H&R Block

Chris Holloway has been a tax consultant for H&R Block in Astoria for the past 13 years. ‘We take all the stress out of taxes,’ he said.

How long have you worked in the tax field?

“About 14 years.”

How did you get started?

“My wife said I had to get a new job, so I took the class and have been stuck here ever since (Ha-ha).”

Are you from the area?

“Yes, I live in Warrenton, been here about 25-30 years.”

How long have you worked for H&R Block?

“About 13 years.”

Is now the peak season for filing taxes?

“Yes, we’re really busy right now.”

How many people do you typically see a day?

“Anywhere from 15 to 20.”

Who are your typical customers?

“I do everything from the easy ones to the corporation returns. I don’t have any typical customers I’m afraid.”

Is there an area you consider your specialty?

“Not really, I can pretty much do anything (Ha-ha).”

Is there any services or requests that are most common?

“We have a handy service where you can take the fees out of the return. It’s very common. It makes people happy because they don’t have to pay up front.”

What are the common mistakes people make when filing their taxes?

“A lot of people tend to miss some of their income. I’ve seen where people have done them online and brought them in and often they’ve missed some of their credits. Sure, you can do it yourself, but you may not be doing it right.”

What are the benefits of having professional help to file taxes instead of relying on a computer program?

“You get the satisfaction of knowing it was done right.”

Are there changes this year that people should be aware of before filing their taxes?

“There were a lot of changes this year. They condensed the forms — instead of three forms, there’s one. They roughly doubled the standard deduction, but then they took away exemptions for your kids and yourself as well. They upped the child tax credits. They used to take away your child tax credit once they turned 17, but now there’s a smaller one for that. The tax rates went down, there’s deductions for your business. This was the year for a lot of changes.”

Now near the start of the new year, are there things you recommend people do to limit their tax liability?

“We just like to make sure they’re getting enough taken out of their paycheck or retirement, to make sure their withholding is going to be right so they don’t have an ugly surprise next year. It’s always more fun when you’re telling someone they’re getting something back.”

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