Mt. Vernon Register-News

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March 11, 2013

H&R Block mistake affects students

Delays of six to eight weeks are expected for students who used the forms

MT. VERNON — — College students are feeling the effects of a nation-wide error made by H&R Block when filing their tax returns.

"I had my taxes done early, before the IRS was accepting taxes," said Samuel Milligan of Dix. "Letters are being sent out by the IRS, but H&R Block has not been letting people know there is a problem."

The problem with the returns involves those using Form 8863, used to claim the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning tax credits. According to H&R Block, the form was incorrectly submitted. Letters to those using the form on their taxes have been told by the IRS delays of six to eight weeks are expected from the time the issue is resolved.

"I waited 36 days to get my refund, and then I get a letter," Milligan said. "I paid someone $400 to do my taxes and they aren't returning my calls, or even sending an e-mail. I had to find out the information myself by going to their Facebook page."

According to the H&R Block Facebook Page, the company is working with the IRS to correct the problems.

"H&R Block has confirmed with the IRS that there was an issue with certain tax returns filed before Feb. 22, 2013, that included certain education tax credits claimed on form 8863," information states. "We have worked with the IRS to expedite a solution to this issue for all of our affected clients.

"If you received this letter of 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 Bock office."

The post further states the IRS has told the company it will not take six to eight weeks to get refunds.

"... we are assured it will not take that long" the post continues. "We continue to work with the IRS and as we have more specifics on timing and any other updated information we will share it with our clients."

But, for Milligan, the assurances are not helping the situation for himself and other college students. A former Rend Lake College Student, Milligan is now taking online courses through Pennsylvania State University and is late on the deadline to file for financial assistance based on his tax return.

"I don't know what's going to happen, and it's frustrating," Milligan said. "The least (H&R Block) could do is let you know what is going on."

In addition, a national petition is being circulated online and now has several thousand signatures from students in a similar situation. The petition, started on change.org. The petition urges the IRS to go ahead and process the taxes with the Form 8863,

"This is important to get the world across because many college students are stuck in limbo and really need their refund to help pay for their tuition fees, books, housing, utility bills, etc.," the petition information states.

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