Don’t get me wrong, I am a user of TurboTax Premier user for several years already. And I am strong believer for using software to deal with Uncle Sam. Going through the numbers, forms, instructions, find out new regulations time and time again is just not fun for many people. I would rather use the time doing something that I can enjoy. So the price tag of $79 doesn’t seem much if you consider the time it can save you, 5 hours, 10 hours, 20 hours?
However, there are some function “improvement” just did the opposite.
Here is my story, I sold some employee stock purchase plan (ESPP) stocks over the years. In previous version it allow you to specifically input the fair market price, discount price and discount rate reported by company 3922 form. And then it in term fill in the form 8949 and Schedule D of 1040 form. You can see one of the Tax Instruction for ESPP.
Basically the discount (eg. 15%) provided by the employer for stock purchasing should be considered as cost base and be adjusted when calculating the gain.
It is straight forward with the 2012 version.
However, somebody in Intuit decided to “improve” the customer experience by making the process “easier”. So instead of specifically input ESPP, you input an investment (chance are you copied the date and cost base info from the broker company report), and then choose “Add More Options” and then indicating the investment need special handling. As shown in this intuit forum answer.
And then it kindly enough to ask if you are still working in the company when you sell the stock. If your answer is yes, it will congratulate you and tell you that nothing special is needed and nothing to be worried.
That’s the point when I believed it. At that point of time, I forgot about what I did last year which got the adjustment done. If I had been careful enough, I would have read the fine print and realize that the cost base need to include the discount amount from employer. But hey, that’s why I bought the software in the first place, right? If you want to remember all the tedious details and double and triple check your numbers, why would you need the tax prepare software?
I filed the tax return (with E-file) more than a month ago and thought I was done. It feels pretty good to be an early bird, when everybody else is scrambling for their tax return, I would sip my cup of ice tea and enjoy the nice sunshine. But instead of doing that, I have to spend my weekend again on preparing the amendment 1040x. I feel horrible doing that.
And I am not the only one. As I chat with my colleague during lunch, he did exactly the same thing and filed 1040x too (he beat me on this though).
This is my story why the TurboTax Premier this year sucks.
My take away? View the result with grain of salt next year.
Intuit’s take away? Think about the “improvement” carefully. And maybe consider discount your software because your time saving factor is dramatically down.
What’s your opinion? Let us know.