Thursday, January 8, 2015

Beware: Intuit's popular tax software TurboTax (Deluxe) does not support schedule D + E this year. Check out the Amazon reviews...

Over at Reddit we cam across the following discussion:
submitted by SinnU2s
all 143 comments
[–]doublejay1999 30 points  
You all know Intuit lobby hard against tax being simplified, dont you ?
[–]demonsoliloquy 18 points  
A company that tries to go against change instead of changing with it will not stand the test of time.
[–]dwarfwhore 4 points  
unless the change is happening in the market they've already cornered.
[–]RollX 25 points  
Guess it's either TaxAct or H & R Block software this year
[–]barnopss 7 points  
I used Taxact last year and will be using it again this year
[–]RollX 1 point  
[–]xsvfan 14 points  
I used tax act last year, much cheaper and easy to use
[–]RollX 2 points  
[–]t0ssaway1 2 points  
I wouldn't say it is easier. It is just different. I did compare taxact and turbo tax once. Turbotax would have tossed me into audit hell. It was a major error and I started entering fake numbers (like 100,000) and it didn't change the return at all. I was like WTF! Granted it was a unique situation but TaxAct gave the correct answer from the word go.
In case anyone was wondering what the error was I got taxed on a Pell grant. I finally found the box buried some other place in turbo tax where I needed to enter the numbers. Then it matched tax act.
I think it is a little less intuitive than turbo tax but overall I think it is a better product for the price.
I'm stuck with now because of the rental property and I don't feel like having to reenter all the information and depreciation into another program.
[–]chesterjosiah 3 points  
I've used Tax Act the past 3 years and love it.
[–]RollX 0 points  
[–]ZeusHoldsMyJockstrap 1 point  
I also use TaxAct, several years running now, very satisfied
[–]fintracert 18 points  
Talk about manufactured spending. This industry shouldn't even exist.
[–]reph -4 points  
The IRS shouldn't even exist. And I'm not being facetious... with a fiat currency, the Feds could just print whatever they need as an inflationary tax, instead of printing whatever they need, plus printing more to fund the IRS, plus making civillians & corporations waste billions of hours filling out tax returns & paying some very complicated % back to the government. The entire thing is a staggering waste of human capital, but profitable enough for some that it will likely continue.
[–]chasevasic 2 points  
but ... but ... that would mean ... we would all be taxed equally
[–]invertedblue 11 points  
Surprised no one has mentioned it but if you go through Vanguard you get a discount on TurboTax online.
[–]TechieKid 7 points  
Also with Fidelity.
[–]william_fontaine 5 points  
The Vanguard discount just matches Amazon's price though, unless you have $1M in assets there to get the Flagship deal.
[–]SirMike 3 points  
And I can't imagine many people with $1MM in Vanguard assets are preparing their own taxes with Turbo Tax.
[–]nofmxc 16 points  
Am I the only one who does their taxes for free manually with the forms?
[–]bbyboi 6 points  
I do that too.
[–]w1gg1n5 2 points  
[–]fringe-otc 3 points  
what? you can do that?
[–]unknownpoltroon 5 points  
Yeah, you pretty much only have to pay if you print it or e-file.
[–]fotoman 1 point  
you didn't know you could fill out the tax forms yourself? In 25 years of filing taxes I've only not done it myself for 4 because of my wife
[–]hab136 1 point  
I did that when my taxes were simple. If you just have W2's and a bank account, it's a piece of cake.
When you start getting more complicated - stock options and RSUs, multiple houses, rental income (and deductions), living overseas, etc, then it's worth it to pay for software or a tax preparer.
One advantage of tax return software (or a good preparer) is that it prompts you to fill out credits you might not have even known about. Filling out the forms is one thing; knowing which of the million forms you can fill out is another, and that's something software (or a good preparer) helps with.
One year I took my returns to an accountant and asked him to look them over. You can re-file the previous 6 years, so I took him 6 years of TurboTax-prepared returns and all the supporting documents to see if he could find some savings. I basically paid to hear him say "yep, they're right", since he couldn't do any better.
