retirement benefits are tax exempt for retirees who completed five years of military service prior to 1989. In 1989, Gidding was just a kid.
“I’m not anywhere near qualified for the Bailey Act,” Gidding said.
The Peace of Mind Guarantee is a $30 add-on that guarantees reimbursement of services and money owed if H&R Block is responsible for the mistake. Luckily, Gidding had purchased the guarantee, but getting H&R Block to honor it proved to be difficult.
He reached out to H&R Block offices in Wendell and Zebulon and told WRAL 5 On Your Side that he was met with silence, or worse, by at least one staff member when he tried to explain the situation.
"I asked one worker point blank 'Are you laughing at me?' and she said 'Well, yes I am,'" Gidding said.
Following that exchange, he decided to take another approach.
“I thought 'Am I going to get my lawyer or are we going to do the WRAL call Keely thing?'" he said. "I did both. I called a lawyer and my wife called Keely."
Gidding’s wife left a voicemail with 5 On Your Side’s Keely Arthur and within minutes received a response.
"I couldn’t believe she actually answered," he said.
A lawyer didn’t turn out to be necessary. WRAL 5 On Your Side reached out to H&R Block’s communication team and explained the situation.
Within a week, Gidding received the money to cover the error and was reimbursed what he originally paid H&R Block.
“It was $1,956.00 and $463,” he said.
WRAL 5 On Your Side checked with five major tax preparing companies; Turbo Tax, H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Tax Slayer and Liberty Tax Service all offer some form of a Peace of Mind Guarantee. Check to see if your accountant offers one and read the fine print.
It may cost a bit more, but for situations like Gidding's, it can end up saving you thousands of dollars.
H&R Block did not immediately respond to our request for comment, but acknowledged the situation and rectified it through a series of emails with WRAL 5 On Your Side.