H&R Block CEO Apologizes for Form 8863 Refund Delays: 'This was Our Mistake'

H&R Block CEO Apologizes for Form 8863 Refund Delays: 'This was Our Mistake'
H&R Block CEO Bill Cobb

Under fire over tax refund delays to 600,000 clients, H&R Block CEO Bill Cobb apologized to clients in a statement issued late Friday, saying it was the company’s mistake that caused transmission problems with Form 8863, which is filed on behalf of taxpayers seeking valuable education tax credits.
Cobb said the company made a mistake when it sent the form to the IRS.
The statement broke three days of no public statements from H&R Block as the largest U.S. tax preparer has opted to work one-on-one with clients through e-mails, on Social Media or over the telephone. But communication has lacked details and frustrated H&R clients have been venting their anger in Facebook comments all week.
“I want to make it clear that this was absolutely not the fault of your tax professional; your return was prepared accurately. This was an issue with the form transmission,” Cobb said in a statement posted on H&R Block’s Facebook page. “This was our mistake — and I sincerely apologize. I want you to know that we hear the frustration of those impacted by this issue loud and clear, and we’re working every avenue we can to get your refund to you as fast as possible.”
Since media reports broke three days about the refund delays, H&R has been fielding questions and complaints from angry clients wanting to hear when they would get their refunds. There has also been confusion as to whom is to blame.
Tax professionals have said that Form 8863 had been filled out correctly. Many have blamed the Internal Revenue Service for changing the way some fields have to be answered. The IRS alerted tax professionals on Feb. 20 about issues with the form having to do primarily with blank spaces where a “No” is required.
The IRS said the delay in reviewing, processing and sending out refunds to those affected by the Form 8863 issue could take 4-6 weeks, but the agency and H&R Block said they are working to shorten that timetable significantly. Many of the filers waiting for their returns to be processed are facing college deadlines for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
“We have been and remain in daily communication with the IRS, who are doing everything they can to speedily process all returns,” Cobb said. “We know that clients are beginning to see progress, funding dates are being communicated and refunds are definitely being funded. But we also recognize that in an already delayed season, it’s still not as fast as we want, and we’re not letting up until every client has his or her refund.”
Here is Cobb’s full statement:

Let me set the record straight about the Form 8863 issue that has affected you, our valued clients: we made a mistake when the tax return was sent to the IRS. And you deserve an apology, an explanation, and to know what we’re doing about it.
Here’s what happened: this year’s tax season started later than any in history (January 30th), followed by a further delay in form 8863 not being accepted until February 14. Not good for everyone. When the IRS began accepting the form, we immediately sent your returns, with the intention of getting you your refund as quickly as possible. In our zeal to move so quickly, we missed a step. Specifically there was a disconnect in the transmission of form 8863 from our delivery system to the IRS E-file system, and this caused the delay many of you are experiencing. We fixed the transmission issue right away, but couldn’t undo it for those that had already been sent.
I want to make it clear that this was absolutely not the fault of your tax professional; your return was prepared accurately. This was an issue with the form transmission. This was our mistake — and I sincerely apologize. I want you to know that we hear the frustration of those impacted by this issue loud and clear, and we’re working every avenue we can to get your refund to you as fast as possible.
We have been and remain in daily communication with the IRS, who are doing everything they can to speedily process all returns. We know that clients are beginning to see progress, funding dates are being communicated and refunds are definitely being funded. But we also recognize that in an already delayed season, it’s still not as fast as we want, and we’re not letting up until every client has his or her refund.
We are also committing to more frequent and regular updates with you as we have news to share, and we know we can do a better job here too.
Finally, I know an apology won’t put your tax refund in your hands right away, and many of you still have questions. But right now, our singular focus is to get you that refund, and we have all hands on deck to help make this right.

3 thoughts on “H&R Block CEO Apologizes for Form 8863 Refund Delays: 'This was Our Mistake'

  • March 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm
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    I FILED ON 1/24/2013! IM STILL WAITING ON MY MONEY! I READ THIS POST AND ITS CRAP!!! NO ONE FROM H&R BLOCK HAS CALLED ME TO SAY ANYTHING! I HAD TO CALL THE IRS TO FIND OUT WHY I WAS NOT GETTING MY MONEY!!! WHEN WILL THE REFUNDS START BEING SENT OUT!!!???? I NEED MORE THAN WORDS…ACTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • April 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm
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    Day 83. No refund, no tax transcripts needed to secure daughters student loans. No update from Mr. Cobb nor from the IRS. Satisfaction guarantee worthless, apology is worthless as no actions are being taken. HRB says ” doing all we can” but Requests to explain what actions HRB is taking go without response. Who are you talking to? What answers are you getting.?
    Disgusted by company response to this, as it just pours salt in the wound.
    Discount for next years service??? Carnival Cruise screwed up. Took control of situation. Free cruise, discount next time.. That’s corporate leadership.
    Waiting out a crisis and hoping you aren’t held accountable isn’t he way to lead a company. Your employees, board of directors and your shareholders should be ashamed of you

  • May 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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    H&R Block (…TurboTax) was one of the Main Tax Preparers who fought the IRS and won the case against the IRS’s demand to Regulate Tax Preparers (…Jackson Hewitt agreed with the IRS)
    …Retaliation!!
    http://www.kwtx.com/news/business/headlines/IRS–Refund-Delays-Shorter-Than-Initially-Expected-200277591.html
    IRS: Refund Delays Shorter Than Initially Expected
    http://www.kwtx.com
    Delays in refunds caused by a software glitch will be shorter than initially thought, the IRS says.

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