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Filing errors delay more than 600,000 tax returns

By Adam Klein, 69 News Photojournalist
Published On: Mar 15 2013 06:00:32 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 16 2013 04:54:39 AM CDT

Tax rage hits Kutztown woman

LYONS, Pa. -

A software error by H&R Block has delayed the tax refunds for hundreds of thousands of people. In some cases, it may be weeks or months before the problem is resolved.

The tax return delay spells financial trouble for people like Phyllis Pugh, of Lyons, Berks Co. She said she filed her taxes early this year so she could pay important bills.

"It's frustrating. There's bills to pay, you know, things to do and we have to suffer," said Pugh, a customer with H&R Block for 30 years.

Pugh said she filed her taxes on Feb. 15 and was told she would have her tax return, of more than $2,000 within 21 days. That, however, did not happen, Pugh said.

"All I was told was that they were a little behind at the IRS," said Pugh.

According to H&R Block, there was an error with the company's software filing system for those who use Form 8863 for education credits. Pugh said she filed that form because she has a daughter in college. Pugh is one of 600,000 H&R Block customers delayed in receiving their tax returns.

In previous years, preparers could leave a field blank to indicate "no" as an answer. This year, the letter "n" had to be entered. Without that letter, the forms are delayed. H&R Block said customers who filled between Feb. 14 through Feb. 22 face lengthy delays for their tax refunds.

In a statement issued to 69 News on Friday, H&R Block said it is working "with the IRS to expedite a solution to this issue for our affected clients." 

For now, Pugh said she will not get her money until April. The error, she fears, will affect the amount of federal money her daughter will receive for her college loans.

"It's now time to fill out the FAFSA form for next year for college and you can't even show them your tax return," said Pugh.

H&R Block handles nearly one in seven U.S. tax returns. Pugh said she will no longer go to H&R Block to file her taxes.