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Question for TurboTax users
Old 02-28-2010, 09:58 AM   #1
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Question for TurboTax users

I like to use Taxcaster which is an online tax calculator made by TurboTax. I think I have found a problem....either w/ Taxcaster or me and am looking for a 3rd vote. I am wondering what the real TurboTax software would say........so for those w/
too much time on their hands:

Married filing jointly, both age 50, std deduction
Interest income = 60K
LTCG = -3K (a loss)
AGI = 57K
Taxable Inc = 38.3K
Tax = 4914 ......I agree w/ this

Now do the same scenario above by under 2 different conditions:

A) add Ordinary&Qualified Dividends
QDIV=26K (same for ordinary)
AGI = 83K
Taxable Inc = 64.3K
Tax = ??

B) QDIV = 29K (same for ordinary)
AGI= 86K
Taxable Inc = 67.3K
Tax = ??

I'd also be curious how long it takes to do this .
W/ Taxcaster you just put a few numbers in so it
just takes a few minutes. W/ software in an interview mode, my impression is that it can take much longer. I've never used TurboTax but I thought I had read that you can also use it in a non-interview mode . Thanks.

When you use TurboTax , is it easy to do what ifs....e.g. if you already did your own taxes, can you do completely different scenarios and still retain your own original results? Or is it designed for a single user so that changing numbers will destroy your own return?

fyi, the scenarios above came from looking at a Roth conversion. I just stuck conversion numbers in w/ interest since they are both ordinary income.
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:41 AM   #2
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With TT you can do as many "what-ifs" as you want. Simply click on "File/Save as..." and you have new tax return file. Your previous scenarios are in their own files.

You go directly to the 1099 input and change the numbers. The "interview" can be interrupted and restarted from any place. I jump all over to change things. Actually TT on my computer sounds faster than taxcaster online.

Remember that if you step above the 15% marginal income tax bracket, you could get a big jump in taxes since then LT cap gains and qualified dividends go from 0% to a higher tax rate.

I can't believe you haven't already spent the $30 to $40 that TT costs. You cheap bast....
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:35 PM   #3
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but just think how many little plastic baggies I could buy with
that $30-40 if I stopping washing and reusing them.......

I designed the example so that the taxable income would be shy of the 67.9K upper limit on the 15% bracket.

So does TurboTax limit how many times you can print or e-file?
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Old 02-28-2010, 03:19 PM   #4
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So does TurboTax limit how many times you can print or e-file?
I think you can do more than one tax return but I think you can e-file only one return per Social Security number.

Of course Intuit will charge you for each e-file, unless you have some sort of "free e-file" discount.

You can print whatever you want as much as you want.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:33 PM   #5
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I think you can do more than one tax return but I think you can e-file only one return per Social Security number.

Of course Intuit will charge you for each e-file, unless you have some sort of "free e-file" discount.

You can print whatever you want as much as you want.
My copy of TurboTax this year came with one free e-file. But I always buy two - - one for Frank and one for me - - because you can't share (we both e-file). Also I had to amend my 2008 return, and although it had the right forms to do that, once it was done I couldn't e-file the amended return for free (so I printed it out and mailed it in).

On the other hand, you can try different scenarios all you like and you don't even have to save the file if you don't want to.

Maybe you can find one of the free online versions. I believe Vanguard has one, if you have money in Vanguard. But if not, just grit your teeth and buy it! You can get TurboTax Basic for $24.99 at your local Best Buy or many other places.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:35 PM   #6
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I didn't think amended returns could be e-filed anyways. Aren't you supposed to mail those in?

And why would you want to e-file more than one return per SSN? Are you trying to confuse the IRS? It sounds like an IRS limitation and not a TT limitation.

The BestBuy link states "one ... federal e-file ...." We usually mail in our tax return in October, so I find paying for e-file ridiculous. The IRS should pay me to e-file, not the other way 'round. Or better yet, a $20 tax credit for e-filing.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:38 PM   #7
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I didn't think amended returns could be e-filed anyways. Aren't you supposed to mail those in?
Oh OK, I guess that is why it wouldn't do it! Anyway, I mailed mine in.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:11 PM   #8
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Vanguard's Turbo Tax gives you up to 5 free federal e-file returns. You have to be Flagship or in their Asset Management Services to get TT free. They charge $19.95 for state but I just took the state numbers TT gave me and plugged them into Virginia free I-file online system.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:19 PM   #9
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... so I find paying for e-file ridiculous. The IRS should pay me to e-file, not the other way 'round. Or better yet, a $20 tax credit for e-filing.
Yeah, good luck with that.

I think the IRS is going to encourage e-filing by only auditing the printed returns...
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:31 PM   #10
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Yeah, good luck with that.

I think the IRS is going to encourage e-filing by only auditing the printed returns...

Doomed! I'm Doomed!! Aaauuuggghh!

I guess I shouldn't have gotten Social Security numbers for the cats, huh?


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Old 02-28-2010, 07:43 PM   #11
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Doomed! I'm Doomed!! Aaauuuggghh!
I guess I shouldn't have gotten Social Security numbers for the cats, huh?
That depends on whether you're responsible for more than 50% of their support...

... and whether you've been witholding SS/Medicare from their paychecks.

After all, if only human beings were counted as dependents then the parents of teenagers would never get an exemption.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:20 PM   #12
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I got 5 free federal e-files with my Turbo Tax Deluxe. State cost 19.95 to e-file so I mail that one in.
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Old 03-01-2010, 08:54 AM   #13
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I think I've determined the problem w/ Taxcaster 2009 (TurboTax's online calculator). By varying the inputs, I can replicate the results exactly if I use the 2008 (prior yr) upper limit for MFJ 15% bracket of 65.1K (instead of the 67.9K for 2009). Apparently this issue only comes up when you input QDIV/LTCG . If I input just ordinary income, Taxcaster seems to calculate correctly.

In the 3 examples in OP, the result is supposed to be identical since taxable income in all cases is less than the 15% bracket upper limit
and the QDIV/CG rate is 0%. However Taxcaster calculates an increased tax for example B).

I don't know how that relates to the real TurboTax software but I am beginning to have a feel for TurboTax customer support. I e-mailed them a question and they said to call a toll-free number. I did that but after holding for >30min I gave up. Hope that's not how they treat the real customers. They seem to be very interested in their customer support since I got an e-mail survey to complete. I told them everything and now am curious to see if they respond.
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:15 AM   #14
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... They seem to be very interested in their customer support since I got an e-mail survey to complete. ...



I don't use TurboTax anymore because they had a *known* bug in their program, but didn't do anything to tell their customers about it. I spent hours checking, figuring that I was doing it wrong, or had the wrong idea on it, then I spent hours on their forums, and finally found a rep saying "Oh yeah, just do x,y,z , clear that input, re-enter and that should fix it" Great, why don't you flag that in the program and point me to the work-around, rather than make me search for it.

They never answered my emails about this. I wouldn't stay on hold long enough to get to a rep.

Worst part is, it was only my knowledge of tax code that alerted me to the error. The error was such that it would have just led me to not take advantage of a deduction. So there would be no trigger from the IRS that I did anything wrong, but I would have been out $$$ by a lost opportunity. How many people never caught the error of omission? And if you read their 'guarantee', I'd bet it doesn't cover omission errors, just things flagged by the IRS. Great.

I thought I bought the tax program so I didn't need to know the tax code? I've been using TaxAct for a few years now, maybe their Customer Support is no better, but I haven't needed it yet, so we will see.

-ERD50
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