Rated 3 out of 5 by Remitog Used to Be Better
I bought Turbo Tax Premier and latest Quicken Property Manager, and Turbo Tax It's Deductible, a pricey combination which used to cover tax topics very well. In the last two years, its performance has been less than sterling. Up through Turbo Tax 2012, it was wonderful for covering all topics very well. Starting in 2013, after registering every item paid in Quicken, Turbo Tax asked for more detailed itemization of each expense in each on line and local store. Having spent so many hours recording each payment and buy, I opted to get less back rather than start over for more details on purchasing. This year, I found that after detailing each individual purchase deducted in Quicken 2015, the software would not copy these details to Turbo Tax and asked me to relist every item separately in Turbo Tax after I had done it diligently in Quicken. Likewise, every medical item, already detailed in Quicken, was not automatically transferred to Turbo Tax. I had previously purchased separately both Rental Property manager which would not transfer to turbo tax and Intuit's medical records software which, likewise, would not transfer. It is frustrating to be asked to list each item bought in each vendor again in Turbo Tax when it was previously listed in Quicken. Property management topics are transferred well and I have come to expect other items, like medical deductions, to do so as well. Keep in mind, I listed each and every prescription from each and every pharmacy in Quicken, but then Turbo Tax asked me to relist each vendor, items and totals for tax back up documents, rather than just copying them from the carefully itemized lines in Quicken. I would prefer the software to copy the lists from Quicken, once each and every doctor cost, prescription, and medical equipment purchase has been listed directly to Turbo Tax or I would use free or cheaper software available on line. I only pay the extra cost for the automatic transfer of information. Finally, as the years have progressed, I have found Turbo Tax worse and worse at guiding through the state returns. At this point, it is closer to a free electronic filing system required in my state than software to help explain the process for the state returns step by step.
April 3, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by HANALOA A BIG HELP
Title: A BIG HELP!
Pros: The assembly by TurboTax of all essential information and data necessary for preparing my income tax return was A BIG HELP! So was the effective step-by-step process of the preparation, conducted by your very helpful “assistants” who were also able to keep up my morale as we plodded through the material. And finally, there is your correction of the error which greeted me at the start: AMOUNT YOU OWE $4,408!
Cons: With that introduction to TurboTax, I had to turn immediately to the issue of why I would owe a Hawaii state tax of $4,408. My first attempt was to seek answers to my question, however I was unable to get a response using your program. Then upon examination of the Hawaii State tax Form N-11, I found that line 13, Pensions taxed federally but not taxed by Hawaii, was left blank. And obviously, because of this omission, what followed were errors at line 19, which showed Total Hawaii subtractions from federal AGI as 14432 (the Social Security benefit), and line 20, Hawaii AGI as 70762 (the 85194 federal AGI minus 14432). And as the Form N-11 process continued, it finally resulted as line 37, Hawaii State Income tax withheld 4408.
Review: Given the information above, I nevertheless found TurboTax to be an excellent tool for resolving these kinds of errors, in addition to completing my tax return. Clearly line 13 was a “must resolve first” item, but where do I find the data for Pensions taxed federally but not by Hawaii? Searching through the forms available in the program, I first picked out the Federal Tax Withheld sum of $17,124 from the Form W-2 of the Form 1040 report to fill the blank line 13, Pensions taxed federally but not taxed by Hawaii. But I soon found that it made little difference because the Hawaii AGI at line 20 still resulted in a tax due at line 37 of several thousand dollars. And that was when I inserted the 85194 figure, the Federal adjusted gross income (AGI) at line 7 and line 12, into line 13. Problem solved. (Foot-note: Of course, it would have helped greatly if the Federal AGI was listed in line 13 in the first place.)
Following that correction, all that remained for me to do was to complete my tax return, and file it. Thank you sincerely for your excellent TurboTax program.
