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  1. #1
    Turbo Tax Support - Rant
    Ratsima's Avatar
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    Mar 11, 2019
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    Korat, Thailand
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    Turbo Tax Support - Rant
    I've lived abroad since 1977 and have a complicated tax return: Foreign bank accounts, foreign self employment, foreign earned income exclusion, house rental income in Oregon, etc. Turbo Tax is one of the few online tax preparers that can handle all this, so I have used them in the past. For 2017 I had to use IRS free file because Turbo Tax couldn't handle the first year of treating a non-US citizen as a resident alien for Federal income tax purposes. I made a few stupid errors on that return so decided to go with Turbo Tax for 2018.

    Both my Federal and Oregon non-resident returns were easy and both were accepted for electronic filing. I got my Federal refund very quickly and my wife's self-employment income is already posted to her Social Security earnings record.

    But then I got a letter from Oregon revenue pointing out an obvious mistake on the state return. It took me a long time to review their six page letter with a total of 13 tax return errors, all of which flowed from the original mistake. They were right. Turbo Tax made a silly error making the tax return internally inconsistent. (They erroneously claimed my entire Federal pension as a "subtraction" even though none of that income was taxable in Oregon. The subtraction should have been zero.)

    Even if this error was caused by my input, the Turbo Tax software should have caught and warned about the internal inconsistency.

    How to tell Turbo Tax about the error? Well, it's pretty much impossible.

    I tried posting to their user forum where the only suggestions were to call (not really very practical from Thailand) or contact them by sending a message on Facebook or Twitter.

    Really? Facebook or Twitter for customer support? I gave up on FB long ago. I never really figured out how to make use of Twitter, but I still have an account, so I sent a message. Four days later I received a reply telling me to contact Oregon Revenue. I patiently explained that Oregon Revenue was right and that Turbo Tax needed to fix a glitch.

    Two days later I received another message telling me to use audit support. Well, it turns out that the only option in audit support is to call them during business hours. Their website said that the current telephone wait time was one hour and fifteen minutes.

    I told my wife about the hour plus telephone wait. She is Thai and happens to be an attorney. She just laughed and said, "Who's gonna wait an hour on the phone?"

    Yeah, who?

    Has the US really gotten to the point where this sort of time-consuming hoop jumping is an acceptable way to provide customer support?

    (Well, now I've got that off my chest. No need to reply.)

  2. #2
    Turbo Tax Support - Rant
    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratsima View Post
    Has the US really gotten to the point where this sort of time-consuming hoop jumping is an acceptable way to provide customer support?
    Yes, yes it has.

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  3. #3
    Turbo Tax Support - Rant
    iggibar's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 20, 2009
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    Cleveland
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    yeahhhh...might need to look at my signature
    This is why I no longer use Turbo Tax. It's technically their mistake, but you're the one that is stuck with going through the loopholes of getting it fixed. TT is best for people with simple filings, where the inputs are plug-and-play, and with very minimal calculations that can easily be double checked by the user. Having complicated filings makes TT a hassle when mistakes are made through their algorithms. I found a local tax professional that does nothing but taxes, and after working with him, I'd easily pay double for his service.
    3.0GHz 10-core Mac Pro 6.13.46GHz 6-core Mac Pro 5.12.66GHz 4-core Mac Pro 4.12.2GHz 6-core i7 15" MacBook Pro Touch Bar 15.12.4GHz C2D 15" MacBook Pro 5.12.4GHz C2D 13" MacBook Pro 7.1

  4. #4
    Turbo Tax Support - Rant
    Ratsima's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 11, 2019
    Location
    Korat, Thailand
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    Your Mac's Specs
    2017 iMac 21"
    Quote Originally Posted by iggibar View Post
    This is why I no longer use Turbo Tax.
    I’ll probably do my own next year. Now that I better understand he foreign earned income exclusion it shouldn’t be hard.

    Besides. I’m retired. It will be a good time-killer. Better than waiting on the phone for TT customer support.

  5. #5
    Turbo Tax Support - Rant
    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
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    Winchester, VA
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    5,849
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    MBP 15" Mid 2015, iPhone XS, an iMac, plus ATVs, AWatch, MacMini
    I used TT a few years ago. Because of a special event, I ended up having to file for Alternative Minimum Tax. In following years, no AMT applied so TT gave me credit for the earlier one time AMT, which was correct, but the amount it credited was totally wrong. I discovered it three years later and filed three years' amended returns, for which I owed a significant amount in both taxes and interest. I contacted TT about their error, they asked for the files, which I sent, and then came back saying the files indicated I had overwritten the value that TT had calculated, so they were not at fault. I replied to them that I didn't even know WHERE to do such a thing, that TT had done the entire calculation, but they stood by their position that it was somehow MY fault. I dropped TT then and there.

    Untrustworthy company, bad software, zero guarantee, lying advertising. Other than that, perfect.
    Jake

  6. #6
    Turbo Tax Support - Rant
    lclev's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 24, 2013
    Location
    Ohio (USA)
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    I has to start doing my own taxed in 1994 when my current tax accounted was arrested and went to prison. Definitely a reason to move to something different! I decided to go with Turbo tax and used it from 1994-2004. When my daughter finished all her degrees - which I paid a huge portion of the cost - she became my new tax accountant.

    I did not have any issues with them so I never had to call tech support - but I totally believe that what you have shared happened. Sadly it happens with a lot of companies.

    Lisa
    Recommend using Onyx to clean your Mac.
    If you have been helped, please add to their reputation by clicking on the icon in the lower left hand corner of the post.

  7. #7
    Is the tax preparation software by these various companies not certified by the IRS?

    In Canada I have been using U-File for the last 10 or so years; never had a problem, but I read somewhere that the software is verified each year by CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency), so if there is a problem with the software program itself (not my inputs), I decided I'm going to wash my hands of it - ie not my problem if the "CRA verified " software does not calculate correctly.

  8. #8
    Turbo Tax Support - Rant
    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
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    Keller, Texas
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    Is the tax preparation software by these various companies not certified by the IRS?
    As far as I know, yes. However, the IRS will still hold the individual taxpayer responsible for any errors, underpayments, etc. I'm sure that the CRA does the same thing.

  9. #9
    Turbo Tax Support - Rant
    Ratsima's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 11, 2019
    Location
    Korat, Thailand
    Posts
    149
    Your Mac's Specs
    2017 iMac 21"
    I wonder how much testing the state tax agencies do. In my case there was a clear inconsistency on the face of the tax form. A decent software audit should have caught that.

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