Form 8863 Fiasco: H&R Block Feels Heat from Angry Clients Over Delays

Form 8863 Fiasco: H&R Block Grapples with Angry Clients Over Refund DelaysH&R Block did not make a new statement on the Form 8863 snafu for three days until CEO Bill Cobb issued an apology late Friday, taking blame for the transmission issue which is delaying refunds for an estimated 600,000 clients.
(Read about Cobb’s statement.)
H&R has opted to communicate mainly one-on-one with angry and frustrated clients, many of them students waiting on delayed refunds and processed returns to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA.
Some face FAFSA deadlines. Most just need their refunds, which in part are the result of the American Opportunity or Lifetime Learning tax credits tied to Form 8863, the source of delays — possibly as long as 6 weeks — in sending tax refunds to an estimated 600,000 H&R clients.
An issue with blank spaces where “No” answers are required seems to be the cause of transmittal problems with Form 8863 that surfaced about three weeks ago.
H&R said they prefer to communicate directly with these affected clients.
But many H&R customers say they are not getting clear answers as to when they will get a refund. Some say they have not been contacted at all. Some want the filing fees they paid H&R refunded. Some say they paid as much as $200 to have their federal income tax forms filled out and processed.
Posted one client on Facebook: “I’ve contacted your company numerous times. Where is my refund? How dare you put my family in a financial epidemic while having no courtesy of calling, mailing, or emailing me.”
The response from the H&R Block rep: “I know an apology isn’t good enough right now, but it is all I can offer you. We will update you as soon as we have more info.”
Customers have been expressing their anger on H&R’s Facebook page for days. Here’s a sampler of comments from today (each excerpt is from a different client):

“As far as I can tell H&R Block has yet to offer any assistance whatsoever to those who are suffering a serious hardship due to this issue which is their fault.”
“I mean come on. It was all over the news that the IRS was going to do a software change, but yet this company didn’t think to run a test run before hand?”
“I want the $30 back that I paid you guys to prepare my taxes. Been waiting a month and a half to get them back, and now it is affecting my financial aid, AKA, my future.”
“So they plan on updating us today, i hope this update includes information on how we can get a loan from you because my bills don’t accept ‘Sorry for the inconvenience’.”

Some H&R Block representatives are responding to the Facebook comments and questions. Most are apologetic and say that H&R is working around the clock to expedite refunds.
Here’s a statement from Gene King, manager of communications at H&R Block, published in the Kansas City Star.

“It’s important to note that as a one-to-one relationship business we’ve been having conversations with our clients impacted by this issue in our offices directly. We have assisted many clients directly in resolving the matter with the IRS. In addition, we have worked directly with the IRS on a solution that expedites the processing of these returns.
“We have reached out and will continue to reach out to our clients in many different channels.”

8 thoughts on “Form 8863 Fiasco: H&R Block Feels Heat from Angry Clients Over Delays

  • March 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm
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    “Some H&R Block representatives are responding to the Facebook comments and questions. Most are apologetic and say that H&R is working around the clock to expedite refunds.”
    Thats a load of horse S***T…I’ve contacted them twice and each time some moron of a rep says all they can do is take my complaint and forward it to management and they’ll get back to me in 3-5 business days. Ya thats real good and clear communications and way to go on the apology part.

  • March 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm
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    I don’t blame H&R Block. They did as the IRS told them. IRS is to blame, they changed their e-filing program mid-season with requiring a “N” instead of a blank. IRS didn’t inform H&R Block until the damage was already done. I am patiently waiting for my $7000 refund. IRS blames congress for tax law changes. Congress will blame the President. All the blame in the world will do nothing to get your refund faster. If you know how to manage your finances you would not have a problem waiting along with 600,000 other people. Most people see their refund amount and go load up their credit card or other debt, then when the IRS refund doesn’t arrive in 21 days they can’t pay the bills. But somehow this is H&R Block’s fault?

  • March 15, 2013 at 8:37 pm
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    First of all, what people do with their money is not your business. This is H&R Block’s fault because they knew there were problems with the software and did not warn people until after the fact. It’s not the IRS’s fault because not every tax company had this problem. All of the people who I know are experiencing this are using the money for legit reasons. People also need the information for their FAFSA forms for next year. That means they are students you moron. And what exactly does load up their credit card mean anyway? Most credit card debit is from medical expenses. So, the next time you feel the need to talk about other people, don’t be such a judgmental douche.

  • March 16, 2013 at 3:56 am
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    Yeah Stephanie!

  • March 16, 2013 at 10:27 am
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    Stefanie, can you fill out your FAFSA manually instead of using the tool? However as with most people in this world its all got to be “free” or “easy” or “instant”. Sounds like your the judgmental douche blaming H&R Block when they didn’t know. Not every tax company had this problem because not every company uses a blank instead of a “N” like I said before. IRS changed this field this year and didn’t communicate this information to Block until after Feb. 22nd, like I said the damage was already done. Don’t even try to say all your expenses as a college student are medical. I am sure you have student loans, grants or scholarships, did you use up all your money. Why can’t people just be patient and wait? I forgot everyone in this “social media driven world” has to have it right now, now, now and now.

  • March 16, 2013 at 11:23 pm
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    Nate, you’re forgetting something. This happened to people filing Form 8863, which is specifically for people in college. Most of us have jobs and are getting by, but we need this money because a, we’re college students – I’d be using it to pay off the remainder of my tuition which I have been paying out of pocket for the last three years, and b, it’s ours and we were promised to have it within a certain amount of time. It’s a combination of H&R not acting fast enough and not notifying us fast enough and the IRS. I mean, everything was delayed this tax season, they even started later.
    Also, it’s not a matter of marking things blank. The questions to #25 and #26 WERE marked, but as they were transmitted over to the IRS, it unchecked it. It’s a software glitch and it’s an expensive one, they should be doing over time to get our money to us, the money that we deserve. Don’t say we’ll have it in 21 days if that’s not true. My return was already fixed last I spoke to IRS but they still say it may take an additional 4 weeks to process.
    It’s not about now, now, now, it’s about this: if we owed them money, they’d be knocking on our door and when the tables are turned, it’s not fair? We should be patient? Has nothing to do with what we’ll spend the money on; I happen to be from New York and I’m still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and it has seriously set me back financially. I can certainly pay my bills without the refund, but it will help boost my tiny savings. It’s rude to assume that all of us are irresponsible kids with loans – like I said, I pay out of pocket. So what do you have to say to that?

  • March 19, 2013 at 8:08 am
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    When did it become negative to have student loans? I’m sorry education expenses are through the roof and some of us students have to pay our tuition without any assistance from parents or family members. Judgements get you no where and are not appreciated. Some of us also pay the rest of our tuition when are taxes come in, but you wouldn’t know that would you. When a company promises a refund within 21 days we have bills to answer to, one being increasingly higher tuition/ room and board bills. So if you’d like to blame me for pursuing an expensive college education, let me know. I’ll make sure to mention you when people judge me for a lack of a degree.

  • March 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm
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    To everyone else:Nate is an idiot. He’s one of those people who considers himself to be ideal and everyone needs to learn to think as he does. Nate doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself. According to him everyone who suffers does so because they aren’t perfect like him. Nate: You disgust me.

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