March 8, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by MikeCOS314159 Comments On Turbo Tax Interview Process
I received a 1099-R for a pension in which some of the income is not taxable. When I had finished inputting the information for the 1099-R I was asked if the entire amount was non-taxable. I said yes but was confused why I was asked the question. After I finished inputting all my income I had to go look at line 16b of form 1040 and trace back the data source. I finally determined from line 29 of the 1099-R summary worksheet that the Simplified Method was used, as I expected it to be, to determine the non-taxable amount. From the interview I didn’t not get the feeling that this was the case. So, I had to use more of my time to ensure that Turbo Tax was handling this correctly.
As I recall the interview for medical expenses asks for input separately for dental, medical, and pharmacy. Since I had the total for all of this combined I had to ignore the interview and go to the form and data source to input this myself. The interview process should allow you to input them either separate or combined since IRS doesn’t care anyway.
I had income from several tax-exempt mutual funds. All of this income is not taxable on federal. But Colorado wants me to pay tax on the amount of that income that was derived from non-Colorado bonds. The interview process for Colorado never asked me if I had income that needed to be added back in. I ended up having to manually go to the “Other Modifications to Federal Taxable Income Worksheet” and on line 3a add my income from non-Colorado bonds. The interview process for federal and state needs to make this easier. I have had this problem ever since I started using Turbo Tax but have never complained before because I know how to get around it manually. Maybe I’m missing it on the interview process or something. I end up doing this in a spreadsheet based on what Vanguard tells me the percentage of income for Colorado is. Then I input that into Turbo Tax manually.
I was going to get part of my refund on an Amazon e-gift card. I wasn’t comfortable going through your 3rd party bank. I noticed they were going to get my taxpayer id. I didn’t like that. I also read their privacy notice and wasn’t comfortable with their information sharing policy. It is too bad. I was looking forward to making an additional 10% on that portion of my refund.
March 25, 2015
Rated 3 out of 5 by ChristobalRocks Problems with Stock Sales and K-1s
I've been using TurboTax for probably 20 years to do my taxes. This year I'm very frustrated with some of the changes.
I buy and sell stocks daily, so I've got a lot of sales information that needs review on my taxes. My trades get imported from Fidelity, but I need to review each one in TurboTax because sometimes their electronic download doesn't match their paper document (like mine in 2013). In previous versions of your software, all of my trades were listed in a nice column that showed my cost basis for each trade. In the 2014 version, you have the trades broken out in 4 sections and the cost basis isn't shown. THIS IS A NIGHTMARE for me. Showing the start and end balance without the cost basis computed makes checking against the paper document Fidelity provides for me almost impossible. Please fix this in your next release. It would be a trivial matter for you to display the computed cost basis amount for each trade next to the entry fields for the start and end amounts.
The next problem I had was with your K-1 forms. I have a difficult time interpreting what your software asks me sometimes. Sometimes I just want to enter in the form data exactly as it arrived from the financial institution. Well this year, I went directly to the K-1 form and entered in EXACTLY what was written on the paper K-1 form that I received in the mail. Later, when your analysis ran, it complained about the data that I entered. In the end, I had to actually DELETE some of the data that was on my paper K-1 in order for your software to accept the input. Specifically, the paper K-1 forms all showed in box 16 a code for F and an amount of 0. Well this caused all kinds of havoc with your software. The solution was to delete the row and continue on without it. Not intuitive.
Other than those things, the 2014 premiere software wasn't much different from previous years. I have always had problems entering forms, as your Guide me Through sometimes asks questions that are difficult for non-accountants, but fortunately, I've been able to bypass them by going to the forms.
It does burn me up to see that you charge to file state taxes, though, especially seeing as how I bought the Premier version of your product specifically for the State tax part. Filing the State tax that you paid extra for should be FREE.
