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Utah couple has electricity, gas turned off due to late tax refund

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Mar 21st, 2013 @ 11:26pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — A software glitch at H&R Block has put a delay on tax returns for 600,000 customers. One Utah couple had a disastrous return from vacation and had to use their savings to pay their bills, rather than their tax return as hoped.

Rob Colomb and his girlfriend are both students at the University of Utah, living on a tight college student budget. The couple went on vacation for spring break only to return home and find that their electricity, gas and cellphones had been shut off due to a mix-up with his name.

Colomb said they were planning on using their tax returns to help take care of their monthly bills, including retrieving their pet dog Dimitri from the pet lodge, and that they should have been refunded three weeks ago. "We were expecting to easily pay that with our taxes," he said.

Because Colomb and his girlfriend planned on receiving more than $3,000 in tax returns, they felt OK taking a Disneyland trip for spring break.

"They gave us the 100 percent guarantee that there would be no errors," Colomb said. "So we thought, 'Oh great.' We know there's nothing wrong with them, so it's going to go straight through, and we're going to get it in time."

H&R Block said the problem came from the 8863 form for education credits. A computer error caused one box on the form left unchecked when it should have been checked.

Colomb said he and his girlfirend used money they had in savings to pay the bills, but they'd like their refund soon so they can replace that money.

"I think they should take a lot more responsibility for what's happening to people," Colomb said. "At least an advance on the refund, that's what I was asking for. And they pretty much told me, 'Sorry, we don't do that. We don't give advances.' "

H&R Block CEO, Bill Cobb, has issued an apology on the company's Facebook page saying that they are working with the IRS to resolve the problem. The H&R Block clients could possibly have refunds in the next 48 hours.

Colomb's frustration comes from the domino effect H&R Block's error has caused and said the only compensation he's been offered by H&R Block for the delay is a $60 refund on the software he used to file taxes.

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