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

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the government-happy-to-keep-your-money-a-while-longer dept.

Software 104

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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Enterprise Code (2, Insightful)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about a year ago | (#43164653)

Business quality meets government efficiency.

Re:Enterprise Code (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about a year ago | (#43165583)

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 couldn't figure out who their clients where, they weren't likely to do much better. Looks like they have the same poor computer support to blame.

Re:Enterprise Code (2)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about a year ago | (#43165805)

Sounds more like someone was posing as an employee to get your financial info.

Re:Enterprise Code (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#43167421)

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 return and in the meantime you've almost certainly avoided penalties and interest.

In short, it's your total tax that's really due on April 15. They don't care if the tax return itself comes in later. Hell, TurboTax's e-file screwed up my filing in 2010 and 2011, and it was June of 2012 before the IRS noticed that I hadn't filed a tax return for those years. No problem either time, because while I did owe a little money I had paid it on time each year - so the agency just asked me to fax them copies of the return within a few days. Easy as could be.

Re:Enterprise Code (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#43167589)

Business quality meets government efficiency.

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

Re:Enterprise Code (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about a year ago | (#43167875)

So corrupt oligarchy disguised as democracy is Working As Intended?

Education credits . . . (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43164663)

. . . are for liberals, Negros, vegetarians, and anti-war activists. Why should we, their obvious superiors, pay for left-wing university indoctrination?

--Roman_Mir

Re:Education credits . . . (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43164697)

"ah dunt need nonea that fancy book learnin!"

Re:Education credits . . . (2)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about a year ago | (#43164743)

And so I told that ther teachin' lady, the only letters I need tuh know is 'U', 'S'. and 'A'.

Re:Education credits . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43164777)

You forgot to make extensive references to a devoted love to freedom.

Re:Education credits . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43167583)

Did you get banned?

If not, then you need to go suck a bag of dicks. Only Ethanol-fueled is allowed to sign his AC posts.

Damn you Walmart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43164681)

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.

First they take business away from mom and pop stores, now they're taking business from mom and pop banks. When does it end!

Re:Damn you Walmart! (5, Interesting)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#43164843)

The people that cash checks at Walmart, typically, have no bank. The businesses that Walmart is hurting with this service are the sleazeball check cashing folks. I'm not quite sure which way to feel about that.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43165611)

+1 informative. You're spot on.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43166035)

I guess the sarcasm didn't come through since there really are no "mom and pop" banks as you said.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (2, Informative)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#43166277)

I feel like $3-$6 is quite reasonable. That's about how much an ATM charges to withdraw money. I don't think walmart is actually as evil as people think. There are companies whose success I feel is much more detrimental to the community as a whole, particularly those which have no bid contracts with the government.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (2, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#43167497)

Wal-Mart is only considered evil by a few hardcore leftists and a bunch of people who wouldn't be caught dead in there even if it paid high wages to its employees. Actual poor people love Wal-Mart, because it's so much less expensive and so much nicer in terms of quality and selection than the stores that preceded it.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#43171073)

Wal-Mart is only considered evil by a few hardcore leftists and a bunch of people who wouldn't be caught dead in there even if it paid high wages to its employees. Actual poor people love Wal-Mart, because it's so much less expensive and so much nicer in terms of quality and selection than the stores that preceded it.

From experience, Wal-Mart is no cheaper than regular stores. Well, unless you are at the point in your life where 13 cents off a $50 item is a big deal.

If Wal-Mart's regular prices are cheaper than everyone else - there's a difference somewhere - it could be quality (Wal-Mart is known to ask suppliers to cut corners to meet the price it wants to sell at - so two seemingly identical products can be made extremely differently. These could be cutting back on features (e.g., wireless vs. wired), general build quality, accessories, etc).

The only time Wal-Mart truly is cheaper is during sales, and only then on the high-margin items.

