General Question

livelaughlove21's avatar

Is it worth the time calling the IRS?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15724points) March 11th, 2013

My husband and I filed our joint tax return on February 1st. We had one W-2 each, a mortgage interest form (made no difference, so I doubt our tax lady even entered it), and an education form. I got education credits for being a student and I knew these weren’t being accepted until mid-February, so I wasn’t surprised that the return wasn’t accepted until February 18th. So, today is day 21 after it was accepted and, according to the Where’s My Refund tool, our return is still being processed.

I thought maybe it was still a delay due to the education credit situation, but the two people I asked that filed similar returns got their money in a week or two. Other than the education credits, we had NOTHING complicated. There’s no reason we should still be waiting for the refund that we desperately need. I was told by H&R Block that we’d receive a letter if there was a problem, but we haven’t received anything.

I attempted to call the IRS to see what the hold up was, but my wait time was over 30 minutes, so I didn’t wait. Is it even worth calling them or are they just going to give me some generic answer that “some returns take longer,” but nothing specific to our return?

Is anyone here still waiting after 21 days?

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37 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I have called the IRS in the past and they were very helpful. But, I don’t know for your specific question if they will have the detailed information you want. I think there is a reasonable chance they might. Mondays are probably very busy.

You can change your withholdings so you are getting more money from your job for the time being.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Was it E-filed by H&R Block? They should have a confirmation notice if it was excepted. 21 days sounds like a long time. Check with them first to see what they have.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe The OP said it is in “being processed” status so I assume that confirms receipt?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JLeslie That struck me as strange too, but maybe they just held up on processing it until the education credit software was in place. That was one of the items that was set to expire at year end.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Yes, it was e-filed by H&R Block. They emailed and texted us when the return was accepted on the 18th of February. The text from H&R Block and the IRS website says that refunds are usually received within 21 days of the acceptance. In the past we were always told it could take that long, but it normally didn’t.

As stated in the details, we had to wait two weeks for it to be accepted because the education credit form was not being accepted by the IRS until around that time. That was the only delay we were informed of.

bkcunningham's avatar

Today makes exactly 21 days. Be patient.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@livelaughlove21 You are not late on it then. The IRS used to process everything as if it came in on the next Friday, so it’s just over two weeks. Keep checking, it should clear in the next few days.

bkcunningham's avatar

You are doing direct deposit, @livelaughlove21?

livelaughlove21's avatar

I decided to call the IRS anyways. Bad news. I’ll be getting a letter and, thankfully, the lady I spoke to told me why (some others weren’t so lucky according to my Google search). Apparently all H&R block returns that include the education form are in the errors department and we will all be receiving a letter to fill out the form yet again. This is because the tax software at H&R Block did not print the check mark indicating I have not been convicted of a felony. I’ll be waiting at least another month for my money because of this.

Looks like we’ll be relying on credit cards until the money comes in, because we’re beyond broke at this point. But oh well, I’m glad I called and now know what’s going on and that it’s not an audit or a serious issue.

livelaughlove21's avatar

…scratch that. I just looked at my tax forms and the box IS checked. Perhaps the box on the print-out is checked but not on the e-file. Is that even possible?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Oh great, a nationwide company can’t get a form right? Nice. Probably it was on the e-filed form.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I know! The husband is not going to be happy. He started off blaming H&R Block and I came to their rescue saying it was probably a delay with the IRS. Looks like we’ll be filing with a different company from now on.

marinelife's avatar

The IRS is backed up this year.

If you are going to call them, set your clock and do it first thing in the morning.

JLeslie's avatar

Have your husband’s company change his withholdings so his next check will be larger. It should take a minute to fill out the new W-4 and if his HR department is decent within one or two pay cycles you will have more money coming in. You are already overpaying taxes anyway since you are getting a refund. You can switch it back to a higher witholding in a few months. Charging on a credit card and then possibly not being able to pay in full at the end of the month is throwing money out on the street. I am not objecting to using your credit cards, I am only advising that you set it up so you will have the money to pay in full by the time the bill comes in.

