“Let’s be honest, taxes are not one of the most stimulating subjects around,” says Laughlin. “So if you want to engage with young people you’ve got to give them something fun to engage in the conversation with. “
Up 6 percent from last year, nearly 27 million Americans have filed their 2013 taxes on their home computers. H&R Block has something to say about this new trend, and it has unveiled a new marketing campaign to get younger Americans to its offices and website for tax preparation help.
Elasticity, a St. Louis based digital marketing and public relations firm, is behind H&R Block’s latest marketing scheme, “The Hipster Tax Crisis,” and it hopes to reenergize the H&R Block brand and to deepen younger people’s knowledge of taxes as the April 15th tax deadline looms near. H&R Block is trying to use charity, social media, and humor to compete with the younger generation’s affinity for TurboTax and do-it-yourself tax preparation mechanisms; the company is now trying to make itself more hip, ironically.
“Humor has proven to be a great medium to humanize a brand,” says Aaron Perlut, founder and managing partner for Elasticity. “Particularly a brand that specializes in a topic like taxes.”
The website, hipstertaxcrisis.com, is one of the most interactive tax-related websites I have seen in a long time. When viewers go to the website, it introduces them to Kenny Mayne, an ESPN personality, and a video of him trying to teach fake hipsters about the country’s complicated tax code.
He concludes that hipsters, too, are struggling to properly file taxes (in a non-ironic fashion, obviously). The website helps “to bring balance back to the universe and to solve at least some of The Hipster Crisis.”
There are some very useful and knowledgeable tax tips on the webpage. Hipster tax facts reveal whether pets qualify as dependent. They also show how hipsters plan on spending their valuable tax refunds; I see lots of kale shakes, quinoa, and eccentric bed frames in the future.
Here are the top 10 tips that I learned while surfing the website:
- eyewear without prescription lenses do not qualify as a medical condition and may not be deducted;
- scarves cannot be counted as dependents;
- tax software is not yet available on vinyl;
- not owning a TV doesn’t make you privy to a tax rebate, it makes you the most annoying person in the room;
- grounding your own coffee beans does not count as an occupation under Federal or state tax statutes;
- banjos that you own yet do know how to play are not itemizable tax write-offs;
- a reported 3 of 10 hipsters brew their own craft beer to avoid sales tax and commercialism;
- while in 2012, flannel diapers cut child expenses by some 44 percent for the average hipster parent, but it does not count as a write-off;
- growing organic arugula on the fire escape does not enable you to get a farm tax credit;
- your Etch-A-Sketch is not tax deductible, even if it is used to create caricatures of patrons outside of your favorite fair trade coffee shop.
In addition to viewing the tax tips, viewers can “hipsterize” pictures of themselves by digitally photoshopping knitted caps, mustaches, and non-prescription horn rimmed glasses, and then they can submit these photos to the website’s “Hipster of the Year Competition.” Maybe, if contestants are lucky enough, they will end up on Hipster of the Year Tumblr.
All the festivities will conclude on April 1st in Seattle at the Fred Wildlife Refuge with the “Irony Games.” That is when all will drink Pabst Blue Ribbon for free, and the attendees will find out who exactly is the Hipster of the Year. A Chicago rap group, Flavor Sings, will also perform live at this event. Watch their latest hit, “The Hipster Tax Rap,” where they explain further all the troubles hipsters have when filing taxes. (the video is at the bottom of this article)
With all this hipster hoopla, there is also charity component to this campaign. H&R block will be donating money to the Covenant House, a charity that supports homeless children; it will give 50 cents for every video, hipsterized photo, and hipster tax fact that has the #hipstertax. It will also donate money for every attendee at the Irony Games. So don your non-prescription glasses, scarf, and tightest jeans, and join hipsters everywhere in learning about taxes.
Lastly, want to avoid the long lines and care to receive more than the standardized advice given to every client at H&R Block? Want to actually talk to a person rather than the computer when using TurboTax. Don’t forget that JDKatz represents everyone from Fortune 500 companies to individuals in tax matters. In each case, we follow a course of action based on consultation with the client, and it is individually tailored to the client’s needs and goals.
JDKatz, P.C. is a full-service law firm focused on tax law, business and transactional law, estate planning and elder law. We are dedicated to minimizing your existing liability and risks while providing valuable tax planning to streamline your tax issues in the future. Please call us at 301-913-2948 to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our trusted attorneys, or visit http://www.jdkatz.com.