OT: Turbo Tax Software

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On 01/17/2015 10:36 PM, Leon wrote:

complete schedules C, D and E, but TT Deluxe 2014 doesn't give you any way to do that (other than paper forms) without a $40 upgrade. You are still able to enter dividend and interest income, but there is no way to enter stock/bond/fund trade sale and basis info other than paper forms or the upgrade.
The big feature of H&R Deluxe for me is the import feature which lets me enter the name of my financial institution and tracking number and all trades made through that institution are imported into my return. If I had to manually remember and enter trade dates, sales amounts and basis amounts for 3 or 4 dozed trades, I would certainly miss something.
"Socialism is a philosophy of failure,the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery" -Winston Churchill
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On 1/18/2015 8:47 AM, Doug Winterburn wrote:

After further investigating I believe you are correct. Actually I have only been using Basic for the past 10-12 years and have been able to do most all of the above. For what it is worth I think I once used Home and Office and used Deluxe for a several years but learned that for me the versions past Basic only provided fluff and their interpretations of the tax laws.
I provided information to Bill on the this thread that shows how to get a free upgrade from what ever version of 2014 TT you have to the top end version, Home and Business. I just got off the phone and they did indeed give me the free upgrade, with some assurances that if they did not make this right I would switch to H&R for their free software offer to TT customers. While on the phone the TT rep did indeed upgrade me to Home and Business for free from Basic.

IIRC this was available with TT Basic last year, at least with banking information from the previous year.
But unless H&R Block follows TT's lead next year or TT reconsiders the shit storm they have created with their customers this year I'll be switching.
Thank you Doug and BILL for bringing this to my attention.
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On 1/18/2015 10:12 AM, Leon wrote:
[snip]

TT and Intuit never learn from shit storms, they just seem to retreat temporarily and then bring in another storm front.
I recall at one point they decided to require accountants to buy a copy of their software for each and every client they (the CPA's) had. If you aren't aware, the way it worked was the business kept their own set of books using a purchased copy of QuickBooks and then could send a file on monthly or semi-monthly basis, etc. to their accountant who would handle the necessary tax reports, review what the businessman was doing, etc. A small firm could easily have dozens of clients using QB and Intuit decided they wanted more money and so... They backed away quickly when the accountants yelled and threatened to move clients to other software programs.
The one that really frosted/frosts me is their payroll program. It used to be that while you did all the payroll accounting yourself, the tax table updates were provided (usually quarterly) on a 3.5" diskette. Nothing fancy here, just the state and federal tax rates which change from time to time. For the 3.5" disks they charged like $30.00 per year and would mail them out. Naturally, they were losing money on since the disks weren't keyed into the program serial or EIN of the business and thus you could "share."
Then they changed it to electronic downloading of the updated tables, keyed into your EIN (If you happen to have two businesses you now pay twice) and raised the rates astronomically. It was upwards of $350 a year ago. Now they charge a monthly fee, per employee and you still do the work. They've added e-filing but it's still a rip off.
There is no way to enter the tax tables yourself. It's their way or the highway.
Still not enough for them, now they insist on buying a new copy of the program every couple of years and discontinue payroll services for the older versions. Trust me, accounting ain't changed all that much over the years, taxes have but you can make adjustments in the journals for most anything that comes up. The point is that if you need payroll in you bookkeeping, Intuit just tells you to bend over and grab your ankles. Azzholes!
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Unquestionably Confused wrote:

They frosted me enough over this to keep me away from them for a long time. I think they "crossed over the line" on this escapade. It's just too bad that the changes don't affect a greater percentage of their customers. Maybe that's part of their strategy--don't offend everyone all at once..
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Doug Winterburn wrote:

From reading this in several places, I'm starting to feel like I'm the only one that keeps track with an Excel spread sheet. : ) Of course, my dad taught me to "write it in the book" whenever I added gas or oil to the car. I also keep track of every "shop or house related" item I buy (two different workbooks). It's an interesting way to keep track of model numbers, sources and phone numbers, satisfaction (or lack thereof) with particular contractors, etc. Memories...

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On 01/18/2015 12:57 PM, Bill wrote: ...

No, not by a long shot... :)
It was fine for personal and even in the beginning for the consulting gig, but at the point came back to the farm as well, just too cumbersome of a format. The real kicker with Excel is its strong suit as well; the spreadsheet format is handy for a few simple cells, but it doesn't scale; only way to do another is by duplication.
The accounting programs while in some ways a more complex interface, have the advantage of the database format. QB has the ability to add additional tax line items as you need them so the segregation ends up coming out automagically at year end if you simply encode them at planting time or whatever as seed, fertilizer, hired labor, whatever...
While it's also doable in Excel, the single database and the prepackaged interface is the deciding factor in my case. I also use the ability to read .iif import files and so have nearly automated many routine transactions where only the date and amount need be updated in a text file and then a whole batch of cost data can be updated very quickly rather than transaction-by-transaction.
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dpb wrote:

There is also Microsoft Access, but the learning curve is significantlysteeper. Not so steepif you are already familiar with the "relational database" paradigm, maybe quite a chore otherwise. Certainly no more difficult than Google SketchUp.
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On 1/18/2015 3:04 PM, Bill wrote:

Made a pretty decent side income in the nineties and early 2000's designing/writing VB (mostly compiled, stand alone, not VBA (but that also)), accounting oriented applications for clients, using MS Access as the database engine.
No way in hell would I suggest that useful relational database programing would equate to SU with regard to a reduced learning curve.
Quit using QB's many years ago due to Intuit's questionable business practices; but still use Quicken and TT (Home and Business) because of convenience, ease of filing more than one return (I routinely do my youngest daughter's returns at no additional cost), and their audit insurance (which I've had to use a couple of times to my benefit).
Basically I've learned that the way to sidestep Intuits forced upgrade shenanigans with their programs is to simply not use any of their online banking/accounting features, online access protocols being the choke point where they have you by the balls should they decide it is time for you to "upgrade" for their financial benefit.
Still wouldn't piss on 'em if they were on fire, but the utility/cost benefit ratio by using them remains in my favor thus far.
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On 01/19/2015 10:21 AM, Swingman wrote: ...