Though, Wal-Mart does have some things going for it - they are a big-box department store without the traditional department store pricing and thus tend to be more accessible - Wal-Mart eschews the higher end and pricier stuff.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#43173015)

Of course most of their stuff is low quality, but it's better quality than what poor people had thirty years ago. I grocery shop there because my experience has been that it's considerably cheaper than Kroger for staples (though I don't buy steaks or cheese there), and that WM quality is usually good enough, because most of the time I'm not planning on abusing something. When I do plan to use something heavily, I shop elsewhere.

Sometimes quantity has its own quality, too - I wear $25 Under Armour T-shirts because they're really comfortable, but there have been times in my life that I would much rather have had five $5 shirts from WM.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#43177997)

That's a pretty broad generalization. For one thing, many hardcore leftists are actually poor. Many of my friends fall into this category. Also many of the people complaining about Walmart's business practices are it's employees and contractors who tend not to be high up on the socio-economic scale.

I personally don't find many of these complaints very interesting because nobody is forced to work at walmart or be one of their contractors. If the best job you can find is working for/at walmart, you should be grateful they are there, because you'd have even worse options without them.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43169621)

ATMs charge nothing to withdraw money here in Sweden, so that's what I feel would be an appropriate cost to cash a check. Although there is a slight difference in the way cash works in these countries (in Sweden you cannot use cash for anything; you cannot even use cash to deposit money at a bank).

Re:Damn you Walmart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43171001)

An ATM charges money to withdraw money?
What the hell??
Where do you live?, I need to avoid that place.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (1)

djh2400 (1362925) | about a year ago | (#43174001)

Consider it this way:

Say you get a $250 check each week, which you take to Walmart to have cashed. If they take out $6, then they are removing 2.4% of your paycheck. If you get a paycheck each week, then you will get 52 paychecks in a year.

With a simple compounding-interest formula, they are making [ ( 1 + 0.024 ) ^ 52 = 3.43 ] or 343% interest on your paychecks.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (1)

djh2400 (1362925) | about a year ago | (#43174051)

You know, I'm not sure this way of looking at it actually makes sense. I might need to think about this a little more. Still, why not open a bank account and forego the fees?

Re:Damn you Walmart! (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#43174479)

It's $3 for checks under $1000 and $6 for checks over $1000.

The reason I say it's a good deal, is not that I think it's fine to pay $3 per paycheck. That's stupid when you can just open a bank account. The reason banks offer free checking, is because they get to invest the money remaining in your account and keep the profit, and maybe pay you a small interest rate. They make their money (just not directly from you). Walmart is essentially running a bank where every time money is deposited via check, it is completely withdrawn as cash. They don't get to invest your money, they just charge a fee. If every Wells Fargo customer did this, they'd have to charge you $3 too.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#43166579)

Check Cashing outfits do more to keep the lower class down than any 1%-er ever did. They need to be closed down. Next, we can go for the pawn shops, which exist solely to act as a fence for stolen property and thus to continue the cycle of poverty.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43166999)

thats foolishness. Pawn shops are quite different than you paint them to be, and arent near the same ballpark as check cashing places. Amost nothing in a pawn shop is stolen, and any items that match the police lists have to be turned over at a loss for the shop. You don't seem to know what youre talking about.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year ago | (#43170003)

That may be true in some places. Where I live, if you find your stolen good at the pawn shop, you still have to pay for it to get it back. It's a real pain in the ass.

Re:Damn you Walmart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43174143)

Then you go to the cops and report them. That is illegal, and nothing gets a pawn shop to roll over on stolen goods then having the cops come and turn them inside out.

a software glitch, ha? (5, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43164691)

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

Re:a software glitch, ha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43164805)

You're looking for int64_t, defined in cstdint. It's part of the standard now! Don't use an unsigned type when you want a signed one!

Easily Handled (4, Funny)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year ago | (#43164849)

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

Re:Easily Handled (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43164899)

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 then Treasury has the new inflated cash to send out the checks, that's where the delay comes from

Re:Easily Handled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165085)

I hate when the parentheses don't have their own line.
Having them on their own lines makes it easy to see which opening parentheses line up with which closing ones.

