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TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people

https://thehill.com/policy/finance/507580-turbotax-hr-block-used-unfair-and-abusive-practices-to-get...

An interesting item that I found out from this story is:

The free online filing program "TaxHawk" that I have used in the past two years is also from Intuit. Instead of importing data into Turbotax, I need to enter the data. I have all the time to enter the data because I have the data in the spread-sheet. I just need to copy and paste.

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Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people

Its my understanding Turbotax, & the other tax prep firms have made heavy lobbying efforts to keep the requirement that every tax payer must prepare their tax returns rather then the Government laying the income tax on individuals & corporations based on the various sources of info that the Govt has. The report of sabotaging free tax prep services certainly comports with the lobbying activity.

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Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people

Maybe the reason that only 2.5M eligible taxpayers Used the free tax program is because many Low income taxpayers don’t file tax returns. 

This will come as a shock to the NYS financial services dept but there are many taxpayers who refuse to complete a free tax program either because they are not computer literate or are afraid that they will be audited if they make a mistake or will over pay taxes if they file their own return. There are many people who do not want to have anything to do with the government if they can avoid it.

The bigger problem which is not mentioned In the article is that many taxpayers who owe 0 taxes still have to file a tax return to get a refund on withheld taxes because a representative at SS, a retirement plan or the IRA custodian convinced them to have a default 10% of their SS, retirement benefit or IRA withheld to avoid penalties for underpayment of taxes. There is no requirement to have 10% of SS or retirement benefits withheld. Low income retirees whose only Income is SS can decline withholding because they are below the income threshold to file a tax return. 1/3 of SS retirees (20 million) get 90% or more of their income from SS where the average benefit is 17K. Only 50% of retirees pay Income tax on SS benefits. Eliminating voluntary 10% withholding on retirement benefits and SS for retirees whose income is below the $ threshold for filing an income tax return would eliminate a lot of unnecessary income tax returns And refunds.. 

Third  reason many taxpayers do not want to file their own tax return is because it is too complicated for them to understand. I know a government worker who cannot file a 2019 state income tax return because the payroll dept at the government agency where she works omitted entering the amount of her 2019 Wages and state tax withheld in the boxes for state income on the W2 even though the amounts were reported on her payroll stubs for the entire year.  I don’t believe she is the only one with this problem.

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Participant ○

Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people

Not surprised by this at all.  I used to use Tax Act, until they nickel and dimed me to death.    It was supposed to be free, but for a simple return , it cost more than 50 dollars to file.  They all do the same thing.  Supposedly free, its easy to spend one hundred dollars or more for a fairly simple tax return.  Try OLT tax, its unheard of and not used much, but its honest.

Time for another billion dollar class action lawsuit; let the lawyers get some of it too.  

When you have lobbying going on for taxes, insurance, medical care and nearly everything, the only ones benefitting from the current US system are the politicians and lobbyists.  Its time to get rid of all of them.  Will never happen, they are all entrenched.  A system thats full of holes; holes in YOUR pocketbook.

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Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people


@hku wrote:

Not surprised by this at all.  I used to use Tax Act, until they nickel and dimed me to death.    It was supposed to be free, but for a simple return , it cost more than 50 dollars to file.  They all do the same thing.  Supposedly free, its easy to spend one hundred dollars or more for a fairly simple tax return.  Try OLT tax, its unheard of and not used much, but its honest.

Time for another billion dollar class action lawsuit; let the lawyers get some of it too.  

When you have lobbying going on for taxes, insurance, medical care and nearly everything, the only ones benefitting from the current US system are the politicians and lobbyists.  Its time to get rid of all of them.  Will never happen, they are all entrenched.  A system thats full of holes; holes in YOUR pocketbook.


I was also a Tax-Act guy for a long time - probably from 1995. They kept increasing the price until it became $50. Now, I use the free TaxHawk for the past two years. Just answer the questions as you did in TaxAct and go thorugh all the forms that you need. It accepted the pdf version of the previous year's tax return and generated all the forms required and you just go those forms by answering the questions. It is not hard.

