Actually, there are two ways in which TurboTax complicates the process of filing your taxes. One is downright nefarious—and the other, just plain stupid. Continue below cartoon…
♦ The Nefarious
It’s one thing for a company that builds a business on tax simplification to make their own product more complex. (That’s the topic of the next section, below). But, it’s a completely different animal when a company that helps taxpayers navigate an unnecessarily complex tax code launches a fake grassroots letter-writing campaign that covertly lobbies that same government to maintain complexity and maintain filing fees.
Read about and weep. It is nothing less than a mob-inspired, profit strategy. This is not a faux pas. It is a stick-it-in your eye, anti-consumer behavior without precedent! Intuit sought to preserve their niche of simplifying your life by secretly pushing government to keep it complex and to require a knight-in-shining armor to unwinding the complexity.
♦ The Stupid & Greedy
This year, TurboTax has effectively blocked prospective customers from figuring out which TurboTax product suits their tax situation. Intuit has not only stripped TurboTax Deluxe of important filing returns. Their flagship product can no longer be used to electronically file Schedule D, for capital gains and losses; Schedule E, for rental real estate, royalties and distributions from partnerships; Schedule C, for profit and loss from a sole proprietorship business; or Schedule F, for farm income. This year, those who need to file a Schedule D or E must trade up to TurboTax Premier, while a Schedule C or F requires the even more expensive TurboTax Home & Business.
But wait! The highest end product sells for more than a hundred dollars. It is more suited to corporations, trusts and foundations. Don’t think that you need the many features of TurboTax Home & Business? No problem. Now, you can choose from a dozen filing form combinations. This not-quite à la carte approach virtually ensures that you will have no way of knowing which products to buy until after you prepare your taxes.
That decision can be blamed on simple greed in the boardroom and a phalanx of idiots in the marketing department. WildDucks can Infer the rest from my letter to Intuit General Manager, Sasan Goodarzi.
Greetings, Mr. Goodarzi,
- Earlier this week, I walked into my local OfficeMax and was confronted with your new hyper-bifurcated product lineup. (A stunningly complex array of options with at least 3 times as many products as on your revised web site today!!).
- I immediately realized that you were asking prospective customers to make a very complex purchase decision. I had no idea which product to buy.
- I checked the comparison check list on the product display and discovered that the only way to ensure that I was covering all of my bases would be to purchase your most premium home and business product.
For loyal users of TurboTax Deluxe, the cost jump is from $39 (discount price with 1-state option) to over $120. In my view, this is outrageous.
And so I purchased HR Block Tax Deluxe 2014 + State for $22.49 after promo discount at Newegg.com.
I considered your last-second compromise offer of a one-time $25 rebate. For me, it seemed insulting. You were asking me to either make a very complex decision (one that I could only evaluate after completing my tax returns), or pay $90 more and apply for a $25 rebate. What kind of offer is that? Not one that I would jump at.
TurboTax was once a premium product in a small field of competitors. Your newest offer is reasonable, but it is simply too late! My advice for next time: Simply raise the price, if you feel that the competitive marketplace can sustain the cost bump. For the past 20 years, the discount retail cost of TT deluxe + state (after coupons and store promo) has drifted downward from about $60 to $39. Sometimes, I can even get it for $29. It is reasonable to adjust the discounted cost upward to $49 or even $59 (equivalent MSRP = $84).
But instead, you chose a complex marketing option that mirrors the current problem with our tax code. To fan the fire, news services are reporting that your company has secretly lobbied to maintain a complex tax code.
You are entitled to a price increase. But you botched the execution. You lost a long time customer (and one who has purchased TurboTax for employees and partners).