Revisions incorporated into Intuit's TurboTax 2008 have led to a bit of a tax revolt by reviewers on Amazon.com.
- Dec. 12 with news release from TurboTax and comment from Bob Meighan, TurboTax VP
- Dec. 11 with comments from H&R Block
The tax preparation program has garnered an Amazon customer rating of one and a half stars out of five. As of Sunday afternoon, an overwhelming 82 reviewers (out of 90) gave the program the minimum one star, compared with four reviewers who gave it the full five-star rating.
However, it's not the features nor functionality with which the majority of reviewers are taking issue. Many reviewers were upset that Intuit increased the retail price of the software from $44.95 for the 2007 edition to $59.95 for the 2008 edition--a 33 percent price bump.
Most frustrating for reviewers--many of whom identified themselves as longtime TurboTax users--were the revised fees for the number of returns prepared. This year, Intuit began charging users an additional $9.95 for each additional return they prepare, regardless of whether the return is printed or filed electronically.
Read the rest at: Amazon reviewers slam TurboTax fee changes | Business Tech - CNET News.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for H&R Block sent in this comment:
I just read your post about the reaction on Amazon to the TurboTax price hike and I thought you may be interested in a comparison chart that outlines the true cost of e-file<http://digits.hrblock.com/topicsofinterest/efile/truecost.php> to find out what people are really paying for with their tax software choice:
- Essentially TurboTax's software model is like a "rental" model - you buy the software but pay for each additional return that you print vs. TaxCut which lets you prepare and E-File up to 5 [IRS stipulation] additional Federal Return(s).
- H&R Block is a supporter of e-filing, setting the standard with 100% of its products and services now including federal e-file at no additional cost to the consumer.
- Additionally, H&R Block eliminated all e-file fees in its TaxWorks preparation software starting in tax year 2007. Intuit has not eliminated all e-file fees in its professional tax preparation series, forcing tens of thousands of taxpayers to continue to pay e-file charges through their professional preparers.
I also wanted to point you to a news release <http://www.hrblock.com/press/Article.jsp?articleid=22236> that H&R Block put out earlier this week detailing its offer of totally free federal e-file without raising prices.
NEWS RELEASE FROM TURBOTAX, POSTED DEC. 12
TurboTax Now Includes Preparation and Printing of Multiple
Returns at no Additional Cost
Free E-filing Included with Five Federal Returns
SAN DIEGO - Dec. 11, 2008 - Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) today announced that customers using its industry-leading TurboTaxÂ® desktop software products can now prepare and print multiple returns at no additional cost. As previously announced, TurboTax includes free e-filing with every federal return and is the only tax software to include audit support, whether customers print or e-file.
"We're responding to changing market conditions and customer feedback," said Dan Maurer, general manager of Intuit's consumer division. "We believe this better positions TurboTax in the marketplace with an even stronger value proposition for consumers. It's one more way we help make it easier for TurboTax customers to keep more money in their pockets."
TurboTax makes doing taxes easier than ever and guarantees taxpayers will get their biggest possible refund. TurboTax customers also benefit from exclusive, award-winning features that are included at no additional cost, such as:
- Built-in guidance for more than 350 possible deductions and credits to help taxpayers get the biggest tax refund possible, guaranteed
- Audit support with every return - whether customers print or e-file unlike other tax software products. The TurboTax Audit Risk Meter helps customers reduce their risk of an audit before they file and a downloadable Audit Support Center assists customers in the unlikely event they are audited.
- Instant answers from other TurboTax users and tax experts online via the TurboTax Live Community.
- ItsDeductible helps taxpayers get the biggest write-off for the items they donate to charity by automatically assigning values to those items and seamlessly transferring the information into TurboTax.
- Faster filing designed to help people with simple tax returns complete their taxes in less than an hour.
- A cost basis look-up tool unique to TurboTax easily and accurately determines the cost basis of stocks and mutual funds.
During January, anyone can get a free answer to a personal federal tax question at www.FreeTaxQuestion.com. Unlike other software products, no purchase is necessary. Consumers who submit a question online will receive a personal call back, at a time they request, from a tax expert from TurboTax.
Intuit expects this decision will result in a deferral of approximately $70 million of revenue from Intuit's second fiscal quarter to its third fiscal quarter. With this change, Intuit's expected results for the second quarter are:
- Revenue of $790 million to $810 million, down 3 percent to 5 percent from the year-ago quarter.
- Non-GAAP operating income of $135 million to $149 million and GAAP operating income of $75 million to $89 million.
- Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of 26 cents to 28 cents and GAAP diluted earnings per share of 16 cents to 18 cents.
There is no change to previously issued full fiscal year 2009 revenue, operating income or earnings per share guidance.
TurboTax desktop customers can e-file up to five federal tax returns, the limit set by the IRS. Early filers who have already completed a 2008 return and paid the $9.95 additional preparation fee will receive a refund. Those who have already purchased the packaged software can update their version by using the easy, one-click update.