Re:Easily Handled (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165117)

I don't
{
  know how it is so much
  {
    eaiser
    {
        to read
        {
            this
          }
    }
  }
}

than {
  to read {
      this
      text {
        which
      }
      is the way
    }
    I prefer
}

Re:Easily Handled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165687)

Preach it, brother!
 
capcha: beauty

Re:Easily Handled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165837)

Either way is readable, but I prefer more vertical space to separate blocks of code. Thus, I use the standard of putting parenthesis on their own line, but with the caveat that I may stack multiple parenthesis on the same line.

void foo()
{
    if(bar != 0)
    {
        bar++;
        return bar;
}}

Re:Easily Handled (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165893)

that I may stack multiple parenthesis on the same line.

- BURN IN FIRE!

Re:Easily Handled (2)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#43166397)

I like to stack all my parentheses at the beginning of the file and all the semi colons at the end of the file ke this:

(){(){}}

void foo

if bar != 0

bar++

return bar

;;

The code doesn't compile or even convey any semantic correctness, but it is more aesthetically pleasing.

Re:Easily Handled (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#43167289)

I just use butterflies.

Re:Easily Handled (1)

drcheap (1897540) | about a year ago | (#43168329)

I just use butterflies.

And I use braces .. or "curly brackets" for the vocabularily challenged.

Re:Easily Handled (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#43166613)

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.

Re:Easily Handled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43167301)

Your pizza analogy is redistribution not inflation. Printing money does not always mean inflation either. Printing too much does. If the value of economy grows by 3% then a 3% increase in the money supply will make that money stable. A fixed currency would deflate as production increased. And inflate when production decreased.

Now matching the money supply to the value of the economy is tricky thing. If a house is built and it's worth $200,000 then a bank will essentially print $200,000 for the loan. And why not, new value has been created. The problem is speculating what value that house truly has. If a bank creates a $400,000 loan for something only worth $200,000 the money inflates. Banks print far far more money that any government does.

The government could do this too when it prints money. If the government prints money to make roads that increase production more than the cost of those roads then the money won't inflate. Of course it's also true that the government could print money and put it into something that yields less value than what was printed.

Your pizza analogy conflates inflation with welfare or redistribution. Any look at the distribution of wealth in this country would indicate that the money is not being distributed to the poor.

Re:Easily Handled (1)

drcheap (1897540) | about a year ago | (#43168385)

Your pizza analogy is redistribution not inflation.

I think it kinda works...

A "slice" is just some arbitrary unit of measure just like a "dollar" is. There is some initial % of the whole for which it represents, and that is it's value. Basically he's saying that because the quantity of slices has increased, but the overall finite resource they came from hasn't changed a bit. The value of a slice is decreased because there are more of them, causing each one to be a smaller % of the whole pie.

It's a little different conceptually in that it re-defines the base unit of measure (changing slice size) which inherently redefines the total quantity vs. redefining the total quantity (printing more bills) which in turn redefines the "slice size" that a base unit represents. It's mathematically equivalent though.

Re:Easily Handled (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43168555)

Your analogy uses pizza, which is a product, not a currency, that's why it's not very clear, but you are correct, it does kind of work, people's real incomes are getting smaller and their real savings are getting smaller, so it's like slices of pizza are getting smaller.

Here is a clarification: everybody has to pay some money to get a slice of pizza. Government says: we must grow the economy and so we will issue more money.

Notice that the government cannot issue more pizza. The economy is the pizza, not the money. So the government issues more currency and gives it to somebody first, who now has more money just because government created it out of thin air. This first person can now buy more pizza with his money, so there is less pizza left for the rest of the people and they start fighting on who is going to eat, the pizza maker sees this and raises the price per slice.

The guy with more money can still get more pizza with his new currency, everybody else has to pay more to get their slice, so now they can get fewer slices.

The government grew the amount of money in the system and called it "the economy", while in reality pizza was the economy and what government did was redistribute the economy from everybody to some preferred guy.

Re:Easily Handled (1)

fascismforthepeople (2805977) | about a year ago | (#43169133)

people's real incomes are getting smaller

Don't try to pretend that all of a sudden you are against that. You have repeatedly argued for lower wages for workers. You have repeatedly argued for stripping workers of all their rights. You have repeatedly argued for removing all dignity from workers. You have repeatedly argued for giving even more power to employers.

