Saturday, March 15, 2008

Forget Turbo Tax This Year, They Really Messed Up!

If you are like me, you may be ready to do your 2007 tax returns, but better consider the software you select this year. Turbo Tax a long favorite has dropped the ball both last year and this year. You can go to their web site and read all the complaints in their Inner Circle or from their customer postings. Here is one I just posted this evening. Will see if I can get a refund from Intuit on this horrible program.

I have used Turbo Tax for so many years, I can't even remember when I started using it. It just seems to get worse each year not better. There used to be a wealth of information you could call on easily to explain difficult situations, now the few videos are almost worthless.

The interview process is so lame and confusing that it took me more time to go through this process then to simply look at the forms and enter the values there. Pages and pages to go through for each question instead of one page where you can simply answer all the values for that question and then submit them.

The handling of stock transactions is so poor that for the first time in 20 years I received a notification from the IRS that I was missing my Schedule B, which never printed (because I was under the $1500 requirement) but IRS still asked for it. Then all the imported stock transactions from Ameritrade came in without the date of purchase or price and I had to complete at least 100 or more manually, only to find out that they never printed properly on the final return and I received a 13 page notice from IRS to supply the basis on my transactions as they didn't receive them.

This year, I noticed that Schedule B didn't print again so I manually printed it and added it to the return. Better to be safe then sorry.

Finally, because many of us now "Trade Stocks" because of Jim Cramer and the way the market fluctuates each day that I ended up with about 500 trades for the year in 3 accounts. I decided Turbo Tax was useless and Ameritrade uses Gainskeeper which is free on my account. It will print out a report of the years transactions with the buys and sells, wash sales, etc. and give you the totals you need.

Then I had to go to Forms to check a couple of boxes that said I would attach my list and I was able to enter the values there. No where in the Interview process did it allow me this option. You have two options, the spread sheet or one by one. With so many transactions it would have been a nightmare, now it took me a couple of minutes to print it from Ameritrade, add the numbers from the 3 accounts, enter it on the form and attach these schedules to my return.

It would appear that each year Turbo Tax takes things that aren't broken and break them instead of adding better functions and ease of use.

This year it didn't import all the data from last years return properly. When I got up to doing Schedule A, it said
it would appear I didn't use Schedule A last year
, which was not true so I had to enter the values manually.

For $80, this years Home and Business was definitely not worth the money. I am only sorry I didn't purchase it from Costco where I could have simply taken it back and gotten a refund. Oh yea, when I tried to find a decent customer support line to discuss why IRS returned it all to me and what I should do, I spent over an hour on the site trying to figure out where to find the support.

One last thing about eFiling...forget this option. If you don't physically check your return manually you may not catch some simple errors like entering data incorrectly or something not printing properly as was the case on my 2006 return. If you make an error on an Efile return you are screwed, there is no way to correct it short of re filing a 1040X amended return and paying again to file it. Would you really trust sending a complex return on efile without checking it first? Maybe on a simple return you can do this, but frankly for $17 bucks, why would you. Enough is enough...

You guys better wake up or you too will find that the publics loyalty to this brand will soon diminish and you too will be another company that owned its market and are no longer in business like so many others that took their business for granted.


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