- Calif. tourist community evacuated over suspected explosive device
- Obama to use executive seat to push private companies onto solar
- ‘X-Men’ director Bryan Singer accused of sexually abusing a boy
- Tennessee ammunition site explodes, killing 1
- U.N.: Iran cuts stock closest to nuke-arms grade
- Oklahoma gay-marriage case before U.S. appeals court
- Times wins two awards from Society for Professional Journalists
- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
Beleaguered H&R Block offers refund of its own: Gift cards for customers
Tax preparation giant H&R Block, embarrassed by a filing glitch this tax season that contributed to a delay in refunds for hundreds of thousands of clients, is offering up a refund of its own with a $25 gift credit card to those affected.
A letter offering up a personal apology and the $25 MasterCard cash card began arriving in the mailboxes of affected customers this week.
“We know we cannot erase any frustration or inconvenience that you experienced, but we do want to sincerely say, ‘We’re sorry,’” Amy McAnarney, president of the firms retail client services division, wrote in the letter. “…We serve almost 15 million clients in our offices each year, and once in a while, things don’t go as perfectly as planned.”
The 2013 tax filing season got off to a rocky start with last-minute changes dictated by the New Year’s Day fiscal cliff deal and delays at the IRS in putting together some key forms.
But errors based on H&R Block’s internal filing systems also contributed to the delays for many customers. In particular, a new IRS rule — in which tax preparers who could previously answer a question “No” on a key form simply by leaving the space blank were this year required to actually enter an “N” — was not updated in the tax giant’s system and led to delays at the IRS.
Federal officials said some 600,000 returns were affected by the glitch, resulting in delays for filers expecting refunds of up to six weeks.
In addition to holding up refunds, the delays also caused headaches for parents filing federal forms regarding college student aid this spring, with many students unable to secure their financial aid packages by the deadline set by colleges.
Ms. McAnarney in her letter said it was not human error but a “system disconnect” that caused the problem. She also acknowledged that the company was slow to respond to complaints about the delays, which flooded the firm’s Twitter and Facebook accounts earlier this year.
The company “wanted to communicate with you as clearly and quickly as possible,” she wrote. “However, in tracking down answers, and more importantly, solutions, our early communication with you took longer than we would have liked.”
But a $25 gift card may not be enough to buy off some unhappy clients. The company has been hit by at least four state class-action suits by customers over the delays, including one filed Wednesday in a federal court in California.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.
At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...
- SANDS: High-powered Webster claims second straight college chess crown
- SANDS: Rematch point: Chess champions, challengers often meet again
- SANDS: Steady Anand earns rematch with Carlsen for world chess title
- Anand earns rematch against Carlsen for chess title
- SANDS: Anand in command as candidates tourney nears chess finale
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- With pot and e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco is just waiting to inhale emerging markets
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- FISHER: Shades of Berlin in the South China Sea
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- CURL: The state of the Union worse than you thought
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- DEAN: Team Obama: President Putin's pawns
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.