You have repeatedly made arguments for a fascist society. You are a voice for a religious movement that aims to produce nothing less than fascism for the people.

Re:Easily Handled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43176075)

Except the pizza can grow. If the government prints money to pay for another oven that makes pizza more efficiently there's no problem. If the government prints money and gets nothing of value in return, then there is inflation. If the government prints money and then increases everyone's money the inflation occurs but it makes no difference. If production increases and the government does not print money, then the money deflates.

Some think gold is a better currency but it doesn't really fix anything. Throughout history gold has both deflated (great depression) and inflated (price revolution). Bubbles still happen. In fact, banking works exactly the same whether money is based on gold or fiat currency. Banks started creating money out of thin air when money was still based on gold.

As it is, the government really doesn't print much money. For whatever reason, the government lets the Fed print the money and then borrows it with interest.

Re:Easily Handled (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43176313)

BTW., I thought about your pizza example and using just one item (not pizza AND currency at the same time, but only pizza) to explain inflation.

Here is how it can be explained:

If people used pizzas for barter, then inflation would be government clipping pizza ;)

What I means is that government would be thinning the crust, putting fewer toppings on, it would use the extra dough and toppings to issue more pizzas, but the pizzas would have less and less nutritional value. Then in the free market people would notice this and require more pizzas than before to barter for other items.

So while a pizza itself, as a unit of currency in the minds of the (not very intelligent) people is still the same pizza, in the market the value of any single pizza would be going down, that's because while before inflation one pizza could feed maybe 4 people, once government started with the entire 'clipping' program, eventually only 2 people could be fed by a single pizza. Then 1 person. Then in order to get the same nutritional value as before, 1 person would have to eat 4 pizzas.

Obviously the inflation is the expansion of supply of pizza that is happening by removing value from any single pizza (nutritional value) which in case of a paper currency just means purchasing power.

Re:a software glitch, ha? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43164971)

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.

Re:a software glitch, ha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165177)

Nah, it's all radar guided now; you need to program your DMTI mode to track targets with a smaller cross-section without getting an increase in false alarms from thermal noise; it's tricky.

Re:a software glitch, ha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43178137)

Yes, we know that you will waste your time for free here tomorrow. Happy loosing money.

Not surprising according to what they told me (4, Interesting)

metalheadsunite (1207724) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Not surprising according to what they told me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165533)

It is correct that the IRS wasn't accepting education credit submissions until late February. Where H&R Block messed up was in programming their system with the necessary updates/changes. On the specific education form in question (Form 8863) in previous years a blank answer would default to "No" and be sufficient, but htis year you had to manually select "No", and H&R Block failed to update this.

Re:Not surprising according to what they told me (2)

dustbunny26 (733127) | about a year ago | (#43169765)

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.

People still cash checks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43164725)

What sort of moron pays a fee to cash a check?

Re:People still cash checks? (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about a year ago | (#43164823)

Trashy people that get their paychecks paid out at liquor stores.

Re:People still cash checks? (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | about a year ago | (#43164903)

People who owe banks money and thusly can't keep a checking account.

Or impatient people who want to spend their refund before receiving it.

Re:People still cash checks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43164923)

Those who don't understand how to use a bank. There could be trust issues, but that's typically not it, it's just plain ignorance. Then again, 3% of an $800 check is not quite the same as 3% of a 2k check, so I guess there is a tipping point, but I'd care more to keep the 3% with the lower check, ironically I get the 2k+ one.

Re:People still cash checks? (2)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43165629)

That's somewhat bigoted. If you have an excessive amount of bounced payments or overdraft fees, a bank may decide to close your account and not let you reopen it. Apparently banks share this information with other banks, so that once you're blacklisted, you can't have a checking account for a few years.

Re:People still cash checks? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#43164973)

Well, for one, morons who are attempting not to run checks through a personal/business account for purposes involving tax dodgery. In addition, most major banks charge a fee to non-customers anyway...Chase and Wells Fargo charge 5 or 6 bucks per check.

