Why I won't use TurboTax again

Posted by Kirby Turner on February 15, 2004

I have used TurboTax for a number of years to do my annual federal and state tax returns so this year should have been no different. But from the start I had a bad feeling about using TurboTax. First it seems Intuit only provides a web version of the product. Not that I have anything again doing my taxes on the web. It’s just I prefer to use a desktop application.

As if filling my return on the web wasn’t bad enough I struggled with various worksheets as Melanie and I are now filling as a married couple. What does one do when a question ask for information from the previous year’s return? Do you add the total from the two returns? Anyway, combine this with the sell of some stocks last year that resulted in long term capital gains and losses and I started finding bugs in the online software. In all cases I found I had to completely delete records of information and re-enter the same information to get around bugs. An example of a bug was when I answered a question only to later learn that I answered the question incorrectly. When I returned to the question to answer it correctly it seemed the software ignored the new answer. Regardless of what I tried the software continued to ignore the corrected answer. So as a last resort I deleted the section of information and re-keyed it. A major plan but nothing compared to the final problem I had with TurboTax for the Web.

While completing my New York return I was asked to provide information from my New Jersey return. Note: I did some work in New Jersey over the summer which requires I complete two state returns. No problem I thought. I’ll just stop work on my New York return and complete my New Jersey. To my surprise there was no way for me to create a second state return. I searched the online help and FAQ but found no answer. I tried an online chat with tech support but after waiting a very long time I gave up waiting for someone from Intuit to reply. I would have called support over the phone but noticed that a $19.95 charge applies. And I refuse to pay $19.95 to a company only to learn there is a limitation in their software or they designed a poor user interface.

In total frustration and after wasting lots of time trying to navigate the pains of TurboTax I decided I am better off paying a tax professional to complete my return. Yes it will cost more than the TurboTax software but at least I know it will be correct and it will not take up a full day of my time. And it’s sad that I can’t use TurboTax given that our taxes when compared to many others are not complex.

Looks like I am no longer a TurboTax user. Maybe it’s time for me to look at Microsoft Money 2004 as well and dump Quicken.

Posted in uncategorized. Tagged in .