For Rob Powell, this is the second and last year he will file his taxes with H&R Block. Last year he didn't have any issues, but this year has been a nightmare.
"It's been real problematic, and I'm just blown away at how it's all been handled. No apology and very little communication," said Rob Powell a student getting his bachelor's degree in Community Services.
A spokesperson for H&R Block said the company had a computer software glitch on its back end. The issue affected clients who filed their taxes with the student tax credit form 8863, prior to February 22.
For H&R Block customers who are experiencing this issue, besides not getting their return, what they said is more frustrating is the company isn't taking responsibility for its mistake and it didn't notify them of the problem.
"Nothing has been communicated to me," said Powell. "I have actually talked to people who have prepared their taxes with other preparers and they are not having the same problems."
Powell was told he would get his return within the normal 21-day period from the IRS, but that didn't happen.
When he didn't get his refund and never heard from H&R Block about the issue he took to social media.
"I was just blown away by hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of people who have commented on H&R Block's Facebook page about the problems they are having too," said Powell.
Frustrated H&R Block customers have created a Facebook page called "Club 8863." The page has over 1,700 members. The link to the Facebook page is below.
H&R Block said it caught and fixed the error after February 22. Only those clients who filed with a student tax credit form 8863 before Feb. 22 were affected.
Powell filed his taxes with H&R Block in January. He still hasn't gotten his refund.
Liberty Tax Service and Simplified Tax and Accounting are two other companies that professionally prepare taxes in Lansing. Both said their customers have not had these issues.
"We have had no issues in regard to people with education credits that we are aware of," said Joseph Cox, who works at Liberty Tax Service in Lansing.
The IRS said it has no issues on its end.
In an email an IRS spokesperson said: "Here in Michigan about 82% of tax filers get a refund and while many factors can influence the speed of refunds, the IRS continues to issue more than 9 out of 10 taxpayers refunds in less than 21 days. Taxpayers can get specific information on their refund timing by using the "Where's My Refund" tool on IRS.gov."
Powell has used that tool, but despite lots of effort to get the issue resolved, he, the IRS nor H&R Block can estimate when he will get his refund.
Because Congress didn't resolve the fiscal cliff issue until January, the IRS didn't accept returns with education credits until February 14.
"Everything has gone pretty smooth," said Nikali Luke, a CPA, who works at Simplified Tax and Accounting Services, a company whose clients have not experienced the problem. "I was actually surprised how fast some people did get their refunds considering the backlog the IRS had to process because of the Feb. 14 delay."
H&R Block says it has "worked with the IRS to expedite a solution to this issue for all of [its] affected clients." For those customers who were affected "no additional action" is needed. You can read the full statement from H&R Block below.
H&R Block Statement about Education Credit 8863 Issue:
"H&R Block has confirmed with the IRS that there was an issue with certain tax returns filed before February 22, 2013 that included certain education tax credits claimed on Form 8863. We have worked with the IRS to expedite a solution to this issue for all of our affected clients.
If you received this notice requesting additional information for Form 8863 and already responded to the IRS, or have not received a notification to date, there is no additional action needed at this time.
For those clients who have received notification from the IRS and have yet to respond, please call your local H&R Block office or 800-HRBLOCK. The office or customer service agent will be able to better serve you and provide next steps.
H&R Block appreciates that this issue may cause problems for our clients. We will continue to update clients as more information becomes available. We thank clients for their patience while we work with the IRS to expedite the filing process on their behalf."