Re:People still cash checks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43166897)

Banks always seem to waive the fee when I put up a big verbal stink in front of their other customers about how they arent honoring the face value of their financial instruments.

Re:People still cash checks? (2)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43165023)

Anyone with garnishments levied against them?

Re:People still cash checks? (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | about a year ago | (#43165559)

One of my school buddies had an excessively casual relationship with debts vis a vis debt repayments and ended up with his wages garnisheed. I am almost certain that the money was taken off before his employer wrote his paycheck.

Re:People still cash checks? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43165661)

That's exactly how it works. An alternative may be a chapter 13 bankruptcy, where you're forced into a 3-5 year payment plan. Your creditors are paid first, and you get paid what's left.

Re:People still cash checks? (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year ago | (#43166717)

Yep...Had a coworker quit his associate degree course at DeVry to take the job with us. Six months later he starts getting debt repayment notices for the school. By his reasoning he didn't owe any money since he didn't finish taking the classes (Yes he really believed this) so another six months go by and one day he just starts cussing and screaming obscenities. His check was less than $20! It was a very good day...he was a dick.


Many who cash their checks this way are illegals who do not have a checking account for fear of it leading the INS to their door. But I doubt this would effect them as they probably don't file taxes either.

Re:People still cash checks? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#43166631)

What sort of moron thinks that cashing check always requires paying a fee to cash a check?

Re:People still cash checks? (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#43167303)

Anyone who uses a bank.

I read that as... (3, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | about a year ago | (#43164817)

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....

Re:I read that as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43164979)

No, it's more likely that people who cash their checks at Wal-Mart received refundable credits like the Child Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, not that they had too much paycheck withholding.

Re:I read that as... (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43165673)

But you can adjust your withholdings by setting an artificially high number of dependents so that you get those credits back throughout the year!

Re:I read that as... (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#43166657)

But you can adjust your withholdings by setting an artificially high number of dependents so that you get those credits back throughout the year!

You can only withhold up to the point where they take nothing out. In many cases of Child or Earned Income Credit, there is nothing being withheld, and they will still receive a "refund" at the end of the year. But the employer is not about to start paying you advances on EIC.

Re:I read that as... (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43168283)

Ahh, yes, for those who have negative federal tax you'd be right of course.

Read this as tongue in cheek: (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#43164997)

Ah, so you're making fun of the Americans' "voluntary" income tax payments?

Re:Read this as tongue in cheek: (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#43165243)

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.

Re:Read this as tongue in cheek: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43166191)

I was lucky this year that I missed the 25% bracket by $10. I had planned to pay 25%, but ended up in the 15% bracket, and had an effective of something like 14%. I overpaid by a lot, but had I made $10 more during the year, I would have been spot on. Had I paid in for 15% and had to pay 25%, I would have owed penalties for both federal, state and city.

Most are not in my situation, however. They see their tax refund as an unscheduled payday and blow it on stupid crap like Walmart Jewelry.

Re:Read this as tongue in cheek: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43166523)

You are completely fucking retarded and do not understand the progressive tax system or the concept of marginal tax rates AT ALL.

Re:Read this as tongue in cheek: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43166877)

+5 informative. That ass-clown is a fucking moron. And since the threshold for the 25% MARGINAL rate is 70,000, he overpaid $7,000 in taxes. Seriously, who's the bigger idiot - the guy who overpays his taxes to get an unscheduled payday or the guy who overpays $7,000 because he's an idiot?

Also note - there is no tax penalty for underpayment if you underpaid by = the previous year's tax, or you paid no taxes in the previous year.

Re:Read this as tongue in cheek: (2)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#43166681)

To elaborate on what the rude anonymous coward said, you would have had to pay 25% on the dollars that put you over the bracket, but 15% on all the ones under that bracket. In your case, it sounds like you would have paid 25% on 1 or possibly zero dollars.

