The Tax Preparation Wars Have Begun

TurboTax Continues on With Its Own SuperBowl Ad

Intuit is the maker of Turbo Tax, a leading tax-preparation software. During the Superbowl, they aired their advertisement with no mention of the recent squabbles with furious customers over their software.

Rather than address the problem, Intuit chose to simply state the benefits of their program, which was being able to file both state and federal taxes for FREE. Their ad displayed a Boston Tea Party reenactment with a small twist to it. While angry American Patriots were swarming a British Ship, tossing large boxes of tea overboard, the British Redcoats were able to stop them by offering them FREE tax filing.

The patriots end up accepting their offer, and then the ad transitions to George Washington, who is reversing his famous Delaware crossing. The voice-over makes this statement – “Alright, maybe this is not the way it actually went down, however, you can still file your taxes on Turbo Tax for FREE !”

Turbo Tax lets it be known that 60 million Americans will be able to file their returns for Taxes 2014, both state and federal, for FREE. Their website states that this offer applies to those who use forms 1040A or 1040EZ. It says there is no charge for filing a state return or the forms used for filing the Earned Income Tax Credit (this benefits the working poor).

Their website also has a list of its competitors charges for the exact same services, like on TaxAct or H&R Block. Their entire campaign ignores the cries of the outraged customers over the Turbo Tax Deluxe package for personal computers. Lots of people were surprised to see that the Turbo Tax Deluxe software for 2014 taxes, did not allow the electronic filing of Schedule Cs for business, Schedule Ds fo both capital gains & losses, and Schedule Es and Fs for rental properties or farms.

What the customers had to do for these privileges was to ‘upgrade’ to a paid version of the software. The cost was $30 over and above what the Deluxe version costs. There were some disgruntled users who already bought software from some of Turbo Taxes competitors (H&R Block and TaxAct), so H&R Block came out with a free version of their Deluxe product to those who had already purchased a Turbo Tax version. It seemed the war was on. All these people had to do was show proof of their purchase and switch over to the other side. Let the games begin!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XTwbgmWRrA

Consumer Reports Releases Tax Tips

2013 Tax Tips

Consumer Reports is a trusted source in products and services.  They recently released their tips for 2013 taxes, which are about online and computer tax services.  These tips help consumers not get caught up into any questionable tax services and help them save money when filing their 2013 taxes.  Consumer Reports offers the following tips for 2013 taxes:

Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

• Check what the online service has available.  Simple forms like the 1040, 1040EZ, and Schedule A for itemized deductions are provided by most online tax services.  However, if you need a more specific form, schedule, or topic, certain online tax providers may not have it available.  Some tax services do not help consumers who have farm income, adoption expenses, foreign income and various other uncommon tax issues.

• Make sure the service supports your state taxes.  Paying for a tax service that will be unable to file your state taxes is not worth your time or money.  Check for this before paying for a service.

• Research the tax company prior to using their service.  Use a search engine like Google or Bing to see what other consumers are saying.  You can also check other sites like the Ripoff Report or Pissed Consumer.

• Check prices.  Compare the prices of different services.  Many online tax services charge more than just a flat rate fee.  Some charge for paper copies of your taxes or to file an extension.  Others charge more as the tax deadline draws closer.

• If possible, stay away from additional advertisements in the form of pop-ups.  Many online tax preparation services will bombard you with pop-ups trying to convince you to upgrade your service at a cost.  You can avoid these solicitations by using the IRS Free File service.  This program is designed for those with an adjusted gross income of $57,000 or less.  To find out more information on the program, visit the IRS website.

Using these tips provided by Consumer Reports will help you choose the right tax service for your situation.  They will also help you to save money when preparing your taxes and decrease the chances you will pay for something you do not need.  In addition, they can help you avoid potentially shady tax services.