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BLOCK INTERNAL EMAIL DEFENDS AGAINST CHARGES
Wed Mar 15 2006 13:34:11 ET
From: Gokey, Tim
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2006 11:00 AM
To: Tax Ops All Field
Cc: DL - TAX OPERATIONS COMMITTEE
Subject: Our response to the Attorney General of New York
As you may have heard, the New York Attorney General today filed a complaint against H&R Block's Express IRA product. We are dismayed that the Attorney General, who is running for Governor of New York, has chosen to attack a product which has been broadly hailed by consumer advocates as a way to help moderate income people to save.
The Attorney General alleges that Block did not adequately disclose fees to clients, falsely claimed it offered attractive interest rates, and did not adequately train its Tax Professionals. These allegations are false. Block fees have always been clearly disclosed in multiple places. Block has subsidized the rates offered to clients in Express IRA. While prevailing interest rates for most savings vehicles were not high over the past three years, Block's rates at all times over this period exceeded the benchmarks for comparable products. And Block Tax Professionals receive more training than anyone else in the industry, typically more than three times the training of competitors.
This action comes after nearly two years of discussions between the Attorney General and Block. The Attorney General's reason for attacking the Express IRA has changed multiple times over this period. The changing nature of his attack has led us to conclude he wants to go after this product for his own purposes, irrespective of the facts. Recently, he has offered to "settle" the claim for many millions of dollars. H&R Block has refused to knuckle under to his tactics and will instead contest these inaccurate allegations in court.
The key truths about Express IRA are that:
Thank you for your leadership in explaining the truth about Express IRA to our associates, Tax Professionals, and clients. While the Attorney General will get his press coverage, we are confident that we will prevail when the facts can be impartially presented, in Court.
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