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.

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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.

Another Tax Update: Harry Sit’s “bakeoff”

Blogger Harry Sit has reviewed the 3 most popular tax software packages, employing a simple test to gauge accuracy of calculations of self employed health insurance deduction and premium tax credit.  His review confirms what our contributors have collectively determined:

  • TaxAct:  Works; closely replicates IRS example, with slight discrepancy due to rounding.
  • TurboTax: Works; closely replicates IRS example, with slight discrepancy due to rounding. However, taxpayers who also need to prepare a Schedule C will need to purchase the highest price, “Home & Business Edition”.
  • H&R Block: Total fail. Users are advised that the software package does not include necessary features to prepare tax returns for self employed taxpayers who have purchased insurance via an exchange.

Read the whole post at The Finance Buff

Tax Software — Fail?

I had assumed, apparently too optimistically, that the major tax prep software programs would be able to easily handle the problem of reconciling the self-employed health insurance deduction (line 29 on form 1040) with the premium tax credit calculation (form 8962).  After all, as complex as the IRS instructions may be, the actual calculation is simple math.   IRS regulations have now given clear guidance, with two methods for calculation, and this should be a fairly easy task to integrate into the program software.

Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case.  I personally use H&R Block tax prep software and buy the “Premium” version which is advertised as best for self-employed.  But when I experimented with the program, I found it didn’t seem to be making any reconciliation at all.  Instead, the program was erroneously calculating the tax credit based on the MAGI with whatever value had been previously entered as the total self-employment premium, without making any adjustments as required by IRS.

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