Another Lesson Learned during COVID: Expertise Accessed Differently

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to embrace flexibility in navigating daily life. Over the last year, consumers have adjusted their habits to follow safety precautions. People adopted or established a new reliance on apps and digital services for restaurant and grocery deliveries, fitness tracking, and connecting with friends and family. And they learned to lean on professionals with online mental health and healthcare appointments.

That same approach for connecting to expertise digitally, instead of the traditional in-person experience, now applies to filing your taxes. Now you can work with an H&R Block tax professional but skip the office visit. Consumers have access to expert tax help from anywhere, in the same way they might now access telehealth, virtual workout classes, or any other virtual expert service — live or on their own schedule.

Taxes can be confusing, especially this year. An H&R Block survey found that 56% of Americans have more tax questions than last year due to the pandemic. Between COVID changing our lives and the tax law changes from the past year, you need to get it right when you file your taxes.

“Many things have changed in the past year, but H&R Block is still here to help,” said Karen Orosco, senior vice president of U.S. retail for H&R Block. “You can work with our tax experts through new technology and tools, tap into our expertise from anywhere and get every credit and deduction you deserve.”

Expertise delivered through a digital experience

H&R Block offers the myBlock app as a solution to get tax expertise at your fingertips. You can upload documents, set appointments, message, and even video chat with a tax pro. You can also get updates on your tax return, connect with a tax pro year-round, explore mobile banking and plan for next year.

Even with H&R Block’s do-it-yourself online filing, you get access to all the tax expertise you might need. In addition to being guided through the process with the online software, you can access H&R Block Online Assist to get unlimited, on-demand chat sessions with tax experts. You can get direct assistance from a tax pro via screen share and on-demand chat. This is especially important in a year when a new source of income, like a 1099-G for unemployment, or a withdrawal from a 401(k), could create questions for even the most confident DIY filer.

“We have so many ways to help, and we put tools in place to make working with a tax pro easy and convenient,” Orosco said. “At the same time, clients have more access than ever to our tax pros so they can get their questions answered, taxes filed and feel confident.”

Don’t leave money, or stimulus payments, on the table

H&R Block tax pros always help people claim every credit and deduction they deserve, and this year that includes any possible unclaimed stimulus payments when filing a 2020 tax return. For those who did not receive a stimulus payment, believe they did not receive their full stimulus payment amount, or had life changes, such as the birth of a baby, a Recovery Rebate Credit can be claimed when their 2020 taxes are filed this year.

For the record number of people who received unemployment income last year, a recent tax law change makes up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits nontaxable income in 2020, if your household income is less than $150,000. If you already filed your 2020 taxes and it included unemployment income, there is no need to file an amended return, in most cases. In May, the IRS will begin calculating and issuing refunds for overpayments. However, because everyone’s situation will be unique, this benefit may make some people eligible for additional credits or deductions, including the Earned Income Credit. Working with a tax professional will help you know what actions you might need to take, in order to evaluate if you are newly eligible for a credit or to understand if your state tax return(s) will be impacted.

To get started on your taxes today, visit hrblock.com.

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