How big is your return? You can take that amount and divide by 52 or 26, whatever his pay period is, to estimate how much too much you are paying each pay period. You probably have already overpaid Jan-Mar so you have that cushion.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@JLeslie Luckily we can increase his withholdings online, which I will run by him tonight. Our credit cards are new and there is no interest for 14 months, so that’s a good thing. Even if we can only afford the minimum payment at the end of the month, we won’t be spending unnecessary money in interest charges. We only plan on using one of the credit cards as needed, and then pay it off in full when we get our refund. Unfortunately, we have to travel to Duke University for tests on his eyes later this week and stay in a hotel overnight. Then, next week, we have to travel to West Virginia for my grandma’s wedding and we have to go in on a rental car with my parents. This couldn’t have happened at a worse time, but we’ve got to do whatever is necessary.

bkcunningham's avatar

If H&R Block made a mistake and is causing your refund to be delayed, why don’t you negotiate with them for that loan thing they do on refunds where you basically sign the refund check over to them and you get your money on the spot minus a percentage for the “loan.” I’d ask if they’d give me a break on the percentage since they made a mistake. It may be a cheaper interest rate than what you’ll be paying on credit cards to get you through. Which by the way isn’t a good idea, but that was another thread.

EDIT: I just saw your no interest on your credit cards.

glacial's avatar

I would call, particularly if you are short of cash. At worst, you will have wasted half an hour and learned nothing. I recently called my tax revenue agency, and was told that my request for an adjustment had been somehow stalled, and they ended up fast-tracking the request because of my call. Just be pleasant and patient with them, and they will likely be motivated to help you.

sujenk7422's avatar

I have the same issue! I filed Feb. 1st and got a confirmation that the IRS accepted my H&R Block e-file on 2/15/13. H&R Block told me that it was the IRS who was backed up due to the education credit software. But I counted the days from the 15th and only counting Monday through Friday dates (IRS doesn’t do weekends) my refund should be in next Monday (21 days)! I certainly hope that this is the issue! This is the 3rd year I’ve filed education credits through H&R Block and never had a problem before this year.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Not waiting. Received EFT to bank 27 days after e-filing.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@sujenk7422 Get ready, because you’re probably getting a letter. As for the day count, the 21 days is in calendar days, not weekdays. You should’ve already gotten your money.

Strauss's avatar

I’v had dealings with the IRS in the past. Usually, if you are patient enough to wait through the lo-o-ong wait time, the conversations I have had with agents have been informative and helpful.

gailcalled's avatar

When I wsnt to talk to horrible corporate entities where there is a 20–30 minute wait, I simply put my portable phone on speaker and wait it out, while doing other things. Of course, my particular phone plan means that I do not accrue charges.

sujenk7422's avatar

H&R Block informed me that this year the IRS expected all tax credits to expire and waited until January 30th before updating software and this was the problem with being so behind on refunds. I don’t know, but I’m broke too and am having a very difficult time with accounts I planned to pay off with my refund! I haven’t received a letter yet but I wish something would break soon!

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Make sure you mention to the hotel you are being seen at Duke, they might give you a better price.

shauntae30's avatar

It is H and r block that was the issue with your return. I filed mine there and they were telling their prepares to skip a citical box that need to be checked. So anyone that has filed with them were flagged and they have to be looked at even more according to the irs agent i spoke to. I have already filed a complaint with H and r block that I’m not satified with their services and they are returning my fees that were charged which was over $475. So I encourage anyone that filed there to complain to also get your fees back. They were only concerned with collecting as many fees as they could and not to assure they were free of errors. I even seen the warning screen and asked the lady about and she said, “oh it’s nothing”. Oh it was something alright and now I’m without my return.

