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600,000 tax refunds could be late due to filing mistake

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Are you anxiously awaiting your tax refund to pay some bills? You may have to wait awhile. A filing error means that 600, 000 filers will have to wait a bit longer. Many of those who will be getting their refunds a bit later than usual are college students who need the money to pay for books and the tax receipt to apply for financial aid, the IRS says.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - There was a rude awakening for many several college students this year. After paying a professional tax preparer $150 for 30 to 45 minutes of their time, one 26-year-old interior design student waited in vain for her $2,500 refund.

When she checked the IRS Where's My Refund? feature online, it said her tax return was still being processed, she went to the H&R Block website to see if others were having the same problem. She learned that Form 8863, relating to student tax credits, had been filed incorrectly.

Thousands of angry customers began sounding off on that tax preparer's Facebook page. She wrote that she, too, was frustrated. 

Preparers say that the form had since changed, and that in previous years, five lines on the form could be left blank for a "no" answer.

Starting this year, preparers must enter an "N" in those fields or risk a delay. The tax-filing company said it learned about the tax form change after it had submitted hundreds of thousands of tax returns. The IRS said it was aware of the problem and it is continuing to review the situation and work with "affected software companies to assist in the processing of those tax returns." 

H&R Block and the IRS later made an announcement that those who submitted tax returns between Feb. 14 and Feb. 22 would receive their tax refunds within 21 days, not eight weeks as stated in an earlier letter from the IRS to those impacted. 

"We want to assure the impacted clients that we are doing everything we can," H&R Block said in a statement. "The IRS has informed us and other impacted providers that they are currently processing returns."

 "While the number of tax returns affected is around 10 percent of the total returns claiming the credit, the IRS continues working aggressively to address this situation and hopes to reduce those projected refund time frames further," the IRS said in the statement.

About 6.6 million tax returns include Form 8863, although only about 10 percent are affected, according to MarketWatch.

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