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Economics Summaries
U.S. Income Tax

TurboTax Review -
Annual Tax Year
Income Tax Software

by Vaughn Aubuchon

Here is my review of the TurboTax income tax prep software for the Macintosh computer, OS 10.x.
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2004 - TT Premier 2004 (2005 filing)
2005 - TT Premier 2005 (2006 filing)

2006 - TT H. & B. 2006 (2007 filing)
2007 - TT H. & B. 2007 (2008 filing)

2008 - TT H. & B. 2008 (2009 filing)
2009 - TT H. & B. 2009 (2010 filing)

2010 - TT H. & B. 2010 (2011 filing)
2011 - TT H. & B. 2011 (2012 filing)

2012 - GARBAGE! AGAIN!
2013 - GARBAGE! AGAIN!
I switched to a tax expert, and SAVED $30K.
Fuggetaboutit. Done with TurboTax.
2014 - INEXPLICABLE! AGAIN!
Conclusion

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2014 Tax Year Issues -
MORE Unexplained than ever!

I now use a CPA, but I thought that I would try TerrorTax first, just for drill.

First, I get this (no save) ---->
"Document could not be saved." TurboTax
"This file has been changed by another application."


Then, I get this (no autosave) ---->
"Document could not be autosaved." Turbotax
"This file has been changed by another application."

What the He||? THE ONLY other application was a different version of TurboTax! I didn't do it - THEY DID IT!

TerrorTax is STILL clueless. And fraught with all kinds of gotchas.

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AND
We get this ---->
"Sometimes the IRS changes the forms during the tax season." ... TurboTax

SOMETIMES?
As in,
MANY TIMES PER DAY?
I don't think so.

EVERY YEAR, it is the SAME issue.
What happens to all those who file early, without all the MANY updates applied?

In January, I started here -
(2014.r01.32)
On
Feb. 25, they had me on
(2014.r14.005)
50 "updates" later?

Then, on Mar.17, they updated me to (2014.r16.003)
10 "updates" later?
.
Then, on Mar.19, they updated me to (2014.r17.006)
8 "updates" later?
.
Then, on Mar.26, they "updated" me to (2014.r17.006)
0 "updates" later?
HUH? "Build Date = Mar. 24 ... HUH?
HUH? HUH? HUH?

Inexplicable
BS.
.

DOES THE IRS SIMPLY IGNORE the updates, for those that have already filed early?
BIG, BIG QUESTION Here.
.

Given late IRS changes, and software generation response time, what TT is trying to do is IMPOSSIBLE. Someone is loosening up the gears, somewhere, and not telling us. Or, we would hear a heck of a lot more about it.

For a real TurboTax education,
Try a few searches here ---->

intuit lobbyist payments

tim geithner turbotax

turbotax bait and switch

turbotax complaints

turbotax errors

turbotax glitches

turbotax incompetence

turbotax install problems

turbotax is awful

turbotax issues

turbotax lobbyist payments

turbotax on mac problems

turbotax spyware

turbotax sucks



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2013 Tax Year Issues -
MORE WRETCHED than ever!

The first thing I wanted to do, was to print out a copy of my 2012 return. However, ALL my state data had disappeared. The .tax2012 file was GONE!

In addition, Torture Tax would not allow me to open my 2012 files.
I had 2 options -
1. Update, which I DON'T want to do - I want the SAME data I sent to the IRS!
AND, you end up in TurboTax 2013 - no, no, no, no, no.
2. Cancel.
That's it. You are screwed.

What a thundering bunch of thoughtless idiots. YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST SAVE a PDF copy of your return, IMMEDIATELY UPON CREATION, or you are SOL. Your only option is to order a copy of your return from the IRS, for $50, and wait weeks to receive it. Which, of course, will arrive AFTER the filing deadline. Of course.

That's it. I am going with a professional CPA this year.
I am done with TORTURE TAX, forever!
Why hasn't TurboTax been investigated for incompetence. Lobbyists, undoubtedly, are keeping this POS alive.. PURE BS. NO customer should have to endure such cr@p.