If have a simple financial life, and/or you want to research every credit and deduction out there to determine whether you qualify, do it yourself. Many people miss the education credits and earned income credits, and these credits are aimed at exactly the people who could really use them (students and underpaid workers). A single 26-year-old working at a gas station for $8/hour and nothing much else going on in his life might just file the 1040EZ by himself - and would miss the $496 earned income credit.
I'd much prefer the tax system was simplified (Intuit has blocked simplifying tax returns, because they'd sell less tax prep software), but under the current system it's usually worth it to pay for tax help at least once. If your situation is the same as last year, then you can probably get by using the same forms, but any time something changes (sold a house, got married, had a kid, new job, new retirement or stock accounts) you should probably ask for outside help.
[–]LemonsForLimeaid 2 points  
Is it easy to do? Do you get to know your refund or owe once you are done? Where do you get the forms, from IRS website?
[–]nofmxc 4 points  
It's basically just following instructions like "Take your gross income from Box A2 on your W2 and add it to Box A3." Sometimes you have to look up what things mean or what qualifies but it's really not as hard as it looks. And yes, you get to see how much you will get back or owe.
[–]anon5555555555555555 2 points  
There is a lot more to it than that. I've refiled many people's tax returns because they thought it was smart to save a few bucks by not having to buy software or hire a professional. Most people slip up when it comes to the credits. If you don't know that you qualify for a certain refundable credit then you pretty much lose it. Lots of people don't understand that the tax system is a welfare system for low income folks. If you don't claim the credit, you'll lose it if you don't file for it after 3 years.
A few years back I filed amended returns for a guy who did the taxes himself. He ended up getting a little over $3,000 back from all three returns because he didn't claimed the earned income credit....he was low income and had kids.
Then there are the people who do the taxes themselves and learn how to cheat the system. Eventually the IRS catching up to them. Not a good time when that happens.
I have prepared taxes for a few years and have taken college level tax classes. I would NEVER prepare taxes without using software and if you are low income, just go to one of the volunteer income tax assistants and they will file the taxes for you FOR FREE. If you don't qualify for the program then just get do it yourself software or go to a professional. It is absolutely not worth taking the risk of doing it manually. You might be losing out on thousands of credits or deductions if you do.
[–]nofmxc 2 points  
And yeah, from the irs. Most people just start with a 1040 and add more forms as needed, such as for capital gains.
[–]LemonsForLimeaid 1 point  
I always used a CPA and want to try my hand at it myself this year. the only investment accounts I have are a 401k and roth. would I need any other forms?
[–]Novarian 1 point  
As a CPA, if you just have a W-2, 401k, and roth account then no you just need a 1040. Go through your 2013 tax return and make sure no additional forms were needed. (Sch A, Sch E, Sch D, etc)
[–]nofmxc 1 point  
Idk about Roth but 401k is super easy to include. I'd assume Roth is similarly easy but you might need an extra form.
[–]RainbowShrapnel 8 points  
Could someone please ELI5?
[–]mflood 23 points  
TurboTax has multiple versions at different price points that support different features. A couple of important features dealing with investment and rental income have been moved from a cheaper product, where they've always been in the past, to a more expensive product. This is not particularly well documented, and people are buying the software they've always bought in the past, and then being asked to upgrade in order to file the information they've already entered. Basically, it's a price hike with some soft-core bait'n'switch thrown in for good measure.
[–]L_Cranston_Shadow 36 points  
Turbotax has made no secret, especially over the past few years, that they are trying to push anyone with investments of any kind into using Premier so I find it hard to take the fake shock in the reviews seriously.
I wish that they'd let people with investments use Deluxe, especially since many people have investments, and either retire premier or specialize it for rental property income (still a big enough market to differentiate it from Deluxe and Home & Business). This just strikes me as them standardizing the products to fit the general descriptions for each (mainly that Premier is for people with investment income) which isn't out of line.

[–]nekrad 25 points  
I have been using TT for about 20. For at least the last 15 years (or at least as long as I can remember) I have used the Deluxe version. My tax situation hasn't changed but this year I had to move up 2 levels and purchase the Home & Business version because you can't fill out a full schedule C even with the Premiere version.
