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Software Bug The Almighty Buck Technology

H&R Block Software Glitch To Delay 600,000 U.S. Tax Refunds 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the government-happy-to-keep-your-money-a-while-longer dept.
mrquagmire sends this quote from a Reuters report: "Tax refunds for about 600,000 taxpayers claiming an education credit will be delayed, the Internal Revenue Service said on Wednesday, citing a software glitch at some tax-preparation companies, including industry leader H&R Block Inc. Refunds may be delayed four to six weeks from mid-February, likely not showing up until late March, the IRS said. ... On Tuesday, a Wal-Mart Stores Inc executive said shoppers had cashed about $2.7 billion in tax refund checks at its U.S. stores so far this year. At this point last year, that amount was about $4 billion. The IRS delayed the start of the tax filing season by eight days, to January 30, due to the enactment of tax law changes made to resolve the "fiscal cliff."
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H&R Block Software Glitch To Delay 600,000 U.S. Tax Refunds

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  • Enterprise Code (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ButchDeLoria (2772751)
    Business quality meets government efficiency.
    • by alphatel (1450715) *
      Once, about 20 years ago, I went to a newly opened H&R branch. There I met a nice gentleman who took all my tax info (and my check), and told me to come back in April to sign everything and get it sent off. Having completely forgotten about everything, I showed up April 14th, and to my surprise not only did the nice fellow vanish, but all the paperwork I had put together was missing (apparently there was no record of me in the computer). I was forced to file late and pay a cute fine.

      I figured if they
      • Sounds more like someone was posing as an employee to get your financial info.
      • Not that it helps much in your case, but for those who find themselves in a similar situation, file for an extension (six months is automatic) and take a look at your previous year's tax return. Unless you have had a change in income or deductions, just be sure that your withheld tax on your W2 is equal to or greater than your actual tax liability the previous year. If it's not, write the IRS the largest check you can afford to write and send it in. You'll get back any overpayments when you file your retur
    • by slick7 (1703596)

      Business quality meets government efficiency.

      That's no glitch, it's a feature filled app.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:17PM (#43164691) Homepage Journal

    A software glitch?

    I have a feeling that this software glitch is not really a bug, it's just when this function executed:

    getTotalAvailableFederalBalance()

    it returned 0, and somewhere along the line it triggered a condition known as: TreasuryIsBareException

    • by Frankie70 (803801) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:32PM (#43164849)

      try
      {
              avail = getTotalAvailableFederalBalance();
      }
      catch(TreasuryIsBareException e)
      {
              printMoreMoney();
      }

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        I hate when parentheses are on individual lines like that.

        try {
        avail = getTotalAvailableFederalBalance();
        } catch(TreasuryIsBareException e) {
        printMoreMoney();
        }

        the reason that the condition printMoreMoney() requires a few weeks delay of-course is that it has to go through the usual route of:

        Treasury.issueNewDebt() ...
        Fed.issueNewCredit()...
        MemberBanks.useNewFedCreditToBuyTreasuryDebt()....

        only th

      • by tompaulco (629533)
        People just don't get how printing more money is detrimental. I use a pizza analogy. let's say you have a pizza cut into 8 slices and you have 16 people. The pizza economy says "There is not enough pizza to feed all of these people". The government answers "we will issue more slices", then proceeds to cut the pizza into 16 slices instead of 8.
    • by roman_mir (125474)

      Whoever moderated that, you think that was funny? Then wait until my grand finale, where I explain the algorithm for bombing foreign brown civilians and aiming at kids with predator drones by US military.

      Something similar to: "You just don't lead them as much" is part of it.

  • by metalheadsunite (1207724) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:19PM (#43164707)
    I filed in late January and they told me at that time that the IRS wasn't accepting education credit submissions until late February and would delay refunds for about 2 months. Interesting that they now come out and say it was a software glitch.
    • Actually no, it wasn't an IRS software glitch. I work for the IRS and.... 1) the IRS is trying to catch people who are abusing the system (I know, cheaters, really?) so a lot of reprogramming was done. That's why the Form 8863 (Education Credit) processing was delayed until February 14. 2) H&R Block's software IS dropping two lines which caused the problems.
  • I read that as... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dAzED1 (33635) <brianlamere@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:29PM (#43164817) Homepage Journal
    I read that as "last year, people who shop at Walmart gave the government $4Billion in interest-free loans, by overpaying throughout the year."

