Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ta Ta, TurboTax

I’ve been using Intuit’s TurboTax for the better part of a decade to prepare my federal income tax return. Early experiences with the TurboTax were almost entirely positive. The software saved me hours of work, which left plenty of time for me to gather up dog-eared receipts and maximize my business expense deductions.

Then Intuit got greedy and tried to goad users into TurboTax upgrades they didn’t really need by inhibiting functionality on the basic version. Still, even when other software or online applications purported to be better, I stuck with TurboTax out of habit and because it was easy to import pertinent information from the previous year’s return.

This year's version turned out to be the last straw. Aside from an increase in the number of screens screaming, “There’s a better product for you!” I could not get TurboTax to automatically download updates. I’m not just talking about ephemera, either. This year’s software actually shipped without basic forms like 1040 Schedule D, which is what you use to report capital gains and losses. TurboTax kept saying my firewall was keeping it from accessing the Internet, but the problem persisted even when I turned the firewall off. I finally had to do a cumbersome manual download of all the missing forms.

After fooling with this glitch for the better part of an evening, I literally hit the breaking point with TurboTax. For me, the breaking point is when a computer’s lack of cooperation compels me to slam the mouse down on the desk in a fit of profanity-peppered pique. That happens about once every year or two. For this reason, I cannot allow myself to own a wireless mouse because those get flung straight into the wall when they become non-responsive. I’m not proud of my propensity for breaking mice, but if you’re going to break something computer-related, reaching for the mouse is a real bargain.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a life to get in the way of doing borderline batshit crazy things like sending my broken mouse in a Zip-Loc bag to the good folks at Intuit along with a hastily-scrawled note demanding compensation. As it is, taking back my microscopic sliver of market share will just have to do.


Anonymous said...

Hey-- what did you use instead?
PS Oregon's Turbotax story is worse google Oregon kicker and Turbotax...

Rantor said...

Go with free TaxACT

Greg said...

Having paid for TurboTax, I went ahead and finished my taxes with it. I will not be a repeat customer, though. Thanks for the tip on TaxACT. I've heard several former TurboTaxers suggest that.

Rantor said...

It for self-employment and various other tax issues that not everybody deals with.