Intuit can do whatever they want with their products but maybe you can understand why people like me might be a little confused or annoyed at their decisions.
[–]sourbrew 28 points  
Intuit is actively working to make everyones taxes harder.
They have lobbied the US government to prevent the IRS from deploying computerized tools to make the process easier.
They are not good people.
[–]Discoamazing 16 points  
As someone who earns a large amount of income via investments, fuck turbotax and fuck intuit, and fuck HR Block at home, too.
The last time I used at home software to do my taxes, I was told that I owed 12kish in taxes to the feds alone. That seemed too high to me, so I went ahead and used a professional tax preparation agent, and my bill dropped by 10k.
Turbotax is great for simple accounts but it has serious problems the more complicated your finances become.
Edit: To those who were wondering, I believe (though I'm not certain) that the software (In this case HR Block at home, idk if turbotax has the same issue) was being stymied by the wash sale rule. In 2012 I ended up owing way more than expected because I bought back a stock that I sold at a loss within 30 days of the sale, after it went down significantly more. That prevented me from counting that loss on my 2012 tax return. Now normally that loss is supposed to just carry over to when you sell the stock again, and your gain/loss is supposed to be calculated against your original basis, and I don't think HR Block at home was capable of doing this.
DISCLAIMER: The above represents a layman's understanding of tax law. If someone more knowledgable is able to comment/correct it that would be appreciated. Also, it may not actually be the source of this issue (or perhaps it represents just one of many problems) as I didn't have my EA go over my computer generated tax return (why waste the hours, right?). Either way, if you have complex finances, I can't recommend the use of an EA any more highly, especially because I'm absolutely loathe to give Intuit/HRBlock a single cent that I don't have to.
[–]fringe-otc 31 points  
Keep in mind, this is the same company that lobbied heavily and stopped the tax reform that would have made the software unnecessary for most normal people.
[–]Discoamazing 11 points  
Yeah that's their worst crime by far.
[–]Sarudin 4 points  
I think it's a major stretch to say the TurboTax "stopped" the tax reform that had an almost nonexistent chance to pass in the first place.
[–]bababouie 3 points  
Can you elaborate on what he found that you didn't input into the software? Or what the software incorrectly calculated? I find this really hard to believe.
[–]Sarudin 1 point  
It could be a lot of different things but my guess would be that he just plain entered a number incorrectly or he missed a large carryforward like a long term capital loss carryforward which would offset gains in the current year.
[–]WIlf_Brim 2 points  
I have been using a CPA for the last 3 years: things didn't go great last year, and I haven't been contacted by him this year so I'm assuming that he wishes me to go elsewhere.
As a result I was going to try and do my own with TurboTax. I have a rental property and a few other odd things going on. Now I'm thinking that I shouldn't even consider trying.
[–]mflood 3 points  
The problem with these sorts of anecdotes is that they're likely caused by user error. It's very improbable that TurboTax did the math wrong, or doesn't support a particular deduction, etc. If you don't have the time to research deductions, sanity check your results, etc, then you should definitely go to a CPA. Software is a tool, like anything else, and needs to be used correctly.
[–]fringe-otc 2 points  
I've been told by other people that once your taxes become even remotely non trivial you need a CPA.
[–]Sarudin 14 points  
I've been told by other people that once your taxes become even remotely non trivial you need a CPA.
This is probably overestimating how often you need a CPA. A CPA really becomes useful if you own a business or rental, have a high net worth or a high income or have a tax situation that you just can't figure out yourself.
A person with a w2, student loan interest, a house, and a few investment accounts can easily get it done correctly on turbotax.
Source: I'm a CPA.
[–]anon5555555555555555 2 points  
A person with a w2, student loan interest, a house, and a few investment accounts can easily get it done correctly on turbotax.
True but still going to a CPA even with a simple return is a good idea because most good CPAs will give you tax planning advice. That's what I used to do when I did people's taxes.
[–]The_Weekend 1 point  
If your situation is not complicated enough for a CPA but too complicated for software you can also go to a tax preparer.
[–]krelin 2 points  
I started vesting restricted stock a couple years ago. Hiring a CPA has been very helpful.
