Class Action, Privacy

H&R Block faces several lawsuits over filing glitch

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Cheap Burberry Cashmere Scarf a lternativeHeadline”>Refunds delayed for hundreds of thousands

Tax giant  has been hit with several lawsuits over allegations that a software problem has delayed refunds for hundreds of thousands of taxpayers.

The suits, filed in courts in three states, revolve around a seemingly minor problem that has had major implications for taxpayers who filed their returns through H&R Block. Previously, a tax preparer could answer a question as “No” by simply leaving the field next to it empty; beginning this year, however, preparers must affirmatively enter “N” next to the question. The IRS is processing the returns, but it will take longer than usual because of the issue.

The issue affects taxpayers who filed their returns before February 22.

The IRS says that that at least 600,000 tax returns were affected by the glitch, and that refunds will probably be delayed for about six weeks. H&R Block received a number of complaints about the issue via its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Michigan complaints

A suit filed in a Michigan federal court points to H&R Block’s advertised 100 percent accuracy guarantee, and says that H&R Block has not yet attempted to compensate taxpayers for the error.

“Because of the error in the submission, which appears to be uniform in all of those, it’s their entire return that has been delayed,” California attorney David David Cialkowski told . “This has caused a lot of issues.”

Cialkowski said that at least 500 individuals had contacted his firm about the problem.

Mea culpa

H&R Block CEO Bill Parajumpers Jacka Kodiak Cobb issued a lengthy apology on the , in which he acknowledged that “an apology won’t put your tax refund in your hands right away,” but vowed “to get you that refund.”

“This was our mistake — and I sincerely apologize,” Cobb said in his statement. “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. … [R]ght now, our singular focus is to get you that refund, and we have all hands on deck to help make this right.”

The company’s blog  a “complimentary consultation with a professional student aid advisor” through Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. Students affected by the problem may face complications in filing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”), which asks applicants for tax information.

At least 3 suits have been filed to date, including complaints in California, Michigan, and Illinois courts.

(originally published at )

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