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2012 Tax Year Issues

Ever-changing Software, Varying Taxation Results
WHO THE HECK IS MONITORING TURBOTAX? Aside from the much discussed failings of TurboTax such as bait-and-switch, failed initialization, poor customer service, eternal updates, software glitches, etc., there are HUGE issues with their core functionality. For 2012, they missed the mark on my return by
$4,0xx ($2,7xx + $1,2xx).

When I filed, I meticulously input my data into TurboTax Home and Business. I even waited to file until April 15, to ensure that I had the latest updates.
I was EXTREMELY conservative in my deductions. My refund was to be $2,794.

Instead, the IRS informed me (mailed June 3, received on June 17) that I OWED $1,299.99. BULLSPIT! With 7 days to respond. It took me that long to find the stuff.

Print Out A Copy
So, I went to print out a copy of my return, to see where they had messed up. I had to search in Help to find the link. There should be a LARGE LINK on the page to "Print out a copy". This is the MOST common action people will want to do, after they file. Yet, they make it difficult to find. Their lack of elegance reminds me of PCs, and Bill Gates. "Why be intuitive and logical, when you can make it difficult?"

Note also, that when you print out "a copy" of your return, it is NOT the same as when you printed out your copy for mailing. It consists of DIFFERENT pages, printed out in a DIFFERENT order. "Let's spin 'em like a top", says TurboTax. You must resort to hand-numbering each page as it is printed, as I do, or you will go nuts.

Disable the Infernal Updating
When I opened TurboTax, it said "You are not connected to the Internet". You got that right, Jackson. I pulled my Ethernet plug. I don't want them to be able to "change everything around", print out some other "new" data, forever obscuring and eliminating the data they created earlier, that I originally filed. Making it appear that I AM THE CULPRIT, retroactively. They did this to me in 2010. Read below.

What choice did I have? I paid the $1,299.99 on June 24, 2013.

IRS Uselessness - I called the IRS Help number, 1-800-829-8374. The paraphrased recorded message - "We are buried in problems, and cannot possibly respond to you. Please try again in SEVERAL DAYS." Then, they rudely hung up on me. Oh, sure. I am going to continue to bang my head against the wall - NOT.

UPDATE - I found one TurboTax error. Undoubtedly, there are others.
On Line 63 of Form 1040, Estimated Payments, TurboTax entered $32,xxx, a number from outer space. The ACTUAL amount that I entered was $29,xxx. a difference of $2,7xx. The IRS detected this error quickly and easily.

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THE FACTS

TurboTax is a privileged, protected, incompetent, unaccountable, unresponsive bag of cr@p.
How is TurboTax allowed to exist, by producing such garbage?
Why doesn't the IRS SHUT THEM DOWN? LOBBYISTS! That's why. Intuit pays big bucks to congressmen every year, to prevent any action being taken against them. They are in bed with the government, like all large corporations. They oppose ALL attempts to
simplify the process. They love the complexity, which helps them to mask their incompetence. Every year, I pay $100 for the privilige of being screwed over.

TurboTax Is Getting Worse and Worse
Here is some proof that they are getting worse and worse -
My Excel file of
TurboTax order of page printout for 2009-2012 returns.
Notice the somewhat logical order of 2009 Tax return pages printout.
Compare that with the illogical, scattered order of printout for 2012.
TurboTax screws things up on purpose.
TurboTax CRAVES confusion and obfuscation. They thrive on it. We do not.
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2010 Tax Year Issues

Ever-changing Software,
Varying Taxation Results


Here is my letter to the California State Franchise Tax Board, advising them of the unending TurboTax changes, which EARLY filers are NOT subject to -


From:    xxxxxx xxxxxxxx   
            PO Box xxx            
            xxx, CA  9xxxx
SS# xxx-xx-xxxx
Tax Year 2010

To:       Franchise Tax Board   
            PO Box 942840         
            Sacramento, CA  94240-0009 
   CC:    Department of the Treasury
            IRS Service Center
            Fresno, CA  93888-0002

Dear Franchise Tax Board and IRS,

TURBOTAX IS GARBAGE - Here's why.