[–]i960 1 point  
Vesting RSUs is just additional income with taxes withheld on vest date. Hardly complicated.
[–]krelin 1 point  
Except those withholdings are not reported the same way, at least not by Turbo Tax...
[–]i960 1 point  
Your company should be accounting for them as income. It's not anything you should have to account for from your broker provided your broker has a sane relationship with your employer (which most provided RSUs do).
[–]shuddertostink 1 point  
See I find actually doing the forms to be the easy part; they're all by the numbers, instructions included. Figuring out stuff like "what was our out of pocket medical"... now THAT's tough part for me.
[–]WIlf_Brim 1 point  
I'm the exact opposite. I have to keep track of all that garbage through the year: even if you hire a CPA they need the information in a manner that they can understand.
I've used TurboTax in the past (before my tax situation got complicated) and I didn't have any problems at all. My concern kind of echos what one of the other commenters said: that TurboTax (and all the others) can miss deductions/rule interpretations that can mean the difference of several thousand dollars.
[–]Toltec123 2 points  
Did the software leave out costbasis showing a sell as 100% gain?
[–]Discoamazing 1 point  
Close. Check my edit.
[–]unlikedemon 0 points  
Wow. 12k even after you input all the deductions and credits?
[–]MisterOpioid 0 points  
Wow. A $10,000 difference!? That is crazy.
[–]recoil669 8 points  
Does this affect Canadian users?
[–]NeiLiuM 9 points  
StudioTax. AFAIK it supports all forms and best of all its free. Consider donating if you can because it is a good piece of software.
[–]the_explode_man 1 point  
Been using it for years!
[–]Rye631 3 points  
[–]etom21 2 points  
Ooo an investing sub for our friendly neighbors to the north, eh?
[–]Rye631 4 points  
Get in early! My poutine shares are going to the moon!
[–]Opheltes 2 points  
Good for you. My moose futures are in the toilet :(
[–]Rye631 1 point  
Don't forget to balance your portfolio with the safe stuff: maple syrup and pancakes.
[–]Opheltes 1 point  
[–]Dup-Swap-Drop 1 point  
I've use SimpleTax the past 2-3 years. It's pay-what-you-want without restrictions. It handles capital gains, investment income and home office deductions beautifully. I find it excellent.
[–]AlexanderNigma 6 points
$75+37+5% gift card
$50+37+10% gift card to home depot [in $100 increments]
I'm really not seeing how Turbotax thinks this is a good idea. I used to use them but now that I know in 2015, I'm going to being paying more than H&R block every year...I'm not sure why I wouldn't want H&R block over these jokers?
[–]foggybottom 4 points  
If I haven't sold any of my stock do I need to worry about filing taxes for my investment account. It's got maybe 6k total in it.
[–]Deviruchi 4 points  
Did you receive any dividends? You owe taxes on those.
[–]foggybottom 1 point  
Yeah but I doubt it was very much honestly. It's there a threshold for this?
[–]doombot11 7 points  
Yes, $0 $10
[–]root45 5 points  
That's not true. It's $10.
[–]crantastic 8 points  
I fucking hate TurboTax. They lead you to believe they're basically "free", and only after spending 2 hours on their site do you learn their actual fees. Go to an H&R Block. Same fees (if not lower), but at least they're upfront about it.
[–]wcpattison 4 points  
I had the same experience but use TaxAct now and am happy with them.
[–]jscheel 5 points  
I seem to remember them doing something like this last year too. What are some good alternatives that you would recommend?
[–]FogDucker 5 points  
I used to use TurboTax but have used TaxAct for the last several years (I pay the extra ~$10 for the upgrade from their free version) and have a non-trivial Schedule D. Can't remember whether or not the import process was difficult, but I don't have a recollection that it was a gigantic PITA.
[–]SnowdensOfYesteryear 3 points  
I've had the opposite experience. TaxAct is a huge PITA since it doesn't support importing transactions from Fidelity/Etrade. I've come to like HR Block's software better since it's simple, cheaper, and stuff just works.
[–]wcpattison 2 points  
Agreed - anyone who is taking capital gains/losses on 50+ investments per year should probably not use TaxAct since they have to be typed in. I don't do that many transactions and am happy with them.
