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Katherine Rutledge RSS Feed (Washington, DC United States)

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TurboTax Deluxe Federal + E-File + State 2012
TurboTax Deluxe Federal + E-File + State 2012
Offered by JGmediasupply
Price: $11.25
33 used & new from $7.08

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inadequate help with software glitches, February 15, 2013
In response to a previous critical comment I made about TurboTax in this forum, I got a lightning fast response from someone who self-identified as a Quicken/TurboTax "V.P." His response did not solve my problem, but it underlines the emphasis of the company--marketing over customer support. It took me hours on "chat" lines to get much less useful responses to my questions, while posting my complaint on Amazon's public forum got me a response with no sitting on line in less than twenty minutes. So I am trying again here. What does this say about the company that I must resort to this? I stipulate that I like the product and think it could be an immense help to those of us with simple tax returns. But with inflexible software and poor quality response to questions, it falls short of its potential.

Here goes: the problem I have with TT's inflexible software relates to tax treatment of a tax exempt bond fund for state tax purposes. The software requires me to enter state codes and DOLLAR AMOUNTS by state to account for all the dividend income. My fund's 1099 does not supply a state code or codes for me to enter, but TT won't let me leave it blank. Here is what TT's "VP" said about this: "The state code is needed to TurboTax can determine the tax consequences for state purposes. Supplemental info provided by the bond fund generally describes from which state the interest/dividends originated." Glib, but possibly applicable to some funds that invest in only one or two states' bonds.

The state code list for this particular fund lists 48 states, with a tiny percentage of the fund invested in each. For example, only .33% of the dividends come from bonds issued by my state of residence. The fund's dividends are basically not attributable to any one state in sufficient amounts to make entering this info by state worth anyone's time. But to respond to our "VP's" helpful advice, I would have to take my less than $1000 in dividends from this fund and apply each of those tiny percentages to compute the tiny amount of income attributable to each of 48 states. Fun with a calculator is not why I bought TurboTax. I note that the accountant I used for years has dealt easily with this bond fund investment and not entered any state information for it. And my state return has never been questioned.

Because I decline to compute and enter 48 useless entries, I left the (nonexistent) Box 12 blank on the entry screen, which is (for all love) the correct thing to do. But, TT cannot handle this and therefore I cannot efile my FEDERAL return, even though the tax info ONLY AFFECTS the state return. I look forward to a magic TT answer to this problem.


TurboTax Deluxe Federal + E-File + State 2012 for PC [Download]
TurboTax Deluxe Federal + E-File + State 2012 for PC [Download]
Price: $51.10

3.0 out of 5 stars Could be great, BUT..., February 5, 2013
This was my first attempt to use TurboTax after years of using an accountant. Completion was pretty easy, and where I could connect directly with the financial companies, like Vanguard, it was wonderful. However, here are my issues with the software:

--I agree with others who criticize TT for charging $20 to e-file the state return. It can't cost them that much, so they are making some serious profit here. They sell the Deluxe with "e-file and one state download", leading the unwary to think e-file of the state return is also included, so I consider this deceptive marketing and poor public relations. Until they change this, I will just use a stamp and mail in my state return.

--Others also criticize the limited and inadequate options to get answers to questions or problems. There is no way to send TT an email question, which would be efficient for both parties. Instead you have to waste at least 45 minutes waiting for a "chat," or on hold by phone to get to a technician, and the people you get vary wildly in quality and ability. I tried three "chats". Two of the TT people I reached were useless, and one was helpful to a point but didn't know the software well enough to solve my problem. So all the time I spent trying to deal with them was a dead waste.

--More substantively, it is possible to make an entry error, say put a figure in twice, and not have the mistake show on the entry screens but instead show up as double counted amounts on the completed 1040. if you don't review your return line by line carefully, just trusting the entry screens, you can make a serious error that will provoke at least a letter from the IRS. The entry screens should reflect the data, all of the data, that the software is going to put on your return, but that is not necessarily the case.

--My specific Waterloo with TurboTax was my tax-exempt bond fund income, for which I entered the 1099-DIV figures easily, but TT insisted I needed to enter a state two-digit code from "Box 12" for the dividends I received. The 1099-DIV has no Box 12. So I left it blank, but the software insists, and keeps marking my failure to enter a state code as an error. Although no state code for these dividends is required for the 1040, the blank I left for this nonexistent box means TurboTax will not file my return electronically, and I am going to have to mail it in. None of the TT technicians I "chatted" with had a clue how this little software bug can be dealt with.

The product could be great, and given their popularity and the number of years they have had to refine it, there is no reason the company can't do better than this!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 7, 2013 10:00 AM PST


The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians
The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians
by Peter Heather
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.06
100 used & new from $5.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended with reservations, February 20, 2012
To the numerous thorough and well-reasoned reviews other readers have submitted, I want to add a brief note from a non-academic perspective. Heather's narrative flows well, despite myriad detail, and it will reward the nonspecialist who is interested in the late Roman period and the roots of medieval Europe. He is at pains to demonstrate the sources of his conclusions, and he seems to me not to put more weight on the evidence than seems warranted. This book is enlightening and relatively easy to read, giving a good overview of the disparate elements that influenced events. He also illustrates clearly where his judgments differ from those of other historians, and again, he states his case with appropriate caution and tentativeness where it appears to be warranted.

