on January 31, 2013
UPDATE: I did finally get a helpful person who replicated the error and then turned the problem over to her manager who has bull dogged the problem to a fix. I just tested e-filing and it now works with more than 4 Form 8283 noncash charitable donations. So this error has been resolved.
I've used Turbo Tax for years, but the changes to 2012 have me looking for a new product. The most significant change is that one cannot e-file if one reports over four(4) noncash charitable donations (Goodwill, etc.). Last year and the prior year, the limit was much higher (over 15 at least). Most people who itemize and many people who use TurboTax also use their product Itsdeductible to track noncash donations AND have more than four in any one year. I discovered this limit AFTER I had entered all my tax data and was through error checking and ready to file. Turbo Tax did not tell me when I imported from itsdeductible nor do they advertise this limit. I spent a good deal of time on the IRS website and then on the phone with them. The IRS confirmed that they have an unbounded number of Form 8283s for e-filing, so this is entirely a TurboTax imposed limit, a significant new change which makes the product undesirable. It forces me to paper file OR reenter all my data into another product. They should flag this limit up front -- no more than 4 noncash charitable donations or one must paper file if one uses Turbo Tax.
By the way, their customer support is worse than the IRS'. After 41 minutes on the phone with "customer support," emphasizing that a fix was needed, I received an e-mail saying my case had been resolved and was closed, giving an IRS link which had absolutely nothing to do with Form 8283. I have gone on chat, waited past 205 customers only to be rolled over to free tax support where there was no response. The question about the limitation on Form 8283 was a Turbo Tax question. So I tried phone again and have been on hold 30+ minutes. There is no way to get intelligent help from Turbo Tax. DO NOT BUY.
on February 15, 2013
After completing all forms and fields, Intuit demanded that I pay an additional $19.99 to proceed with the e-file of my one State return. This is completely misleading, if not downright unethical based on their product description which implies that one state return is included. They are loosely defining the term "included"- apparently it does not include the e-file
The only reason I went with the "Download" version of the software was to save on the product fee. If I had known that this additional fee would be charged at the 11th hour, I would have filed through the online version or used a competitor's better priced product.
I have used TurboTax to file my taxes for the last 3 years, but will never use them again based on this latest experience. There are far too many comparable products out there to give Intuit a second chance at cheating me out of my money.
Amazon should also force them to clarify their description, as this reflects poorly on online retail.
on February 18, 2013
In general, this version of TurboTax worked just as the others have done. I had trouble downloading my old tax files from last year. Internet Explorer kept saying it couldn't open the site (I had done last year's return using the online version, and a copy of the file in the correct format, .tax, was not saved on my computer). After about 15 minutes of fiddling around and trying various help options through TurboTax I finally got it to download so that this year's desktop version could import the old information - which is one of the GREAT features about using TurboTax for multiple years. Just FYI, the TurboTax software also said it could import info from the H&R Block software from the previous year.
Now the other annoyance: Although free preparation of one state return was included with the software purchase, e-filing costs an additional $19.99. I was confused by that, thinking that of course, e-filing would be included in the price of the software, so spent some time waiting in a queue for a chat help person - who confirmed that, yes, it would cost $19.99 to e-file my state return (federal e-filing was free). I decided to just print the paper copy and mail it. I checked to be sure the state return had all the needed documents to file, and it did - so yay, TurboTax!
Other than the initial difficulty I had getting last year's info imported into this year's return, plus my annoyance at finding out that e-filing would cost extra, this software is a real time-saver. I really like that it transfers last year's data into the new file and gives you a two-year comparison along the way so you can error-check yourself, and also see how your situation has changed for the better or for the worse. Since I have moved into a state that does not collect personal income tax, I will not need the state version next year. I plan to continue to use this software unless it becomes cost-prohibitive. It is very easy to use in general; since the new laws and forms are updated each year, I feel confident that my taxes have been prepared correctly. I liked the amazon.com price (about $10 less than the "discount" offered by TurboTax itself for early purchase), so hope to get TurboTax software from amazon next year.
on March 28, 2013
I've had a tax accountant do my taxes for the past couple of years, but I wanted to try filing it myself. I usually pay about $60 for my taxes since mine is really easy ... W-2, student loan, some investment, and that's about it. I wanted to see if there were any cost benefits to filing my own taxes with this software. Here's my experience:
Compared to hiring a tax accountant to do my taxes for me ...
Of course, paying $60 to have someone do my taxes for me was much easier. But, I found that I had to remember to give the guy the forms on my own. He wouldn't ask me questions, and like a fool I kept forgetting my student loan interests. AND, the guy didn't transfer any capital loss to the next year ($3,000 is max per year but is transferable to the next year).
Compared to doing it paper and pen ...