[–]theskorpian 1 point  
HR Block's software better since it's simple, cheaper
H&R Block's software is much more expensive than TaxAct.
[–]SnowdensOfYesteryear 1 point  
Oh I meant in reference to turbo tax. You're right that tax act is probably the cheapest of the major players.
[–]Lereas 2 points  
While this is in /r/investing so it's presumed you have a lot of investments to track, my relatively simple (but not 1040ez simple) return was pretty easy with TaxAct vs TurboTax.
[–]ragedogg69 1 point  
Taxhawk has a whole bunch of forms, including Schedule C, as part of their free federal. YMMV.
[–]Trifectard 0 points  
Just find an accountant and pay $70. Not worth using the software in most cases unless you have absolutely nothing beyond a simple tax return (eg: no mortgage, property taxes, investments, etc). In the majority of cases I've used software, it claims I owe more than I actually do. Probably because there was one missed field amongst hundreds, shit that I don't really care to spend time trying to fix.
I'd rather pay for the convenience of knowing it's done right than fiddling with a bunch of tedious online forms and scouring through paperwork.
I just give my tax guy a stack of papers, he's done in 10 minutes. Easy and I can go about my day.
[–]sausalitoturkeyface 1 point  
Turbotax has all of my information in it, therefore moving platforms will be incredibly time consuming. I'd rather just buy the slightly more expensive version to stay in their software.
[–]joshiee 12 points  
The other option imports turbo tax files, and is 1/3 of the cost.
[–]theskorpian 1 point  
TaxAct, the only software close to being "1/3 of the cost" does not import turbotax files. H&R Block imports it and while a bit cheaper, is still $55 + a state form fee for the deluxe version that handles investments (presumably what people in this sub need).
[–]donnie1977 15 points  
Time to shell out the extra $10 ya cheapskates!
[–]chesterriley 8 points  
Time to everybody to dump TurboTax for good. I dumped them a long time ago for TaxCut/H&R Block and haven't had any problems.
[–]donnie1977 2 points  
Based on performance or cost?
[–]CdnGuy 7 points  
I'm dumping turbotax for good because they're fucking with their customers trying to establish a loose vendor lock-in. Last year I used their online offering and it turned out at the end that they won't give you the file you need to import all your previous year's tax information into the next year's program. There's absolutely no reason why they couldn't do this other than to make using any other product much more difficult.
I'm putting up with that difficulty this year and never using one of their products again.
Edit: To clarify, I'm talking about the Canadian version here. They may not be pulling this shit with their American offerings.
[–]donnie1977 1 point  
I've never been able to use the free online version due to my tax situation. I buy the Home and Business version every year and feel that it's a great value for the money. I've put it up against a couple of CPAs. One did worse and the other did no better.
There is a place for freemium but I don't think the tax code is it.
[–]CdnGuy 1 point  
I actually paid to use the online version so I could do some basic investment stuff. It was identical functionally to the desktop version, but $10 cheaper and without me having to drive to the store to get it. Had I only known...
[–]donnie1977 2 points  
That sucks. I downloaded mine from Amazon. I like the ability to plug in different numbers to see the overall effect on the return. I imagine that would be more difficult when using one in the cloud. It can be used for multiple returns too, which is nice.
I swear I'm not an Intuit salesman, lol.
[–]redditbobby 3 points  
I have investments and rental property.
I was going to go with TurboTax Premier. Does TaxAct Deluxe have both too?
[–]patriot_1776 3 points  
Quick question. I've used H&R Block for the past two years. Any benefit to switching to turbo tax? If it helps, I'm in the military and my only investments are in my TSP (401k).
[–]anon5555555555555555 2 points  
The simple answer: no.
It is only useful for very specific situations.
[–]punpunpun 5 points  
The Premier version is only $54.99 for Amazon Prime members(discounted at checkout). So that's not too bad.
Can't believe people are giving the Premier version bad reviews because the Deluxe version lacks certain features...
[–]themoop78 15 points  
Lacks a critical feature that has always been included in the "Deluxe" version.