April 7, 2015
Rated 3 out of 5 by MichaelTX TurboTax Review
For most part, TurboTax works very well and I could recommend it. However, this year I had to pay for Premier before I could finish my tax return. I have always used Basic and that was sufficient for my needs even though I was itemizing my deductions and I have a small piece of property that produces miniscule oil and gas royalties. When I say miniscule, I mean a whopping $38.00 in 2014 is what I received. The company sent a 1099-MISC and TurboTax interpreted that to mean that I have a business. Or perhaps that is the IRS interpretation, but I had to file a Schedule C and TurboTax did not seem to give me much help on explaining why I had to pretend that I was a business when I received a measly $38.00 for a royalty. It seems in the past that I was able to claim that income as a royalty without filing a Schedule C. Whether it is the IRS's fault or TurboTax's fault, it did not make my experience very pleasant. Also, there were a few details on Schedule C that the initial process did not insert, such as the name and address of the property, the principal business code, and the business name. Those items were listed as errors during the federal review. When I clicked on a button that was supposed to zoom into the Schedule C form after the review, nothing happened. So I searched for "principal business code" and it gave me a link for all the codes that was broken. That was very frustrating. It seems for $90.00, I would get that information. Also it seemed that TurboTax had more of a problem switching between the "guided" method and going directly to a form or section that I wanted to work on. It got lost and I had to click the "back" button several times to get where I wanted to be. TurboTax could also do better in providing links to the IRS rules. The software did give you access to those in a much more friendly manner in the past, but this year I was struggling to find help with that. I know I have mentioned some things and cast TurboTax in somewhat of a negative light. Part of it is deserved in my opinion for increasing the price so much and providing a less than perfect product in return. On the other hand, as a software developer and knowing the difficulties in working with the conundrum that we have as a tax code, I can give TurboTax some credit. They do a good job of simplifying filing my tax return. But with the increase in cost and the panic that comes when doing my return a few short days before it is due, I might opt to pay a professional next year. However, if congress decides to do away with the current tax code and go to a fair tax, we'll all be better off.
April 12, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by SlumLord Rental Purchase Questionairre is very INCOMPLETE
Program is helpful for established rentals, but was very weak on verbiage when buying new rental properties and putting them into service. Most questions regarding entry of purchase data was ok, until you got to the Land/Improvements breakdown, which took MUCH research to figure out that it was just looking for a loosely supportable but not de facto ballpark ratio of say 20% LAND, and 80% Building/Improvements. Then you do the disservice of only asking for things that help to establish the Cost Basis (items that help to establish long term Depreciation), and you leave out asking for Points that were paid as part of the purchase (which are also Amortized/Depreciated over the life of the loan). So there's no reason that all of that can't be asked in the "Bought a New Rental Property" questionnaire. Instead you are left hanging to figure out an eloquent way to enter the points, which I did by running the "Refinanced this Year" questionnaire and then changing the Depreciation Asset title from "2014 Refinancing Fees", to "2014 Financing Fees". So if you keep that separate, you should be somewhere be asking if you had Financing Fees and Points to enter on this year's new purchase. Additionally, according to your questionnaire wording and help, there are many amortizable fees such as: Origination Fees, Appraisals, Inspections, and Credit Report Fees that appear on the Refinance questionnaire that DO NOT appear on the Purchase/New Rental Property questionnaire. So based on all of that, unless users spend about 16 hours researching and comparing as I did, most will be leaving allowable amortizable depreciation items on the table because they were not specifically addressed in your Purchase/New Rental Property questionnaire. At best, some might think to list the Points manually, but lose other deductions. So that questionnaire is really incomplete and therefore misleading. For what I am paying for the Rental version of this program, I expect you to have a more thoroughly tested and intelligent product. If you send someone through a Purchase/New Rental Property questionnaire, it should be thorough and cover at least all common situations so that at the end of it, the user is done with that property except for entering unique expenses. Additionally, kudos for alerting me to Section 1.263#a#-1#f# de minimis safe harbor election, however it needs lots of refinement as there is crossover in the questions that would have you both Expensing and Depreciating such items #rather than one or the other#. Questions regarding contributions to a Traditional IRA should be more clear, and in big print: "That this type of IRA is NOT generally the plan provided by your employer". It is there in the fine print, but way too small, and many are probably double-booking their IRA contributions because of this. I skimmed to see that a 403B is an allowable plan so thought it was referring to my employer plan and missed that it was not for employer plans. This needs to be a BIG WARNING right off of the Explain This ?