I have two critical comments. First, Heather is not well-served by his editor. There are numerous minor but grating repetitions throughout the text, and the maps unhelpfully do not include the locations or graphic representations contained in the narrative. For example, in one place he refers to a Germanic tribe occupying "an arc" of territory, but the map contains a different arc and does not label the two geographic reference points he makes. Time and again, my attempts to use the maps to enlighten my path to understanding resulted in frustration. As another reviewer noted, there are also numerous instances of surprisingly casual usage, undoubtedly intended to sound a note of comfortable familiarity, but to this annoyed American reader, many of these appeared to be Britishisms and were opaque. A work of this type requires formal English usage and is not improved by occasionally taking the language down to the latest television witticism. My second criticism is more of a warning to my fellow lay readers: this book is more of a slog than I would have wished, as Heather seeks to follow the threads of many different "barbarian" groups and subgroups, as well as the threads of intrigue at the imperial court. I became lost in some of the detail, frequently hitting a reference and uncertain whether this subgroup was Vandal or Gothic, and where it was located at this point in the drama. I needed to do a good bit of back-referencing, so I would not recommend reading it on an electronic reader.

But all in all, I give it four stars because Heather fulfilled his purpose effectively, and his narrative has sent me off to do more reading on this fascinating era.


The Wonders of the Amalfi Coast: And Capri, Ischia, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento (Italian Regions)
The Wonders of the Amalfi Coast: And Capri, Ischia, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento (Italian Regions)
by Paolo Rubino
Edition: Hardcover
11 used & new from $32.93

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wonders of the Amalfi Coast, March 2, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this in preparation for a visit to the Amalfi Coast and found it provided a helpful summary of the history, topography, architecture, and more. I would recommend it for its gorgeous photos and clear text.


The Complete Pompeii (The Complete Series)
The Complete Pompeii (The Complete Series)
by Joanne Berry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.54
60 used & new from $18.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Pompeii, March 2, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I read this to prepare for a trip to the Amalfi Coast and found it an excellent primer, discussing the archeology and art very thoroughly. It wasn't as detailed on the history of Pompeii in its heyday, but there are other sources for that. It is a clear, thorough, and well-illustrated summary of the ruins, as well as an illuminating discussion of the impact of the various discoverers and diggers who have made it what you see today.


The Safe Baby, Expanded and Revised: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Healthy Living
The Safe Baby, Expanded and Revised: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Healthy Living
by Debra Holtzman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.30
96 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Safe Baby, March 2, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Comprehensive and well organized. Very useful guide and refresher about the dangers lurking in the every day world. As in all things, be moderate and reasonable in following this to avoid excessive anxiety.


The Consumer Reports Guide to Childproofing & Safety: Tips to Protect your Baby and Child from Injury at Home and on the Go
The Consumer Reports Guide to Childproofing & Safety: Tips to Protect your Baby and Child from Injury at Home and on the Go
by Jamie Schaefer-Wilson
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from $1.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Childprrofing and Safety, March 2, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is well organized and clear, though I recommend that the nervous among us approach it with care. It is good to be vigilant, and the book is an excellent guide for the purpose, but a slavish attention to every admonishment would be inadvisable, or you will go nuts. Use it as a reference, not for night-time reading.


HoMedics OT-N Therapy Neck Support Pillow with Velour Cover
HoMedics OT-N Therapy Neck Support Pillow with Velour Cover
Price: $14.99
10 used & new from $14.99

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neck pillow, March 2, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this for travel, and it worked well on a couple of recent long flights. It is well made, and the foam is firm enough to provide support. I also use it for relaxing after yoga. Met my expectations.


Wonderworld New Stacking Rings
Wonderworld New Stacking Rings
Price: $14.52
12 used & new from $7.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonerworld Stacking Rings Toy, March 2, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this for our 1 year old granddaughter, and she likes it well. It is sturdy and interesting in a classic toy way. The wood has a nice tactile feel that is superior to plastics, in my opinion, or at least a nice change from all the plastic stuff out there. A child can put it together, take it apart, or play with the pieces. It doesn't light up or make music, but it does what it should and will last until she tires of it, when it can be passed along. The paints are nontoxic, and the workmanship is good, with no rough edges.


bionaturae Organic Pasta, Whole Wheat Penne Rigate, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)
bionaturae Organic Pasta, Whole Wheat Penne Rigate, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)
Price: $15.45
8 used & new from $11.09

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Organic whole grain pasta, March 2, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This pasta is pretty good for whole grain, less grainy than most, and it didn't get gummy. I bought it as a healthier alternative to white pasta, and it meets expectations and works pretty well, except in recipes that really rely on essential refined pasta characteristics.


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