Since I have an ongoing issue with Wells Fargo regarding my Inherited IRA account, I delayed filing my 2010 tax return - this was a big mistake. A complete report on THAT issue may be found, by searching Google for "inherited IRA nightmare".  My page is the #1 result -
https://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/economics/wells-fargo-inherited-ira.htm

During this delay, TurboTax has lost its mind.
On 4-14-11 - I filed an extension, CAREFULLY using the TurboTax data EXACTLY.
This was right after receiving HUNDREDS of updates from TurboTax.
Unfortunately, I did not save the old files as proof, but the state should have my form.
I can't recreate it, because they CHANGED EVERYTHING - how convenient.
They told me I owed $2,420 to the IRS, and $2,042 to the Franchise Tax Board.
I complied immediately.  I SHOULD HAVE PRINTED OUT MY RETURN AT THAT POINT.

On July 4, 2011 - I wanted to check my status.
Turbo Tax told me to download all their changes FIRST.
They changed 293 files - I saved all the old ones from my trash.

On Oct. 14, 2011 - I wanted to print out my tax return for mailing.
Turbo Tax told me to download all their changes FIRST.
They changed 123 files - I saved all the old ones from my trash.
They told me I owed $2,420 to the IRS, and
$2,727 to the Franchise Tax Board.
Must I send the state an additional $685, due to TurboTax bungling?

QUESTION #1 - What happens to all those folks who had already filed their return on time, and were NOT SUBJECT to the hundreds and hundreds of subsequent updates?

QUESTION #2 - Are all of them going to get a NEW TAX BILL?  Or just me?

QUESTION #3 - How can TurboTax continue to exist, with errors of this magnitude?

QUESTION #4 - I never had to file est. tax payments with the state before - why now?

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO INVESTIGATE TURBOTAX.
Here are my online notes on TurboTax -
http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/economics/turbotax-review.htm

Thank you very much for your time.

Best Regards,

 

xxxxxx xxxxxxxx, Google turbotax lawsuit, for futher insight.
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2008 Tax Year Issues

Data Transfer Failure
EVERY year, TurboTax screws up something. DISASTER STRIKES AGAIN!
Last year, I praised TurboTax for automatically transferring the previous year's data.
So this year, I did my tax using TT. But, where was last year's data?
So I Googled it, and found this -
https://turbotax.intuit.com/support/kb/import-and-transfer/import/594.html

Guess what it says?
"If you decide to transfer after you begin your return, follow these steps:

Important: It's best to start with a new return because when you transfer, TurboTax removes any existing information you've already entered."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It is not "best" to start with a new return - it is 100% MANDATORY!
It WAS automatic, and now it is NOT automatic?
WHY didn't you tell me this BEFORE I STARTED my return???

START OVER -
DO EVERYTHING AGAIN.
TURBOTAX IS CR@P. PERIOD.

Whoever would make software not work like this IS AN IDIOT!!!
And if they can't get the simplest things right, one can only imagine how badly they are mangling the numbers. Just te
ll the user that HE made the error, AFTER THE FACT! IDIOTS!

This will be the second year in a row that I have had to go through the entire process TWICE! TURBOTAX S*CKS!

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2007 Tax Year Issues

Now, in March 2008, TurboTax has turned into a fiasco for Mac users.
THE DISC THAT YOU BUY IS USELESS FOR THE MACINTOSH, BECAUSE -
YOU CANNOT DOWNLOAD THE STATE TAX SOFTWARE, BECAUSE -
THE DISC IS UNABLE TO CONNECT TO THE INTERNET, AND -
YOU CANNOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO - ALL DATA INPUT MUST BE REDONE.
YOU MUST GO TO THE TURBOTAX WEBSITE, AND DOWNLOAD THE FIX -
INDEPENDENTLY, BY NOT USING THE DISC.
NOTHING on the disc or the box gives you ANY CLUE TO ANY OF THIS.

