H&R Block Product Refund Update

Still waiting…..

I requested a refund from H&R Block for the cost of their software program on 3/30/15, because of the program’s inability to handle the self-employed health care deduction for taxpayers who are buying off the exchange.   I had purchased and downloaded the software directly from H&R Block on 12/30/14.

I was initially told that my request needed to be handled by their “escalations” or 3rd tier refund department, and my request would be handled within 48-72 business hours. However, no refund — I called today to inquire and was told that that my request was still in the queue and the escalations/3rd tier refund had not yet responded; that no time frame could be promised; and that once the refund request was processed, it could take 4-6 weeks for the refund to be provided.  I also had to wait on hold for about 2 hours for my call to be answered.

Fortunately, my credit card company is much, much nicer.  I contacted them to register a dispute over the credit card charge. No hold time at all.  They promised gave me an immediate “temporary” credit to my account. They will give gave the merchant (H&R Block) three calendar days to respond to the dispute, and then issue issued a chargeback. They immediately credited my account with the full amount pending resolution of the dispute, and charged the amount back to H&R Block 5 days later.

So at this point, it looks like I’ve got my money back, whether or not H&R Block agrees.

I’ve also e-filed all my taxes with TurboTax.

_____

Update, May 2015:  H&R Block did also send me a paper refund check for the cost of the software, which arrived in late April. As I had already received the value of the refund when my credit card issued the charge back, I did not deposit the H&R Block check.   But basically, they did what they said they were going to do, but it took longer than I was willing to wait.

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20 thoughts on “H&R Block Product Refund Update

  1. Hi Freelancer….I just ran into this problem in using the H&R Block Premium package. I noticed that there is an option to choose “No Thanks, I’ll continue on my own” . I did so, but it then lists that there are errors in my return. This may sound like a stupid question, but is there anyway around this since I’ve already paid for the online product and entered all my data?

    • I’m not the person to ask, since I chose to simply go with another product — but I think you could still print out your return and paper file. But I don’t think the software will let you e-file if it is throwing off an error.

      • Yes, your assumption ends up being correct. When I spoke with H&R support, they stated I could upgrade to the “Best of Both” package and have a tax prepayer help me with any issues. Or they could tell me how to complete the calculations myself and then submit a paper filing. I don’t like the idea of paper filing. I like getting a quick response from the government letting me know if my taxes have been accepted!

  2. So update on my last post….I went ahead and asked for a refund as well and will switch to Turbo Tax. I just want to be done with taxes! HA!

    • I finally got an email today from H&R Block telling me that they will mail a refund check in 2 weeks. This is after I spent 2 hours yesterday on hold and finally talking to an agent who refused to give me any sort of estimate or promise concerning my case. In the meantime my credit card company has already refunded the money via temporary credit. So I’ll wait and see what happens. (I won’t cash a refund check unless H&R Block disputes the chargeback).

  3. I am sure glad I found this blog! Having the same issue and definitely want a refund from H&R. I was just about done when I got that “error” message — H&R’s error for not selling a complete software product. This may seem like a stupid question, but what number did you all use to call to ask for the refund? I called the 800 number I found online, but couldn’t get past the robo agent. I called the general customer support number: 800-472-5625 and the Software Product Support: 1-888-482-9288.

    Thanks also for the tips on using Turbo Tax. I am a longtime H&R software user and have gotten used to it, but I have no problem jumping ship after this.

    • I had to wait on hold for a very long time to get through to H&R Block. I didn’t end up getting a refund from them — instead I submitted a dispute claim to my credit card company, and they ended up issuing a chargeback. Much faster! H&R Block did eventually send me an email claiming they will send a refund check in the mail — if I actually receive a check from them I’ll post here to let people know, but of course I won’t deposit the check as I have already received the credit by using the dispute resolution process for my card. So if you used a credit card and bought the software directly from H&R Block — I would recommend that. Just tell your credit card company that you can’t get through to H&R Block.

      If you bought the software from a third-party vendor, then it might be harder — but it might be easier and faster to at least ask about getting a refund from the vendor than to wait on from H&R Block.

      • I bought it from Staples. I don’t mind staying on hold — I just plug in my headset and try to get work done — but I couldn’t even get to that point, on the supposedly 24-hour line. I’ll try again tomorrow when I’ll have more of my wits about me. Still can’t believe H&R sold a product with incomplete code and didn’t even put a warning on the packaging! Meanwhile I had to do extensions, because I won’t have time to re-enter all my data into TurboTax tomorrow. What a bother.

      • Since tomorrow is the filing deadline, you might have better luck getting through to H&R Block if you wait until Thursday.

  4. I got on the phone this morning to H&R Block and miraculously was not on hold too long (not as long as I thought I’d be, anyway), and the nice lady whom I finally spoke to said that since it’s a “known issue” I shouldn’t have any trouble getting a refund. Since I bought it in disk version from Staples, I’ll have to send in a copy of my receipt and the original UPC code to an address she gave me, along with a note explaining why, mostly because I bought it more than 60 days ago. She helpfully told me to include that I was waiting for all the updates.

  5. Then I downloaded Turbotax Home & Business, from Amazon, which seems to be the cheapest around at $78.99 now. I have to thank you again for the tip that Turbotax works for this. I had to get used to Turbotax’s interface very quickly, as I really wanted to finish up and transmit my returns today, not bother with extensions. I’m an editor and work with 2 monitors, so I put the return I had in progress in H&R Block software on one screen and opened Turbotax on the other, so I could quickly enter my data into Turbotax. It was a bit of a challenge finding the right place to put my husband’s non-marketplace premiums and my marketplace premiums, but I got there. Your other post about that helped. I finished up an hour ago and transmitted federal and state returns.

