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H&R Block sued over tax error

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Published:   |   Updated: May 11, 2013 at 12:09 AM
TAMPA -

H&R Block is being targeted by lawsuits across the country because of an error that delayed tax returns for an estimated 600,000 taxpayers.

Earlier this week, Robert and Julie Lefebvre of New Port Richey and Jody Rivera of Haines City became plaintiffs in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa seeking to be a class-action representing all those affected in Tampa.

The lawsuit was filed by the Parker Waichman law firm, which has filed a similar complaint in Ohio. According to news reports, other lawsuits have been filed in California, Illinois and Michigan.

H&R Block issued an apology in March for the mistake. The firm has a March 8 posting on its Facebook page saying it made an error for returns filed before Feb. 22 claiming certain education tax credits on Form 8863.

“For those clients who received the IRS notice regarding form 8863 that said it would take 6-8 week to receive a refund after this issue was resolved, we are assured it will not take that long,” the posting says. “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.”

Although the firm said it “appreciates that this issue may cause problems for our clients,” it made no reference to what the lawsuit points out is H&R Block’s “100 percent satisfaction guarantee,” promising a full refund for dissatisfied customers.

The lawsuit says the company did not offer any refunds. The complaint seeks more than $5 million, plus interest and costs. It does not say how many people in Florida were affected by the mistake.

According to the lawsuit, the IRS requires that Form 8863 be completely filled out, but H&R Block left some mandatory fields blank. The error delayed tax returns beyond the promised 21 days, the lawsuit states.

H&R Block did not return messages Friday seeking comment on the lawsuit.


esilvestrini@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @ElaineTBO

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