April 14, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by MidwestEngr Great Tax Tool, but some issues
I've been using TurboTax for well over 10 years and have been generally very pleased with the results except some disturbing issues in 2013 and 2014 I have a somewhat complex tax situation (the printout is 3/4 inch thick), but Deluxe has done well with the complexities. This year as you probably know TurboTax upgraded Deluxe to provide previous capability. TurboTax does a very good job of translating my informations into data and puting it into the right places in a myriad of complex forms. The import of data from my financial institution is a lifesaver and I am sure I would never attempt preparing my taxes any other way.
Problems found with TurboTax:
1. In 2013 and more so in 2014 the “Guide Me” process has some serious failures in “guiding”. In multiple places., “Guide me” didn’t tell me that I had to select “View” or “Edit” to initiate input of data. For example:
a. I had difficulty finding where in “Guide Me" option to import my financial data. Import of data from my 2013 TurboTax was clearly “guided”. After multiple times through the guided path I discovered that you have to select “View” under “Import Summary – History of Imported Documents” when Income Summary page came up to get an opportunity to do the import. It is not obvious that “Summary or History” means a future action to initiate an import. Prior to 2013, Guide Me made this step obvious.
b. For a rental property TurboTax didn’t tell me that I had to select “Edit” to input current year data for an asset. “Edit” implies that I am changing something not entering data for current tax year.
c. To enter Personal Property Taxes paid, I had to figure out to select “View” to get to the window that allowed me to enter these taxes.
2. When reviewing imported Dividend data for multiple accounts there were no account numbers to differentiate between accounts (just listed source). However, the imported “Broker Sales” data did have account numbers for each account in addition to the source.
3. In state tax (Missouri) the program reminds you to allocate income between spouses. But, it fails to give any guidance on allocation of tax credits (Form MO-TC). TurboTax allocated all the credits to me and none to my spouse. TurboTax had calculated each of our tax liabilities and should have given me opportunity to allocate the credits. I found out the hard way in 2013 that the state will deal harshly (extra taxes & penalties) with this error.
4. In state tax (Missouri), TurboTax doesn’t provide for entering the required tax credit numbers on Form MO-TC
5. Another troubling issue for 2013 and 2014 (wasn't a problem in previous years) is failing to provide opportunity to print out state forms for filing when I selected e-file for Fed and file by mail for state. TurboTax told me that I couldn’t eFile my state but left me to figure how to print the right forms to file (used File tab). Prior to 2013 TurboTax gave me an option to print the state forms for filing and for my records in the Guided inputs.
TURBOTAX, PLEASE FIX THESE CUSTOMER ANNOYANCES or next year I’m going to another tax software.
March 10, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by SturmTiger42 Save yourself the cost of a CPA
After using a CPA for years, I finally jumped into the "deep end" of the tax morass myself by using TurboTax and entering the data into the structured format. The beauty is that all entries are correlated and generated into the appropriate IRS forms, including any cross-referencing and/or reporting that is unique to a specific form you must file. TurboTax does all the hard work that way -- with accuracy. It also keeps track of all of the work you've already done. So you don't have to worry about completing a limited amount input at any one sitting -- because and saving it along the way -- while making entries at latter times, with gaps in between. Initally, it can be helpful to follow the "directed process" for answering questions that categorize the fundamental aspects of your life-style and corresponding tax liability. Once underway, I found that I did better by shifting to the categories of "Income" and "Deductions" -- for completing my entries.
After I was half-way through the process, I figured I would do myself a favor by constructing a "map" of the TurboTax structure #in Spreadsheet form# so I could track what I had completed along with the specific entry data I had made in each Section / Sub-section. I did this, because I found that I was "flying blind" and not knowing what other categories of entry I would be addressing in the future, as compared to those I had already completed. I wish that the TurboTax format created a similar structure like the "mapping" I generated, so you could see -- in summary form -- what you had actually entered and how your entries correlated with all of the available categories of entry data. Next year, I will use the mapping I created this year, to help me organize and summarize my data more efficiently / effectively. If TurboTax created a similar mapping tool, the entire process would be so much easier and I would have saved even more time.