Re:Read this as tongue in cheek: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43171041)

Indeed this is a common misconception with the tax brackets. It isn't
for lowBound, highBound in taxBrackets:
      if lowBound income = highBound:
            tax = income * taxBrackets[lowBound, highBound]
            break

it is
tax = 0
for lowBound, highBound in taxBrackets:
      tax += min(highBound, income, 0) * taxBrackets[lowBound, highBound]
      Income -= (highBound - lowBound)
      if Income = 0:
          break

Assumine taxBrackets of the format: {
(0, 1000) : 0,
(1000, 5000): 1, # etc.
}

Re:Read this as tongue in cheek: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43166225)

>Anyone getting a check gave a 0% loan.
Not true Refundable portion of the Child Credit, EITC and other refundable tax credits can create a negative tax liability. AKA they pay you.

Re:Read this as tongue in cheek: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165285)

Ah, so you're making fun of the Americans' "voluntary" income tax payments?

No, he's making fun of people who don't understand the difference between paying taxes and withholding funds before they are due. So they pay too much in withholding, then think the government is paying them taxes. How do you think people get refunds?

Re:I read that as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165139)

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....

No, youre just an unfunny retard that has nothing better to do than post pointless junk for no reason and run off. Much like a dog wanders into the neighbors yard to pinch one off on their lawn and then go back home.

Re:I read that as... (2)

Pathwalker (103) | about a year ago | (#43165365)

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.

Re:I read that as... (2)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#43166723)

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 including the penalties, the interest he had to pay was less than the interest the IRS paid me. And my refund was more than enough to compensate him for what he had to pay extra.

Re:I read that as... (1)

makubesu (1910402) | about a year ago | (#43176563)

Considering the current rate I'm getting on my savings account, I'd just be giving a free loan to the banks instead!

H&R block is for suckers anyway. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165039)

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 years and never had a problem.

Hell in my community I also found out a lot of people volunteer to do peoples taxes for free. My neighbor was a VP for us bank in the equipment leasing department till he retired and his wife worked for the irs and now they volunteer at the library 3 days a week to do peoples taxes for them for free, all you have to do is show up. And others qualified in the money field also volunteer their time as well. Hell, half my county gets theirs done free at the library this way.

Look at alternatives to expensive companies like this. Hell local tax attorneys charge small fees to do personal taxes.

Re:H&R block is for suckers anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165445)

They charge ungodly amounts of money for starters.

Then go find someone cheaper. If you can. As a relative of someone who does taxes for H&R I hear about a lot of people who don't like the price. They go away. Later many of them come back because they found out what it'll cost them somewhere else.

Re:H&R block is for suckers anyway. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#43165619)

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.

Re:H&R block is for suckers anyway. (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#43165927)

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.

Re:H&R block is for suckers anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43166803)

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.

Beleive it or not in the US the IRS is prohibited from creating a program like that lest it compete with all the private industry. Apparently someone is not familiar with the broken window fallacy.

Re:H&R block is for suckers anyway. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43165753)

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.

Re:H&R block is for suckers anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43165759)

Seriously? H&R Block does Federal for free. Charge like $19 for state of CA taxes...WTF are you on about?!?!

I have a feeling you're paying for those "extra services" that you really DON'T need...

Re:H&R block is for suckers anyway. (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43169389)

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" tax preparers are nothing more than a bunch of part-time yahoos who can file a form with the IRS to become "certified" tax preparers. I prefer to hire someone who does taxes and accounting for a living, every day, all year. Besides, it's cheaper.

Misleading (2)

letherial (1302031) | about a year ago | (#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 wh (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43165767)

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

Re:So they hire IT guys as well with no experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43168145)

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 would go missing and never reported. Hundreds of bags of paper tax returns brought from branch office to district office for shredding. These bags would often accumulate around the office for weeks before shredded, sometimes they were thrown in the dumpster because they couldn't wait for the shredders to show up.

If they've kept up the same practices as they did 6-7 years ago than any one of these single offices is an ID thieves dream.

SIGSEGV (0)

stox (131684) | about a year ago | (#43165841)

Dump Congress?

Ah! That explains! (0)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#43165913)

--
  no sig

whoopsies! (1)

Jedunnigan (956307) | about a year ago | (#43168197)

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?
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