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TurboTax apologizes, offers $25 product refunds

TurboTax Deluxe boxIf you used TurboTax Deluxe software last year, check your email box.

The maker of the leading tax preparation software is sending you a message detailing how it wants to make things right in the wake of changes that will force some users to upgrade this filing season to a more expensive version.

Not only is TurboTax apologizing, it's saying I'm sorry with cash.

Refund offer: Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, is offering $25 refunds to customers who had to buy a more expensive version of the company's software to complete their 2014 tax returns because of this year's software changes by the company.

The cash compensation offer is available to folks who purchased the less costly and quite popular TurboTax Deluxe desktop software, either in CD format or by downloading it, used it to file 2013 tax returns, and now find they must upgrade to Premier or Home & Business versions to file their 2014 taxes.

That upgrade could be costly. Although TurboTax's website is touting sale prices the three versions, their regular prices are $54.99 for the Deluxe package, $79.99 for Premier and $104.99 for the Home & Business version.

TurboTax software versions and prices January 2015

Intuit obviously is hoping that prior year TurboTax users will use the $25 to offset all or most of the upgrade cost and remain TurboTax clients.

To get the refund, TurboTax filers should go to the company's special refund website and complete the online form. You must enter your Social Security number, Zip Code and email address. Be sure to apply by 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time on April 20.

Explanation, then apology: The problem arose when buyers of the Deluxe version, which TurboTax says it its most popular, learned the software no longer allowed them to file Schedule C for sole proprietor earnings and expenses, Schedule D to report capital gains and losses or Schedule E for rental (and more) income and losses

When customers first complained about the 2014 tax year changes, TurboTax pointed out that they were noted on the software's retail packaging, displays and websites.

As you can guess, Intuit's subsequent explanations for the changes didn't go over very well with the tax software buying public. Hence the apology.

"We messed up," Sasan Goodarzi, general manager of Intuit TurboTax, wrote in a post on the TurboTax blog aimed at the company's desktop customers.

"We made a change this year to TurboTax desktop software and we didn't do enough to communicate this change to you as proactively and broadly as we could or should have," he continued. "I am very sorry for the anger and frustration we may have caused you."

Goodarzi explained the reasons for the change. Basically, the move was to make the company's various product offerings -- desktop, online and mobile -- more consistent.

"But good intent must be matched with great execution, and that is where we let you down," wrote Goodarzi. "We have heard from many of you that you were surprised when you discovered the change. No one likes this kind of a surprise, so we are taking immediate action to make things right and help you through this transition year."

If you're one of those who was unpleasantly surprised by the TurboTax changes, be sure to get your $25 to ease your pain and bolster your bank account a bit.

Check out all your e-filing options: Millions of us use tax software to complete and e-file our 1040s. The Internal Revenue Service received almost 126 million e-filed returns last year.

And, as a recent Daily Tax Tip discussed, we have lots of options to get this annual tax task done.

There's Free File for eligible taxpayers; that's folks who make $60,000 or less this filing season. If you made more, good for you, and check out Free File's free fillable forms option.

You can load tax software onto your own computer or use the companies' online filing programs.

Or you can hire a tax professional who will e-file your return for you.

Check out the tax tip for details on the many ways to electronically file your taxes.

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Dennis Galletta

Grrr...I just remembered to do this today, 7 hours after the sneaky deadline for doing this. I tried to get the refund earlier but had to have filed in order to get it. I filed on April 15. So my window was 5 days long. So no $25 refund for me.


“ We made a change this year to TurboTax desktop software and we didn’t do enough to communicate this change to you as proactively and broadly as we could or should have.” [ didn’t do “enough to communicate” or didn’t do anything? Based on my own experience and that shared by so many others, we TT veterans would seem not to have any reason to check the version-to-version chart but simply buy the same product we have always used ]
“Intuit has a long history of doing right by our customers…” [ after the fact though, and several times now ]
“Here’s why we made the change. Over the years, we have worked hard to make it easy for you to choose the TurboTax product that is right for you and your unique tax situation. We want that choice to be clear and confidence inspiring. However, as new online and mobile technologies emerged, our products, and the tax scope and features they included, began to differ, leading to customer confusion. These differences also impeded our ability to introduce new innovations across our entire product line.” [ Huh??? Sounds like double-talk to me, but let’s try to understand… so you removed these necessary forms from the desktop version so as to be in line with an already stripped down online version, is that it? And this was to “make it easier” for us? Sorry, no sale! ]
“Our customers are the heartbeat of every TurboTax employee. Our hope is that we can regain your trust and demonstrate that our commitment to you has never been stronger.” [ The only way this will be achieved would be to return to the previously structure and cost of the products that some of us have used for about 20 years. Period. Otherwise, H&R is going to continue to raid your base by showing their “commitment”. ]

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