I keep all my data in the spread sheet and it is easy to use "Copy and Paste." It is not that hard. People should try to fill these forms themselves. Then only, they can learn how to minimize your taxes.

OLT and FreetaxUSA are also very similar to TaxHawk or the same with different names.

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Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people

I have been using Taxhawk for at least 10 years. It's easy and cheap. I usually pay $12.99(minus 10%) because I start it in January when prices are lower and just go to the end and pay for it and only fill and submit it later in mid March.  If you wait until March the price goes to $14.99.    Fed is free and you pay just for state. FreetaxUSA is the same but used to get me another 10% off but for 2019 I couldn't find it.

KISS. I don't keep anything in spreadsheet or anything else.  Schwab and Fidelity are doing it for me, mainly for Schedule D and I copy and paste too :-)

 

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Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people


@FD1001 wrote:

KISS. I don't keep anything in spreadsheet or anything else.  Schwab and Fidelity are doing it for me, mainly for Schedule D and I copy and paste too :-)


I assume that the data from Schedule D are in the searchable pdf form. You need to keep the mouse and scroll the data and use "Copy and Paste." In some cases, the data may not be in the searcahbel pdf form. Then, you need to convert the form to searchable pdf format. It is all cubersome. Even then, I use pdf-to-csv format convrsion and use "copy and paste." You do not need to keep pressing the right mouse button and scroll across the data. I have a lot of data to enter. So, CSV format is better for me.

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Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people


@ECEPROF wrote:

@FD1001 wrote:

KISS. I don't keep anything in spreadsheet or anything else.  Schwab and Fidelity are doing it for me, mainly for Schedule D and I copy and paste too :-)


I assume that the data from Schedule D are in the searchable pdf form. You need to keep the mouse and scroll the data and use "Copy and Paste." In some cases, the data may not be in the searcahbel pdf form. Then, you need to convert the form to searchable pdf format. It is all cubersome. Even then, I use pdf-to-csv format convrsion and use "copy and paste." You do not need to keep pressing the right mouse button and scroll across the data. I have a lot of data to enter. So, CSV format is better for me.


First, I don't do any searches.  When I look at my 1099 it's pretty easy to go page by page, starting with 1099-DIV then 1099-INT 1099-MISC and 1099-B.  

Second, I can download it as PDF,CSV (see below) at Schwab and Fidelity.

pdf.PNG

Third, searches are available in a PDF and I just have the free one from Adobe.

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Participant ○○○

Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people

I've used the AARP Tax Aide program for the last decade. This year, they had to cancel all appointments after Feb. for obvious reasons. I used free Turbotax accessed thru the IRS website, and honestly, it was so simple I'll probably stick with it for future returns. I actually did them on my smartphone in about 30 minutes.

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Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people

FD

Thanks for an excellent explanation. It is indeed nice to have them in the CSV format. Vanguard supplies only PDF format and they do not give the CSV format. Indeed, I send them an e-mail last year about this with no response. The "tax center" people in Vanguard are behind the Reps. So, it is not easy to communicate with them.

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Participant ○

Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people

So we are talking about $50 or $60 each year for TurboTax !?

For most people, this is a rounding error...  

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Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people


@kzug wrote:

So we are talking about $50 or $60 each year for TurboTax !?

For most people, this is a rounding error...  


Concur. I use the home and business turbo tax which I buy at a discount and sometimes Use discount coupons. I understand the nuances of the TT system for claiming business deductions and Entering different income sources Which makes changing to another system too much trouble.

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Re: TurboTax, H&R Block used 'unfair and abusive practices to get more money out of people


@kzug wrote:

So we are talking about $50 or $60 each year for TurboTax !?

For most people, this is a rounding error...  


Yes, it is much less than the rounding error for me. But, why should I pay someone that I can do it myself with no problem? I am even trying to find desktop version of Quicken if I can avoid paying someone. Indeed, I found that Spread sheet download in the CSV format is much more useful because I can sort the data and prepare my tax return using "Copy and Paste." So, I may not buy Quicken also next year.

I am retired and have nothing else to do also.

 

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