[–]punpunpun 6 points  
The Premier version doesn't lack critical features, and doesn't deserve the negative reviews.
[–]fucklawyers 5 points  
Yeah it does because it's now overpriced for all the users that got away with using Deluxe before.
[–]QuotientSpace 2 points  
Also, it looks like this year Premier doesn't support schedules C or F
[–]aepyx 0 points  
Thanks for letting me know! Went ahead and got it for that price considering I payed $75 last year (directly from Intuit) for the same version (and that was already after a 15% discount after reviewing the receipt).
[–]betitallon13 3 points  
Does other software offer refund bonuses? If TurboTax still offers the 10% bonus for accepting my refund as an Amazon gift card, I'm gonna use it.
I purposefully upped my Dec taxes to boost my return. A one month IRS loan will buy a lot of extra diapers!
Spelling Edit...
[–]bbyboi 4 points  
Read their offer terms. It basically says they can give all your info including SSN to another marketing company..
[–]betitallon13 1 point  
Good to know. I'll have to check it out in detail. If its just info to Amazon, they pretty much can already steal my entire existence, but if it is an open ended statement, that's a risky venture.
[–]bbyboi 1 point  
It's not to amazon :(
[–]splat313 3 points  
Their website says they are doing it again:
Use any increment of $100 from your federal tax refund to purchase an e-gift card.
TurboTax will give you an extra 5% on your e-gift card if you are using the desktop version of Basic
TurboTax will give you an extra 5% on your e-gift card if you are using the online version of Deluxe, Premier or Home & Business
TurboTax will give you an extra 10% on your e-gift card if you are using the desktop version of Deluxe, Premier or Home & Business
And paying more to get a bigger refund is genius
Edit: H&R Block has their own 10% plan with a couple dozen retailers but none of them are too exciting (possibly Target)
[–]betitallon13 3 points  
That was easy enough to find. I just kind of assumed. Good to know on the HR Block offer too. Thanks!
[–]Dom9360 1 point  
There are alternatives if you are using the paper method.
[–]anon5555555555555555 2 points  
such as?
[–]reed17purdue 1 point  
check our hr block tax software. it imports last years turbotax and also imports from your fidelity accounts, etc.
[–]adscpa 1 point  
Why are you still loading software? Just use their website.
[–]freddo411 1 point  
What a good competitor to TurboTax? I like an all online version.
I need to report some minor capital gains, and minor charitable expenses.
[–]rahjah 1 point  
FYI: Costco is selling TurboTax Premier for $54.99 (which I believe is the same as the Amazon Prime price)
[–]ciabattabing16 1 point  
Why are people still buying software? Can't you just use their online-based system and pay when filing? 100% of my taxes have been online for years. Based on the comments I must be paying the extra for premium as well because I have investments. Still...I'm mystified why people are buying this software every year.
Edit: Downvotes for asking a question with zero opinion to it. TT Online stores your previous years returns and automatically pulls in your W2's, investments, and mortgage info for the new year, getting the new year all done for Fed and State in less than a half hour. Keep buying software and doing things the hard way jackasses. Fucking old people and computers.
[–]william_fontaine 6 points  
I share my copy of TurboTax with 4 other family members, so I only have to pay 20% of the price.
[–]ciabattabing16 1 point  
Holy shit a reasonable and logical response! GET OFF REDDIT!!!
Do you print/mail the returns for free then?
[–]mflood 3 points  
Because it's cheaper. TurboTax Deluxe + State from Amazon is 49.99. The equivalent from TT's online software is $56.98.
[–]ciabattabing16 -2 points  
That's really odd. You'd think it'd be cheaper in reverse since they don't have to print media and such. Does the software version still store your returns online and let you pull up historical data/import it to start the new year? Or do you have to save the data locally?
[–]mflood 4 points  
Software has virtually zero cost per unit, even for boxed copies. It's all about what companies think people will pay. Generally, you'll find that first-party sellers will charge more in order to maintain the perceived value of their brand, while third-party retailers will buy wholesale and sell for lower margins. It's all just a matter of economic strategy and such.
[–]ciabattabing16 -3 points  
TIL. I've never bought any software ever (for a pc), so I'm out of my element.


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