Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Extraordinarily low ratings for TurboTax

Around this time of year, I usually start looking around for new tax software (for the 2008 tax year). I like to get a head start on my income taxes before the end of the year. What a racket tax software publishers have! Each year, they update their existing software programs to match the latest tax laws. Sometimes they will add a few minor enhancements, but the end product largely the same as the previous year's version. Most readers know that each year, I choose to use either TaxCut or TurboTax to do my taxes.

Anyway, I was looking at TurboTax (Deluxe Federal + State + eFile 2008 version) at Amazon, and noticed that this product has already received over 300 reviews. It is unusual for a new product (which has been out for about a month) to have so many reviews, especially something as mundane as a tax preparation software. After all, it is not like people are reviewing a new Apple iPod, or the latest Blu-ray disc player. It is just tax software...

But what I noticed was that the vast majority of the ratings for the latest Turbo Tax were "1 out of 5", which is the lowest rating possible. Something definitely seemed wrong to me! Upon further investigation I found that reviewers were actually mounting a protest of two things:

1) TurboTax significantly increased the price of their software for tax year 2008.
2) TurboTax is now charging people an extra $10 for each additional tax return, if they file more than one.

It sounds like deja vu all over again as this situation reminds me of the year that TurboTax (Intuit) introduced its short-lived product activation scheme. To make a long story short, one was not allowed to install TurboTax on more than one computer, and this caused a lot of discontent among TurboTax users who prepare their taxes using more than one PC. This event became known as the "activation debacle" which Intuit experienced several years ago.

This year, I was thinking of switching from TaxCut (who also significantly increased the price of their software) to TurboTax. But after reading all of these negative reviews, I probably won't.



Anonymous said...

DC, just saw your post. Actually, depending on the TaxCut product/services you need, you may save money this year. For example, if you used TaxCut Fed+State+e-file last year you know the price was $69.95. This year we removed the state e-file and lowered the price to $49.95 as may people owe their state and thus choose not to e-file. Compare this to TurboTax Premier and you will see a $40 price difference this year.

Plus if you use TaxCut to prepare multiple returns you will also save as TaxCut now includes 5 FREE federal e-files and unlimited printed returns.

David James
H&R Block TaxCut

Anonymous said...

Christine from TurboTax here. I saw your post and felt compelled to respond. If you take a closer look at the reviews on Amazon about TurboTax, you'll see that the vast majority of them are fans of our product, but were not happy with the pricing change we made to the desktop product at the beginning of the tax filing season. TurboTax did make a change to our pricing however, dropping the 9.95 fee you mentioned in your post. Further, customers can e-file for free up to 5 time, the legal limit set by the IRS.

If you look at our reviews from last year (search Amazon for TurboTax 2007) you'll see we had hundreds of reviews last year as well, although I'll grant you the pricing change we made inspired many folks to write reviews who wouldn't normally do so. You can also see literally tens of thousands of reviews on the site, positive and negative- we had over 40k customers write reviews about TurboTax last year with an average 4.7 star rating. 97% of customers said they would recommend the product to someone else.

I hope you'll consider giving TurboTax a try this year and see what you think. If you like, you can try it for free with our online version (even if you prefer desktop) to get a flavor of what the desktop version would be like. You don't pay until the end with online, so you can experience everything except filing for free.

Whichever method you choose, hope your holidays are happy and filing your taxes is smooth and easy this year.
-Christine Morrison, TurboTax

Anonymous said...

Useful information about TurboTax... I tried this software... It gives good result!!