Here is the first thing I got, while I was ONLINE -
TurboTax cannot connect
If I had any brains, I would have stopped right there. But I had faith, thinking that I would update the software later. After FIVE HOURS of slaving away, I found out that not only wasn't the software doing ANY saving of my input, there was NO WAY to get it to save my input. It was trapped in RAM, and it couldn't get out.

.
.
.

I was asked to save my input -
TurboTax "Save As"

.
.

Then I clicked "Save", and got -
TurboTax cannot "Save As"
I performed this task an embarrassing number of times (beta tester mentality, or just plain Taurus bullheaded stupidity)
.
.
.
.
So I manually went to the TurboTax website, searched, and I found the page for the -
2007 TurboTax Macintosh Fix which WAS
http://turbotax.intuit.com/support/kb/update/update/1651.html
TurboTax - Troubleshoot Updating

So, what is the fix? The first thing the "Update" tells you is:
"Do not run TurboTax from the product CD." That's helpful, after I have wasted 5 hours.
In other words, DON'T EVEN TRY TO USE IT!

Except that you just got the message a little too late.
1. Not only does the disc not work (can't save anything), but
2. It is UNABLE to connect to the Internet for the update. UNBELIEVABLE.
I AM ONLINE, but the software is TOO STUPID to realize it.
These folks have obviously not done any testing on the Macintosh computer.

"Always empty your trash before you update."
I have long experience on the Mac. I have NEVER encountered any situation where the contents of the Trash can affect ANYTHING whatsoever outside of the Trash. Intuit might improve their programming techniques which are affected by Trash contents, or perhaps their communication skills. What are they talking about?
The more I tried to make it work, the more piffed I got.


Retail Price: 2007 TurboTax Home and Business - $89.95 - State included
Costco Price: 2007 TurboTax Home And Business - $72.99 - State included
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CONCLUSIONS - 2007 Tax Year Software

When you spend $90 for tax preparation software, you expect it to make things easier. This is not the case with Intuit TurboTax. It makes everything more difficult. You must spend hours of extra time, just trying to figure out all of the interface glitches, calculation glitches, and saving glitches. IF A VENDOR CANNOT PRODUCE A DISK CAPABLE OF SAVING THE USER'S INPUT, AND IS ALSO INCAPABLE OF CONNECTING TO THE INTERNET, HOW CAN A USER POSSIBLY EXPECT THE COMPLEX CALCULATIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED CORRECTLY? Do not think that you can depend upon everything about TurboTax.

The 2007 TurboTax box needs to have a BIG, BOLD warning which says, "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE THIS DISC - YOU MUST VISIT THE TURBOTAX WEBSITE FOR WORKING SOFTWARE."

Comparing all of your 2007 entries with those of 2006 is an excellent TurboTax feature. Except that it reveals that many of your entries for 2007, show a corresponding 2006 entry of ZERO, which was not the case. This indicates that each of these deductions was MISSED in 2006. However, taking all of these missed deductions into consideration, STILL did not account for all of my overpayment of $1,400 (unexpected IRS refund).
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2006 Tax Year Issues

Computation Errors
The error checking seemed to be good, but how can I know for sure? TurboTax checks my data, but who checks TurboTax?
Nobody.
That's why I got a surprise refund of $1,400 from the IRS, for
OVERPAYMENT of tax. I paid exactly what TurboTax told me to pay. BEWARE! I was extremely diligent when inputting my data!

Can't Print Vouchers
Also, no matter what I did, I could not get it to print out my 2007 estimated tax payment vouchers. It couldn't be done. More hours wasted.


Costco Price: 2007 TurboTax Home And Business - $72.99 - State included
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2005 Tax Year Issues

Forced E-filing
File by mail, or file online for $14.95 PER RETURN. This was not made clear by the TurboTax software, but could only be read about at the TurboTax online support forums. You were given no clue, and no warning. But even worse, after a certain UNSPECIFIED date, the ONLY option they allowed is to file online.
WRONG! This was a questionable-business-practice attempt to collect an extra $15 from the user.