Have to admit I've not fully investigated TT H&B; will it do any requested form/schedule? Not that I'm at all likely to change over from using the accountant for the actual filing at this point, just curious.
Agree, you _can_ cut Intuit out of the loop; it's just such a slimy way of doing business I can't imagine _ever_ using them as a resource-critical partner.
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dpb wrote:

My understanding is that it will let you go on the Internet and print out a Schedule D, fill it out with a pen, and attach is to the rest of your return. You could update the appropriate blank for capital gains via the software. You could no longer get a "review", or submit electronically (nor be eligible for the "Amazon 10% Bonus" that they started last year).

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On 1/19/2015 10:49 AM, dpb wrote:

Have not finished 2014 taxes to date, but have not had a problem with any forms (mostly those rental property/investment related) I've been in need of to complete a return when using TT/H&B thus far.

Yep, then again, I try to _use_ them to my benefit, instead of them using me, so far that has worked.
That said, I would not recommend Intuit to anyone not having the wherewithal to build the wheel on their own if need be.
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Swingman wrote:

My experience was that I learned "one feature at a time" at about the same rate. One doesn't need to know everything about either of them to get something useful out of them. For instance, one doesn't have to know Visual Basis (I don't. but I am more familiar with C++ and Java). I was able to make my first small Access database in less time than it took me to make a decent SU drawing. In my second (and third) efforts I added forms for input and output. I'm sure knowing already knowing SQL helped (tutorials helped too, just like with SU). I'm still an Access novice, but I'm confident I could learn whatever I would need to in order to make it work. However, as you know, there is more to building a database than creating tables. Excel works fine for me for my simple record-keeping purposes.
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Isn't using Intuit's TT a convenience? After all, you can download, fill out, and mail in the IRS forms directly for the cost of postage and some time.
Shouldn't intuit be able to monetize their programmers efforts?
Doesn't the back of the box clearly state what each version of TT supports?
Why all the complaints? Free enterprise, dontchaknow...
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Scott Lurndal wrote:

You can read many complaints at Amazon.com under the "most helpful negative review" on the PC product. That's the post that is getting all of the attention. No sense in me duplicating them here. I will just say that Intuit's conduct in this appears to me to be deliberate deception (fraud).
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On 1/19/2015 1:31 PM, Bill wrote:

Sleazy, yes. Fraud? You won't prove it.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I certainly can't. But I hope some consumer group might see fit to try. I think it would be interesting no matter the outcome.
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On 1/19/2015 1:35 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Fortunately, proving it is not really necessary. In the realm of consumer opinion (and many others as well) "perception is the reality." The perception that Intuit would screw their own grandmother on her death bed is out there and growing. Hope their loan business takes off and that they take a giant hit on the next bust out.
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On 01/19/2015 12:03 PM, Scott Lurndal wrote: ...

Yes.

Not sure about the "box", no. The problem people complain of here is they change the content (always downward) from year-to-year without making it clear up front.

Don't say the _can't_ do whatever they want; but they are _extremely_ aggressive and customer-belligerent imo. They put enough in my way wrt QB as far as demanding continual upgrades I didn't need/want to keep up-to-date that I quit years ago. I've only heard more dissatisfaction with their practices since.
But, yes, in the end it's a customer's choice.
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On 1/19/2015 12:03 PM, Scott Lurndal wrote:

Absolutely and thaty have been doing that for a few decades now. The beef we have now is that to get a schedule C and file on line you now have to buy the the $99 version instead of the $20 version. In all prior years you could get Schedule C for the entry lever price, now you have to buy the top of the line version if you want that schedule and file on line too.

Yes it does but there are many definitions for "Support". In past years TT defined "support" as giving advice on top of the program basics. This year TT unapparently defines "support" as the program no longer has the forms that have always been provided in the past that the government supplies. It has been at least a decade since TT has mentioned on the box that the basic included all the forms. The chief reason to buy the 3 upper grades of TT was to get more information for advice on more detailed topics. Because I never used their "extra" advice on the upper end TT versions I eventually switched to the basic about 12 years ago. I saw no difference in how the program operated.

Well that is true and that works both ways. Wall Street Journal interviewed the VP of TT and he gave a number to call to upgrade for free to "ANY" current version of TT. Their smoke and mirrors tactics has backfired strongly enough that the VP is involved in putting out fires. For the past 30 years I have used TT. This year after buying basic again I learned that the Schedule C forms are gone in fact all forms are gone and you have to pick the interview process to fill out your return. I call the number on Sunday morning and was upgraded for free to the top end version, the only that now has Schedule C.
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As it happens, the box has a nice chart on the back with checkmarks showing what each version of TT supports. And it has for at least the last decade.
And, I see that amazon also shows the chart in the "From the Manufacturer" section.
http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/aplusautomation/vendorimages/cb32acc1-7c8b-4167-abed-dce8a24bde50._V322476454_.jpg
See the first box:
"New - Some features are only available in these versions of TurboTax"
I have some sympathy for people who blindly purchased TT deluxe expecting it to match the prior year capability set. I don't have much sympathy, tho, as it is obvious they didn't read the fine print. Caveat Emptor.
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