alicia6270's avatar

Ok see here is what happened. H&R Block did not update their software before sending out all of the tax returns they were holding until the 14th. The new software wanted a yes or no answer to two of the questions. H&R Block’s software only had a check mark, and therefore when they were sent to the IRS the boxes were blank. So all of the tax returns from H&R Block that included the education credit that were sent in between Feb. 14 and Feb. 22 were sent to the error’s department. If you look on the Facebook page for H&R Block that is where they are informing their customers of this mess. Rather than sending out an email to all customers, they are mearly hoping everyone will find out via their Facebook. This whole thing is completely ridiculous. According to the last update, they are working with the IRS to fix this problem and hopefully expedite the tax refunds of the people that were affected.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’ve got an update on the H&R Block situation. I called the agent that filed for us and she said that the IRS is telling people that there was an issue with the H&R Block transmission, but this is not true because their system will not transmit the return if those boxes are not checked. She looked at my return to double check and, yes, the boxes are marked. Apparently this is a problem with the IRS’s system, not the H&R Block system. She said corporate has been on the phone with the IRS since this happened trying to figure everything out. According to her, yesterday the IRS decided to go ahead and process these returns in the order they were accepted. She said that if I didn’t have my check within a week, to call her back to see if there was any more news.

I’m not sure if my leg is being pulled or if this is the whole truth, but she says they will not be sending these letters out after all – they are just going ahead and processing the returns. We’ll see! I’m hoping for the best.

sujenk7422's avatar

A person never knows just WHO to believe! The IRS says that it’s a computer clitch in HRB’s system and HRB is saying it’s the IRS’s computer clitch. You’d think they would have figured this out way before tax time? It’s depressing because I was COUNTING on my refund to pay bills! Again, it’s the common man that suffers through bureaucratic BUL****!

bkcunningham's avatar

I did a search and found this.

RALEIGH (WTVD)—If you filed your taxes with H&R Block, you may have experience an error.

Apparently, there’s a hang-up with one of the forms used for education credits.

The H&R Block issued a statement that reads, in part:

“H&R Block has confirmed with the IRS that there was an issue with a limited number of software company products that affected some tax returns filed between Feb. 14 and 22, 2013 that included certain education tax credits claimed on Form 8863.

“H&R Block has worked with the IRS to expedite a solution to this issue for all of our affected clients.”

That delay mentioned by a company with a reputation for facilitating rapid refunds prompted angry posts on the H&R Block Facebook page.

One client wrote: “I just can’t believe that nobody said anything. I have been a loyal customer of H&R Block for years, that is going to change… many of us count on that money.”

“Yes, they could have sent out mass email to all their clients letting us know they have a problem, and the money’s not there, and the money won’t be there until we fix the problem,” said taxpayer Angelo Adams.

If an H&R client applied for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program and is waiting for their return processing to be complete in order to finalize the FAFSA application, there are manual steps they can take that will allow their FAFSA application to proceed while their return is still processing.

The Department of Education suggests:

If your return has not yet been processed by the IRS  you can manually enter the tax return data on the application.
Return to the online FAFSA to update the information when your return has been processed.
This information is also posted on the Department of Education website:

If you have any questions about your return that was prepared by H&R Block, go back to the office where that return was processed or call 800-HRBLOCK.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The software written for H&R had a blank in place of a “YES” or “NO” blocks.
It was H&R ‘s problem, now their clients. The returns could be delayed for review for up to 8 weeks for 600,000 students !

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Tropical_Willie According to the email they sent out this morning, it may take 4–6 weeks, not 8, and people are already seeing changes on the IRS website regarding their returns.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Okay @livelaughlove21 I was going with yesterday’s information.

Strauss's avatar

It finally made NBC News!

bkcunningham's avatar

I posted an ABC news story about this a few days ago, @Yetanotheruser. I hope everyone gets their money soon.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
sujenk7422's avatar

Has anyone gotten their tax return yet? I filed with H&R Block 2/½013 and it was accepted on 2/15/2013. I had education tax credits but nothing complicated. I’m still getting that bogus message that it’s still being processed and a date will be given soon. Anyone out there who used HRB around the same time got their’s back yet? Does anyone know if the IRS is doing them in any specific order?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@sujenk7422 They’re being processed in the order they were received. It may take 4–6 weeks to process them all.

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