Hi. I work in Oklahoma, but hopefully my experiance will help you decide.
First of all, during the peak part of the season (Last third of January to about the middle of February), I worked every day (5-10 pm in the evening and 15 hours on the weekend). It was a bit hard on my family. After peek ended, the hours were cut back to a low of about 10 hours per week. They picked up again near the end of the season to about 30 per week. Since I alerayd have a full time job, I worked nights and weekends exclusivly.
Just so you're aware I (and everyone else) had to sign a non-compete clause, which stated that when I separate service I could not prepare a tax return for an H&R block client for two years within a 25 mile radius of the city limits of the town I worked in. Thus, if I didn't like working for them I can't just go work at a different tax company.
As mentioned before, the job is commission based. They gave a small draw (approx $6.50 to $7 an hour) against your commission, however. Your actually compensation starts at 19% of the paid return volume, and 15% of the optional Peace-of-Mind insurance program. During last tax season, I completed approximately 110 returns and made $4000 gross. Keep in mind I'm in Oklahoma, which has the lowest cost of living of any area, so I would expect the compensation to be higher elsewere. Besides the completed returns, I\I also had a number of returns I could not complete because they either walked (due to the cost of preparation and/or they had already done it with a tax software program and just wanted a second opinion) or I refused to complete due to obvious fraud.
Least you think I'm negative though, It was a really nice fit for myself. I didn't have to worry about issues that might occur if I tried doing tax returns on my own, such as liability issues. I also didn't have to do marketing, and didn't have to invest my own money on expenses. When I ran into issues I had not dealt with before (IE, Indian exclusion) there were a number of seasoned preparers to consult and advise on how to handle the issue. I always tried to give my clients their money worth, and because of the little things I did (such as advice for the future) I was able to get about 60% to sign up for an appointment with me next tax season (a year in advance). These are clients I won't have to share with the other preparers in my office next year.
In order to get hired on, they'll require you to take a basic income tax class class. I've got $25 off coupons I'd be willing to send. You also can contact the local office and they should offer you a discount on the class. I didn't know this and paid the full price. The class has completly changed this year. Previously it was on paper and pencil, and required about 3 hours outside of class for each instructional hour to complete all the exercies and reviews. Now however, they are advertising little work outside of class time, and you'll be learning to prepare the returns on the same computer system you'll use on the job. Around here, the classes start in September.
We also had interns, which were basically college students majoring in accounting who were doing the returns for not only cash, but college credit as well. They were treated exactly the same as 1st year preparers, including being required to sign the non-compete agreement and the same compensation.
Hopefully this helps answer your questions. Feel free to contact me if you have any follow-up questions.
H&R Block Tax Preparer