    • Glad to know that it all has worked out. I also found it frustrating to have to learn TurboTax’s very different interface…. but I actually found it easier overall to enter data into TurboTax. For one thing, TT seems to have better import features. I’m not happy about the higher cost of the software, but I think I’ll be sticking with TT for the future. H&R Block really missed the boat on this one, and I’ve pretty much lost confidence in them. They simply were not at all transparent about the problems they were having all along, and they really should have been proactive about offering refunds once they realized they weren’t going to be able to get the program ready by tax time. It’s been a tough week for me because I usually have my taxes done by mid-March.

      • Yes, I will probably stay with Turbotax for future tax returns, also. I found that entering lists of items within categories in TT was much easier than with H&R’s itemized lists, which you then have to find by line number if you want to change anything. I used to get tax returns done by early March, in order to meet financial aid deadlines when my kids were in college. I should aim for that, easier than getting it all done at the last minute.

  6. I went through the iterative method to figure out the proper ACA tax credit since I am also claiming the Self Employment Health insurance deduction.

    I just checked my refund status with the IRS and they tell me they have changed my refund. They increased it to the amount H&R Block calculates for ACA tax credit when I don’t use the iterative method.

    I think the IRS is wrong, but maybe I made a mistake.

    I followed the detailed steps in the 8962 instructions for the iterative method:
    #1 Removed IRA deductions from AGI calculations
    #2-Iterated until the SE deduction and ACA credit were no longer changing
    #3-Saved the ACA credit number for my final 8962
    #4-Saved the SE deduction number
    #5-Added IRA deductions back in
    #6-Entered SE deduction number
    #7-H&R Block now calculates a higher ACA tax credit than the one from the iteration (including no IRA deductions) and thus a higher refund, but would not file my return (“contact H&R Block Professional”)
    #8-Printed 8962 pages from iterative method.
    #9-Printed all other forms except 1040 from H&R Block
    #10-Entered 1040 numbers (with different ACA tax credit and resulting changes) into IRS editable PDF file and printed these two pages
    #11-Submitted my return through the mail.

    The IRS changed my refund to the amount on Step 7. So they seem to be ignoring the ACA credit calculated without the IRA deductions. Or maybe I made a mistake.

    • The part about removing the IRA deduction from the calculation a was a mistake. The reconciliation between SE tax and ACA credit is the very last step that needs to be done after accounting for all other adjustments to income. Since the IRA adjustments reduce your AGI, they must be accounted for in determining ACA premium credit eligibility and amount.

      However, I can see that the instructions and worksheets in the Instructions for Form 974 are utterly confusing–so I can see where your hand calculations went awry. (Makes me glad that I opted to switch to TurboTax)

      But it seems that the good news is that IRS is giving you a larger refund.

    • IRA deductions are allowable for MAGI as are other retirement plan deductions. However, these deductions are subject to their own unique limitations, i.e., having enough SE income to take the full amount. Pub 974 is confusing when the worksheet mentions IRA deduction, but it’s only for testing for adequate income, not ACA credit. If you meet the tests to take the claimed deductions then you can include them. Basically very few adjustments to AGI are needed and most people will have none.

      SE people need to assess their net income level as it relates to taking all related deductions including retirement plans and health insurance (both subsidized or not). If your net income is well above both totals you can safely skip all the worksheets to verify that. If you are close to the total then you may need to evaluate if totals are too high to take full deduction.

      Your SE net income and age restricts how much you can contribute to retirement plans. Care must be taken to not contribute too much based on limitations. Retirement plans are excellent way to minimize AGI if you can afford the cash contributions. IRA and individual 401(k) are allowed and if 50 or older really gets you large deduction to maximize ACA credit.

      Excess health insurance expenses that are above limits can be added to Schedule A as itemized deduction, subject to 10% limitation. Generally hard to claim, so paying more in premiums can be better than lower cost plan that has more copays since premiums reduce AGI.

  7. The tax-year-2015 edition of H&R Block’s software is now available. Hoping to see some early news on whether this has been resolved in the new version. 🙂

    • I hope so, too…. but unfortunately I won’t be the one to report on it. H&R Block lost a long-term customer last year. I switched to TurboTax and I won’t be going back… barring some unforeseen issue or problem with TT.

      It’s not just an issue with the failure of the software last year — it’s that combined with the poor customer service in failing to recognize or acknowledge the problem, continually claiming that the issue was being resolved in a forthcoming upgrade. I’m not comfortable with waiting to the last minute to do my taxes.

    • H&R Block posted an official answer here two days ago:
      http://community.hrblock.com/t5/Health-Care/An-amount-needs-to-be-carried-to-Self-Employed-Health-Insurance/m-p/68837#M1019

      Here’s what it says… sounds like it’s almost entirely fixed in the desktop software, but still has a lot of ‘exception’ cases in the online version:

      ———————–

      I’m told by our digital products team that we will be supporting self-employment health insurance (SEHI) and ACA Premium Tax Credit (PTC) for the most common cases in both this online and desktop products this year.

      For the uncommon situations, here’s what clients will need to do:

      In online, these clients will be directed to upgrade to Best of Both. Client has SEHI and PTC and at least one of these:
      IRA deduction
      Excludable bond interest
      Student loan interest deduction
      Tuition and fees deduction
      Form 8582 for Passive Activity Loss Limitations
      More than one business

      In software, last year’s e-file limitation no longer applies, but clients will be asked to do their own calculation then tell us the number to finish their return if they have:
      More than one business with health insurance established under it
      Rental real estate losses with active participation

      I hope this is helpful.

      JerryG

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