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Slow To Release Forms and Too Much Marketing
on February 2, 2014
I've been using TurboTax since 1997, but this could well be my last year. The drill is pretty consistent year to year, so I can get through it quickly with some upfront organization - like reviewing credit card statements, checkbook register, and investment statements then consolidating my deductions and investment income in an Excel spreadsheet before starting TT. I'm usually ready to file after the first week of January, but end up waiting until February for everyone else to get their act together - whether it is the IRS or Intuit updating their software or banking institutions that take too long printing out forms with numbers that were already well accrued for the year - everyone seems to have an excuse.
I've successfully used the TT e-file to get my Federal taxes in this year. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to submit my Arizona taxes at the same time due to Intuit not having Form 140 completed. The software says I can't file, but gives no indication when this will be resolved - just check back for the update. You need to search for Inuit's web site where they list the details on form availability for both Federal and all State forms. It currently says I'll be waiting until Feb. 18, which is an extension beyond their previous forecast of Jan. 31. It's inexcusable to me that they can delay nearly half way into tax filing season before having a ready product.
Another point to be wary of regarding the "Refund Bonus Offer." I'm an avid Amazon shopper and I thought the idea of getting a 10% bonus for directing some of my Federal return to a gift card would be great. It helped push me over the edge on buying TT from Amazon. After reading the fine print, however, I'm not going to be taking them up on the offer. Once you're in the process of filing and you elect to take the gift card option, you are presented with a series of disclosure agreements that you must accept. It boils down to this. You agree to have a deposit account opened at Sunrise Bank. Your refund and personal information (it's not clear the extent of this, but it is at least your name, e-mail, refund amount, and direct deposit account numbers) is transferred to Sunrise Bank. They then handling the split between what goes into your direct deposit and gift card amounts. So, they transfer your direct deposit to your bank. Then they send the gift card amount to a gift card company in California, who then purchases the gift card from Amazon. All along your "personal information" is being sent and you agree to abide by their use of your information for marketing purposes. They state that they can use your information for up to a year, unless you call them to limit their usage. After walking through this process, I backed out. I couldn't justify the release of an unknown amount of personal data and 3rd party marketing, in return for a mere $50. ($500 + 10% gift card). Ultimately, it seems like you agree to them making money from marketing your information, in order to offset the additional 10% bonus - you pay for it in the end. Rightfully so, the Amazon fine print states that they are not affiliated with this gift card offer. Buyer beware.