Disconnected
from IRS Forms

My biggest complaint, is the circuitous manner of entering data. Nothing is intuitive. I cannot feel "connected" to the IRS income tax forms. TurboTax is doing my forms in the background, but I can't watch. I can only review the form after having input all the data into TurboTax. I missed deductions by not being able to see the actual forms. I would like to enter (edit) data directly on the form - but I can't do that. I am forced to use the catchall "Where Do I Enter ... " button, which asks you to "Select your item from the list below" - OK if you know exactly what you want - but it contains 223 income tax forms and 3,000 index topics. Arrrggggg.

Rebate Denied
There was a $20 rebate, but you had to submit it within 30 days.
The rebate period was too short (May 15), and I was denied my May 20 rebate application. That piffed me off.


Retail Price: 2005 TurboTax Premier - $69.95 - State included
Costco Price: 2005 TurboTax Premier - $56.79 - State included

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2004 Tax Year Issues

Lost Previous Year's Data
I tried to import my TurboTax 2004 income tax data, but somehow, it had disappeared, along with the application. I used Mac OS9 for 2004, but Mac OS 10.1 or better is required for 2005 income taxes. This may have been the problem. I was forced to redo my 2004 income taxes using OS 10.3, thereby recreating my 2004 income tax return.


It should be way easier to print out some support pages, such as an expense summary, and automotive deductions summary, etc.

Costco Price: 2004 TurboTax Premier - $59.99 plus State - $24.99

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CONCLUSIONS -
Turbo Tax Software


If you buy TurboTax, consider it a very hard video game, because as tax preparation software, it is lacking in basic functionality. Having an extensive list of questions in the interview implies thoroughness, but it does not have anything to do with correct implementation.

The fact is, that Intuit may be Out-of-it. Perhaps it's time for Mac users to switch.
YMMV, but I don't think so. I'll bet that ALL Mac users are victims of TurboTax failings.
Maybe next time, I will take my chances with H&R Block
Tax Cut.
It couldn't be much worse.
.

Isn't there any program out there that you can just fill in all the regular forms, like we have been used to, except onscreen, and have it work automatically?

Or are we stuck with these funky interface forms used by best-effort attempts at implementing the ever-changing U.S. Tax Code of over
72,000 pages?

Remember when we used to do our taxes at the end of January? Not any more. Now, we must wait for the IRS to stop changing the rules (implement Congressional changes), then we must wait for the third-party tax preparation software vendors to incorporate the changes into their products. The result = TOTAL BREAKDOWN.
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An Historical Summary of
TurboTax options for
Schedule C Businesses

2004 TurboTax Premier - Federal
2004 TurboTax Premier - State

$ 59.99
$ 24.99
$ 84.98 - Total

2005 TurboTax Premier -
Federal + State

$ 56.79 - Problems

2006 TurboTax Home and Business -
Federal + State

$ 72.99 - $1,400 error
NOT in my favor!

2007 TurboTax Home and Business -
Federal + State

$ 72.99 - Doesn't work at all on the Macintosh - You must download the fix before attempting to do anything else.

2008 TurboTax Home and Business -
Federal + State

Costs more, does less
$ 79.99

2009 TurboTax Home and Business -
Federal + State

$ 99.99

2010 TurboTax Home and Business -
Federal + State

$ 99.99

2011 TurboTax Home and Business -
Federal + State

$ 99.99

2012 TurboTax Home and Business -
Federal + State

$ 79.99

2013 TurboTax Home and Business -
Federal + State

$ 79.99

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Vaughn's Other
INCOME TAX Related Pages

* Income Tax Inflation

*
State Taxes Summary

*
TurboTax Review

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Disclaimer
The author is not perfect, and errors can occur.
Please check any questioned data for yourself.
The opinions stated are those of the author, alone.

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This Vaughns Turbo Tax Income Tax Preparation
review was last updated on 2018-07-18.