No comparison. Doing taxes the old paper and pen method was confusing and required knowledge on which schedules to use for the interests, dividends and investments.
Installation Process ...
I bought the Premier edition (PC download), downloaded the software and installed it. That was a painless and straight forward process. But, when I tried to use TurboTax it asked me to check for updates then downloaded updates. Hmm ... it was a bit strange considering I just downloaded the software from scratch. I guess, the updates aren't part of the initial software installation. Nevertheless, it was still painless. BTW, you should update since the updates include tax policy changes.
Why did I buy the premier edition?
I had stock investments and dividends, loan interest deductions, and retirement deductions. The other edition didn't cover stocks. Also, I thought the premier edition had state tax efile included with the cost. But, it's an additional charge of $19.99 per efile. The product description did not say that state efiles are not included. But, at the same time, they do not say that state efiles are included. Yes, I know, it's confusing. But, that's basically what they did in the product description. They should have told us that state efiles are an additional $19.99 even for the premier edition.
How long did it take me?
It took me about 30 minutes. There were a lot of questions that covered various investments and possible deductions. I had all the necessary tax forms in front of me before starting. Or, at least, I thought I did. I forgot about my student loan, again. It's a good thing the questions were thorough.
What did I like the best?
The step-by-step wizard that helped guide me through the whole tax return form including filling all the schedules. I didn't have to manually fill the schedules. It asked several questions and filled out the appropriate schedules for me. You can fill the schedule manually (it has the option), but I'm not familiar with the schedules (and, frankly, I don't want to figure it out). I liked the question marks next to some of the questions. They helped explain the question and the relevance of the question to the tax return.
What did I NOT like about the software?
There was a bit of a surprise when I tried to efile my state tax return. I thought, it came with free state tax return efile since it's the Premier edition. But, it didn't. I would have to pay $19.99 for the state efile. But, you can print out the 540 and schedules, and mail them. I could go directly to the state tax franchise website and file the 540 there, but I would have to fill everything out from scratch. So, I'm going to mail the state tax returns ... and wait for the confirmations (hopefully, everything went through smoothly) and tax refund. The good thing about tax efiles is that I know pretty much right away if something is wrong with the tax return. I don't have to wait for weeks for a letter from the IRS stating that my tax return was incorrect and that the calculation was wrong.
Can I save the filled forms as a PDF or print it?
Yes on both. Once, I finished my taxes I had the option of printing the forms or saving the forms as a PDF. I was able to save each individual forms separately. I like saving my 540 separately from my 1040 forms. But, it also gave me the option of combining everything into one PDF file.
Was it worth it to me?
Yes, only because I was able to distribute the software cost with my family (upto 5). Otherwise, I could pay $60 for someone to prepare my taxes for me without the hassle and headache of going through the questionnaire.
Don't get me wrong, I felt that the questions were necessary and helped me find the best possible outcome (more money back). But, the good thing about hiring my tax accountant is that he knew the ins and outs of taxes. But, my taxes are pretty simple and doesn't require a tax accountant. For people who own businesses or have a much more complicated life (financially) I would suggest hiring a CPA and plan your taxes (charitable contributions, tax estimates, sell at a loss, long term investment tax versus short term, tax deferred contributions and so on).
Overall, I would buy it again. The wizard helped me through the process and tried to find various possible deductions. At the end, I did feel a bit exhausted. There were a lot of questions, but that's expected; and, for me, it's not a bad thing. I'd rather cover everything now then file an amendment.
My gripe with the additional state efile cost of $19.99 did not warrant a 3 or less star. I did like the software itself, and the process that Intuit has figured out to get an average person like me to be able to fill out my tax return. Thanks Intuit, but next time please state that an additional charge for state efiles will apply.
on March 2, 2013
I honestly am surprised to be writing this as I have used Turbo Tax for years and it was always seamless, fast, accurate, and easy. This year I had some issues with errors (my first returns showed 49 errors which were random entries on forms inexplicably left blank I had to re-enter everything a second time. Also with my returns pending with the IRS for weeks, now, and they have no clue. Now the pending might be an IRS issue granted, but nonetheless to try to get an answer out of Turbo Tax customer service is like pulling teeth. I Just got the total run around, on hold for 50 minutes, and then no help from clueless "representative". If you don't have problems it's great, but if you do have problems, don't expect prompt knowledgable assistance. Below lackluster customer service. I'm very much considering an alternative in the future, this was truly a nightmare. ***Note*** This is the first year I used the dowloadable, I always purchased the discs in the past.
on February 19, 2013
I gave Turbotax a 5, because I have used it without any problems for the last five years. Once again, the software download installed without issue. Turbotax automatically locates last year's return and pre-fills many of the blanks. The software is accurate and reliable, much better than the company's other offering, Qucken, which is crap. It's hard to believe that the same company makes both products.