By John Waggoner, USA TODAY
Up to 600,000 tax returns filed by H&R Block could be delayed by
up to six weeks, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
problem: Form 8863, which you must fill out to get the student tax
credit. The credit is equal to 100% of the first $2,000 of qualified
expenses and 25% of expenses over $2,000. Maximum is $2,500.
previous years, preparers could leave a field blank to indicate "no."
This year, they have to enter "n." If they didn't, the forms get
delayed. H&R Block says those who filed between Feb. 14 and Feb. 22,
2013, were affected.
About 10% of the 6.6 million returns filed
with form 8863 are affected, the IRS says. The government tax agency is
helping to reduce wait time, according to MarketWatch.com.
those clients who received the IRS notice regarding form 8863 that said
it would take six to eight weeks to receive a refund after this issue
was resolved, we are assured it will not take that long," H&R Block
said in a statement on its Facebook page. "We continue to work with the
IRS, and as we have more specifics on timing and any other updated
information, we will share it with our clients."
H&R Block clients have started a page of their own, called "Club 8863," which has earned 2,950 "likes."
When asked if it was contemplating rebates to affected customers, an
H&R Block spokesman said only, "Right now we are resolutely focused
on ensuring the returns are processed on behalf of our clients."
and their families are probably quite eager to get their credits, which
are far more valuable than deductions. Unlike deductions, which reduce
the amount of income you pay taxes on, tax credits reduce your taxes
dollar for dollar. For someone in the 25% tax bracket, a $1,000
deduction would reduce your taxes by $250; a $1,000 tax credit would
reduce your taxes by $1,000.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit,
the official name for the student tax credit, is available to full-time
undergraduate students. The full credit is available to families that
earn up to $160,000 a year; it's phased out for those that earn $160,000
to $180,000. It's not available to families earning more than $180,000.
(For single filers and heads of household, the credit starts
disappearing at $80,000 and vanishes at $90,000.)
notes that delaying return processing may cause additional headaches for
those completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or
If your return has not yet been processed by the IRS, you
can manually enter the tax return data on the application. You can then
return to the online FAFSA to update the information when your return
has been processed.
Those who filed form 8863 have already had to
wait to file, thanks to budget bickering in Congress. Resolution of the
so-called fiscal cliff, a mix of tax hikes and budget cuts that could
have sent the economy reeling, delayed the processing of tax returns.
The IRS didn't accept returns with form 8836 until Feb. 14.
The Kansas City Business Journal reported that the company prepared 22.2 million tax returns through April 18 of 2012, a 4.5% year-over-year gain.
Shares of the company, based in Kansas City, rose 1.4% Tuesday to $27.