Tax complaints

I finally got around to doing my taxes. I owe money to the IRS. I owe money to the California Franchise Tax Board. I owe money to the Missouri Department of Revenue. And I owe money to Ronald Leggett at the St. Louis Earnings Tax Department. More on that later.

First off, I want to complain about TurboTax. I’m going to skip over the rant about how the “FREE Electronic Filing” and “FREE TurboTax State” are both “after rebate,” and concentrate on the part where “Multiple State programs must be installed from the same TurboTax State CD.” This means that I couldn’t just pick up two discount-priced TurboTax State boxes at Sam’s, but instead had to pay Intuit directly for the second State activation code, at full retail price. Gah. Maybe I can use my “FREE TurboTax State” rebate on the activation code.

Second: Has anyone else noticed that state tax codes are much more complex and annoying than the national ones? TurboTax doesn’t help much. The TurboTax State “smarts” just don’t seem up to the caliber of the Federal forms. For example: As a part-year resident of Missouri, I have the option of filing either as a resident or as a non-resident. TurboTax makes me pick up front, without much hint as to which one might be best for me. Once the choice is made, the only way I found to change it is to delete the entire state return and start over. I would have imagined that TurboTax could have collected all the relevant information, and then picked the best form to use once it had all the data at hand. But never mind.

Finally, I wish to complain about the City of St. Louis, which charges a one percent earnings tax on residents of the City. All fine and good (although the number of court cases the City has been involved in defending the constitutionality of this tax is surprisingly large—my favorite is Lawyer’s Association of St. Louis v. City of St. Louis), until you get to part-year City residents. If the instructions on the form are to be taken at their word, the City determines the “non-residency deduction” based on the number of days worked outside the city. Unlike California and Missouri, who use the reasonable metric of how much money you made in the state, the City of St. Louis wants me to base my tax on how much time I spent there. To wit, this means that even though I have been mostly unemployed and only 22% of my income was earned while living here, they want me to pay twice that, since I lived in the City five months out of the year.

However, the St. Louis City Revised Code (Chapter 5.22, section 040, paragraph A) seems to admit my preferred interpretation, so I think I’ll just ignore Schedule NR and send the Collector of Revenue (the aforementioned Mr. Leggett) a check for how much I think I should owe the City. If they complain, I can always sue.

12 thoughts on “Tax complaints

  1. I had to reinstall the 2002 TurboTax 11 times to get it to run.
    It is now March 20 and I have never been able to download any
    update. There is no easy way to contact TurboTax, even if that
    would accomplish anything. I feel the product was fraudulently
    marketed in that it promised things it didn’t and won’t deliver.
    Right now, I’m searching for another program. Looks like it will
    be TaxCut from hear on.

  2. Turbo tax deluxe wiped out my completed return when I went to “save as” under Turbo Tax to make a backup on a floppy. It gave me an error message which in shock I passed over and tried to find an original file. I lost 10 hours of work and now am doing the return manually. I asked their tech suppory why did this happen and how can I feel safe using Turbotax next year?
    They don’t know.

  3. Yes, I too lost all the data for the 2004 return after trying to make a back-up copy. Fortunately, I had already filed the return and printed out a copy, so at least I don’t have to go back over my traces. But this means next year’s return won’t have any information about this year’s filing, and in any case, it convinces me that TurboTax is an unreliable product. Outrageous really!

  4. I didn’t lose data, but there was a bug that created problems with my information. So I used the online chat to try and resolve this…

    1) The customer service reps apparently get to go through your return! See #2 below…I was trying to figure out how to submit my return and the rep and I were both getting frustrated. Except that as the rep got frustrated with me, he apparently decided to read through my return. He then made a comment about the company, etc., where I worked.

    2) I had problems submitting the return and needed help. Apparently, there’s a bug in the system for reading W2s:
    Me: “Why does the W2 give me this error message?”
    Rep: “You’ll have to redo it”
    Me: “Does that mean I can’t use auto-fill-in?”
    Rep: “You’ll just have to redo it”
    Me (starting to get irritated): “Why doesn’t TurboTax work for this? I’m going step by step by step…”
    Rep: “Because it doesn’t work”
    Me: “How do I know this won’t happen again and I won’t have to redo this yet again?”
    Rep: “It’s not going to take you that much time.”
    Me: “But how do I know it won’t just happen again?”
    Rep: “Look, it’s just a few boxes”

    In the end, I tried to redo this and also to re-upload all the information…same problem…I’m going to use the paper filing at this point.

  5. Turbo Tax basic did get my 06 return completed and efiled (with confirmation – hope it’s true). However, it will not print ou, or download, t a PDF copy of the return. This never happened before. After 1+ hours on the phone with unhelpful clowns who did not know the difference between MAC-PC (I use a MAC), I was directed to Adobe’s website! Unbelievable. They’ve obviously messed it up and I advise staying off it.

  6. I tried so many times to download up-dates for Turbo Tax ’06 . No Go. Decided to go ahead with the return anyway. The program wouldn’t error check the federald nor would it download the state. Spent so much time on the phone with Intuit that I’m now frustrated than I have ever been with them. Did get them to send the actual upgrade programs on disk. Thought I would be OK. No Way. They wouldn’t work either. Same crap. I even tried from the begining, removed the whole thing, starting over. Nada.

    Does anyone out ther have a solution to this problem? Here it is April first and still no tax program!!!!

  7. I’m doing my taxes so far no problem but I print every page as I do it. I put in my and husbands
    Social Security earnings. When I printed the 1099 sheet with the personal income. That data was not there. I’m going to do it again and if it happens again then that means your program is dropping some very important information.
    I did’nt do the printing when I
    did my 2005 taxes and I sure hope it didn’t drop it there. If it did and my taxes are filed with incomplete informaion, we will be visiting our attorney.
    By the way, why can’t I bring up my saved 2005 return? Where is it!

  8. I was reading your blog and wondering if there is a class suit on progress or if you are aware of a law suit by multiple dissapointed users that I can join.
    In my case, my wife n’ I worked for hours filing and going over every single detail. We were happy with the return money.
    One year later IRA contacted us and wants $6,000 back from the return.
    According to them under reported $20,000. I didn’t it was Turbo Tax somehow in the transmission numbers got scramble.
    Please help!!

  9. As a tax attorney, I think that TurboTax is pretty good software. The problem is that people go too fast while using it and don’t take the time to really understand their situation. Too many people I have represented just take the route of owing the least amount of money evein if it’s incorrect. Hiring a tax professional when a tax return gets to a certain level of complexity is well worth the money. So the point, I’m trying to make is….if your return is simple, TurboTax is fine but if you don’t understand 100% of your return when you’re done, you might want to go get some professional help.

  10. Do people who live in states without income taxes really have it all that great? Doesn’t their sales tax usually exceed that of states that have an income tax?

  11. Well we are from Canada and have moved to the US part way through the year of 07. We tried the basic Turbo Tax for the US and it does ask about being from and earning in another country. Then it gets to points that make us sound like we are US citizens working out of country and coming back. We couldn’t find the right way around this. I have done online chat twice with the person having no knowledge on how to do this. Then 2 hours on hold and then the tech couldn’t figure it out either and he just hung up. I did online again and they said I would have to go through the phone hold again. 2-3 hours. The disc is in the trash

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