One example of "flying blind" is when it comes to "employee / job related deductions" as compared to "any other expenses." I did not know that there were pre-determined categories under "any other expenses," specifically,
1. Parking, Taxi, and Bus
2. Travel Expenses
3. Meals and Entertainment
4. Business Gifts
5. Education Expenses
6. Professional Publications
To know these specific categories in advance would have simplified my work effort tremendously. Similarly, I did not know about the category of "Job-Related Expenses," and that you can create deductible line items that are not addressed under the 6 universal categories.
You'd better be ready with "dates" for major transactions and/or donations made. If you haven't kept records, you will spend a lot of time figuring-out when the transaction#s# actually occurred.
In short, I don't mind by-passing my CPA and saving a significant amount of money. My last bill was 15xs more expensive than TurboTax, and I'd rather have the cash to spend on something else I found more valuable to my life, rather than to enrichen an accountant.
Do yourself a favor, if you haven't been using an automated tax filing system -- GET ONE and save yourself a lot of heartburn. You'll be glad you did.
April 4, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by thelmagleeson Great in some ways but could be better
1) TurboTax is a great way to work at the computer instead of at a writing desk, at twice the speed, with no errors or smudges. The main time savings of T-T is in form-completion.
2) It would be very helpful to have more prominent click-ons next to key sections saying, "Must exceed 2% of AGI to even qualify here" or "Entering this here may increase your tax liability - click to find out why." There is more of this than there used to be embedded in your program, but I'd like more.
3) Your program needs to have an addition on screens that generate forms: sometimes one gets halfway into the screen and then discovers a more accurate or better way to enter the data on a different screen, or decides it isn't worth the work entering it at all, but that half-completed screen is in there forever, seemingly. There needs to be a button on the bottom of the Step-by-Step screen saying, "Clear screen and DO NOT SAVE THIS." Otherwise, the "fix-its" keep popping up, to fix what doesn't need to be fixed. (I did find a "delete this form" in View Forms, but not everyone knows it's there. The logic loops in attempting to answer the fix-it questions are involved and tortuous - this feature REALLY needs editing. Perhaps a vertical check-list would be good, and a reminder to type in and hit enter for every item.
4) Donating a vehicle to charity that was used partially for business mileage meets with all sorts of difficulties. That series of screens needs revision. The verbiage is especially foreign with "like kind" and phrases that are legalese. Best get a non-attorney to work on that.
5) Make it possible for those of us who are fairly familiar with the process to enter directly into the forms. The step-by-step is sometimes helpful, sometimes the long way 'round the barn.
6) If an internal computation is done by the program, causing the "answer" to be displayed of the forms, the user should be notified of that. Sometimes entries can go in two or three places, and some meet with more limitations than others.
7) More examples of possible deductions should be suggested - the portion of one's home computer that is used for chores associated with work, for example. So many of us must answer email on our own time, complete online work certifications on our own time, and so forth - there's got to be a guideline for that sort of stuff.
8) Examples of donating one's time to an organization should be outlined, as well as other volunteer activities: we are in an age of volunteerism and EVERYBODY is giving something to somebody. One's time should be able to be donated, too.
9) This is beyond the scope of your program, but a link to "maximizing deductions and saving your retirement income" for seniors would be useful. Many of us have money being hurled at us through Social Security, IRAs and retirement accounts and have astonishing incomes: IRS and FTB should be writing me thank-you letters, for all that ends up in their coffers. Suggestions on gifting, sequestering, establishment of business status, and other strategies to decrease one's tax burden would be welcome.
10) Several screens displaying the "take-homes" at the end of the process would be very helpful. One for total income this year (sources breakdown), AGI, and total withholding this year (sources breakdown) for both federal and state, would be informative. Also total profit generated by investments, and so forth, would be nice to see.
April 15, 2015