Since 2000, I have used Intuit’s TurboTax Online tax filing system. It was a great, affordable online tax preparation utility that slashed tax preparation effort. My finances are straightforward enough to use TurboTax’s $20 product, which is now free!
If you click on Maximize My Deductions, that $0 product magically becomes $50. Not only does this surcharge buy you a gimmicky extra, you can’t “undo” it. Worst yet, you get no warning that you’re about to be soaked $50. It takes multiple clicks to get from this page to anything advising you of this charge.
Deduction Maximizer is a “gimmick” because all it really does is phrase deduction questions somewhat differently. Unless you’re a financial moron or have really bizarre finances, this feature won’t affect your taxes.
I checked throughout TurboTax’s system to see if I could undo this, but no such option was available. Then I tried to chat with an online assistant, but that entailed a 20 minute wait.
Thankfully, TurboTax doesn’t make you pay until the very end. Presumably because of this, the online product’s “satisfaction guarantee” is simply that you don’t pay until you’re satisfied. (Of course, you can’t see your forms, get final data, or file electronically until you pay!)
Fortunately, enough information was available so that could go back through the system and pull out all the key information. Slapping that into paper IRS forms only took an hour. TurboTax’s tax refund estimate was within pennies of what I got doing it manually.
I am dissatisfied with TurboTax, so they didn’t get my money.