    I'm just funny that way....

    • Ah, so you're making fun of the Americans' "voluntary" income tax payments?
      • by mythosaz (572040)

        Unless you're someone who needs a "forced" piggy bank, you should do your best to either:

        (a) owe exactly nothing, unless you like giving out 0% loans, or
        (b) pay as much as possible without incurring a penalty for underpayment, provided you can use and pay back a 0% loan.

        Anyone getting a check gave a 0% loan.

    • by Pathwalker (103)

      Note that the IRS does pay (pretty good) interest, if they owe you enough.

      I found that out one year when cleaning up the mess resulting from a forced stock sale (due to a takeover) and a broker that did backup withholding for the entire amount, ignoring the cost basis; but reported to me that a smaller number of shares had been sold, and that nothing had been deducted. After a few go-rounds I got the corrected paperwork in June, and filed a 1040X.

      The extra check for the interest was a nice surprise.

      • by tompaulco (629533)
        I also received interest one year due to a corrective filing worked out between me and my father to make me an independent so I could qualify for student loans, which I otherwise couldn't get because my family made too much money as defined by the student loan organizations, but not enough money to send me to school, as defined by the amount of money it costs to go to school.
        Anyway, I ended up getting money back, plus interest. My father ended up having to pay more taxes, plus interest and penalties. Even
    • by makubesu (1910402)
      Considering the current rate I'm getting on my savings account, I'd just be giving a free loan to the banks instead!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They charge ungodly amounts of money for starters. Me, Im single, I work one job, own one home, one car and everything in my life is very simple and so are my taxes but they insist on charging me 145 dollars to do my taxes. It used to be like 65 but every year it goes up and my taxes actually take like 15 minutes to do. Then they start sales pitching me on buying optional services and gurantees and so on on top of 145.

    So I started doing my taxes online for free through simple google searches for a couple ye

    • I use an accountant because my tax isn't simple.

      However here in Australia if your tax is simple to moderately complicated you can easily file it using a government program called e-tax. Been around for years (and looks like a Windows 3.1 program).
      It guides you through everything as a wizard fill in the blanks sort of thing. Very simple.
      It even grabs your data from previous years so you don't sit there filling out the same info every time. It knows who you are.

      • by whoever57 (658626)

        However here in Australia if your tax is simple to moderately complicated you can easily file it using a government program called e-tax. Been around for years (and looks like a Windows 3.1 program).

        In the UK, the tax system is setup so that for most people with simple incomes (single job, no offshore bank accounts, and perhaps a mortgage) will have had the correct amount of tax deducted (or credited) at source and they don't need to file a return.

    • by tibit (1762298)

      I used to do my taxes myself, but turbotax online is not cheaper than my time, so I go that route. For someone with a simpler tax situation of course it may be different. There are benefits to online filing, though -- the refund can be much quicker, if you are getting one, that is.

    • by EmagGeek (574360)

      My wife and I have a somewhat complex tax situation. We both have 1099 income, and we have three rental properties between us - one jointly owned, and the other two are pre-marital property. I also have my regular W2 income from the business I own.

      H&R Block wanted $5000 to do our taxes and the taxes for my corp, because they were "very complex and intricate and required special attention of a whole team of tax professionals," when our regular CPA whom we've used for years is $650.

      These "professional" ta

  • by letherial (1302031) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:54PM (#43165041)

    First, this is old news, way old news....its done and gone
    Second, it was a IRS software glitch, that effected every education form...the article title tries to imply that its H&R block and thats just misleading.

  • So they hire IT guys as well with no experience who only work for tax season ?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm glad H&R Block has finally received some attention in any aspect of their IT practices, even if it was due to an issue with the IRS.

      As an old employee who worked on the IT side dealing with their branch office systems I've witnessed absolutely frightening security practices. I'm talking about thousands of unencrypted tax returns sitting on desktops in vacant (sometimes for 6+ months) offices. In the area that I worked (inner-city) these offices were regularly broken into by the homeless. Servers wou

  • by stox (131684)

    Dump Congress?

  • What was that about being 'professionals' with all the right 'credentials'? How much did you spend on that last little media blitz? Way to eat your own shit HR block. You and Turbo Tax want a room for all that stank?

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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