By Frank Byrt
On March 27, the IRS announced the expedited processing of some 600,000 tax returns filing Form 8863, Education Credits, that were delayed due to "a problem with a limited number of software company products." The IRS said it expects to issue nearly all applicable refunds by early to mid-April, which is sooner than previously anticipated.
"Due to the special steps the IRS took to help these taxpayers, the work is being completed more quickly than anticipated – in two to four weeks. Many affected taxpayers have already received their refunds and more are on their way", the IRS said on its website.
The delay first came to light on March 12. At that time, the IRS estimated it would take up to six weeks from that date to issue refunds to the impacted taxpayers.
On March 13, H&R Block admitted to the problem on its Facebook page: "There was an issue with a limited number of software company products that affected some tax returns filed between February 14 and 22, 2013. These affected returns included certain education tax credits claimed on Form 8863." Later that same day, the IRS issued a statement that the error could impact approximately 600,000 returns.
Taxpayers affected by this issue can check "Where's My Refund?" on IRS.gov to determine the status of their refund. The website is usually updated overnight, so taxpayers only need to check it once a day.
H&R Block now faces several class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of some taxpayers whose returns were delayed. In a case filed March 19 in US District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan, two customers charged H&R Block with breach of contract and negligence. They are suing for $5 million, the Kansas City Star reported.