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Tax software accuracy
Old 02-18-2018, 04:35 PM   #1
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Tax software accuracy

Had an "interesting" day today doing the taxes. No problem with Turbotax, it went very smoothly.

But I had bought a bargain copy of H&R Block Deluxe because I wanted to see how different it was. I won't do that again.

Not only did Block crash at least every five minutes, but it made two serious errors on my state return (Federal was OK). Those two errors would have caused me a lot of trouble if I had submitted them without double checking.

It reminded me of a few years ago when I did the same thing and also found problems with Block compared to TT. Last time the errors weren't serious, but this time they were.

Twice bitten, I won't ever try using the Block software again.
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:41 PM   #2
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Thanks for the reminder, and for sharing. I also bought that HRB to compare and need to get that done, hopefully this week.
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:00 PM   #3
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Which state? (And I see Kentucky, but I don't live in NY, but must file there.)

I use HRBlock and it always tells me that I owe no NY State income taxes. So far, so good.
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:28 PM   #4
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Which state? (And I see Kentucky, but I don't live in NY, but must file there.)
Yes, it was the Kentucky return that was wrong.
In one place it made a couple of incorrect assumptions and offered no opportunity to correct them.
In another place it didn't know about a provision that limited a deduction.

Bottom line, it was telling me I owed less than I really did, and also I would have had to override a few things and that would prevent e-filing.

I'll stick to TT from now on. The $20 I paid for Block was a waste.
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:33 PM   #5
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Well that's not good. I bought H&R Block too. Do I really need to buy Turbotax to double check HRB's work?
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:39 PM   #6
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Well that's not good. I bought H&R Block too. Do I really need to buy Turbotax to double check HRB's work?
Only you can decide that, but I would recommend to anyone that it's wise to download the full forms and instructions from your state's website to thoroughly understand what the software is doing.
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Old 02-18-2018, 06:56 PM   #7
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But that's why we buy tax software, so we don't have to read the arcane instructions.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:48 PM   #8
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I bought HRB deluxe plus state download this year to try out - didn't go well for me.

I had finished and was ready for filling and just waiting on HRB to get the final forms updated to efile first of February. When it did update rechecked everything and proceeded to efile Fed. In the final process, the efile required last year's AGI amount (for ID) to be entered, but the box was grayed out as the HRB software stated they did the input from last year - being a former HRB tax filer (I've never used HRB before this year). It was this incredible seven figure income number. No way to just click into the box and change number as HRB froze it. I've never had an issue (or fraud tax filing against me) using turbo tax for years and trying tax act last year.


Called them and spoke to a software support person that told me to just change it... Told her (again) it was not possible as the box was grayed out and frozen by the software (was an HRB software glitch), but then I told her to hold on while I attempted to highlight and right click to cut the numbers out which worked. Still not being able to directly input numbers in the frozen box, I copied and pasted last year's income from an email draft to that box successfully (none of this was her idea). The numbers went in successfully but were red in the grayed out box. I told her I was successful with inputting the correct number and asked if I should attempt to efile. She said yes and told me to call back if any further issues.

Well, it was rejected by the IRS. I called HRB and this time get to software technical support. Told them about their income verification glitch scenario and would they be fixing it. Person was as dumb as a post and stated they weren't able to fix this issue, and to retry. I went back into the software and went to refile, but HRB software now stated that the IRS would not accept efile from me and I needed to mail in my tax filing.

Needless to say - I mailed the state and Fed in, but pretty sure I'm done with HRB. Wondered if anyone else came across this or any other HRB software glitch?
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:07 PM   #9
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Made jump from turbo tax to hrb several years ago. Never had any problems and never looked back. Hrb has accuracy guarantee, so if there is an error they cover any penalties.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by fritz View Post
Wondered if anyone else came across this or any other HRB software glitch?
I've been using HRB for several years and never had a problem - but I don't file state returns. Sorry to hear you had issues.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:51 PM   #11
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Well that's not good. I bought H&R Block too. Do I really need to buy Turbotax to double check HRB's work?
I often use the the online version of another tax software program to verify the accuracy of my return, most of them only charge you when/if you file.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:58 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Had an "interesting" day today doing the taxes. No problem with Turbotax, it went very smoothly.

But I had bought a bargain copy of H&R Block Deluxe because I wanted to see how different it was. I won't do that again.

Not only did Block crash at least every five minutes, but it made two serious errors on my state return (Federal was OK). Those two errors would have caused me a lot of trouble if I had submitted them without double checking.

It reminded me of a few years ago when I did the same thing and also found problems with Block compared to TT. Last time the errors weren't serious, but this time they were.

Twice bitten, I won't ever try using the Block software again.
I wrote in a thread last year about how I tried TurboTax (to check my own numbers on what is a fairly simple return) and got nonsense numbers for my 2016 return. Even when I tried to put in some fake numbers to force the right ones to appear, I got more nonsense numbers. At least TT didn't cost me anything because I am a Fido client.

I guess in keeping with my outlier disposition, I am not surprised that TT failed to work for me. I know it works well for others, but to me it is worthless garbage. I guess I can take a little solace that a tax software package failed miserably for someone else.
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Kentucky is the anomaly...
Old 02-18-2018, 10:13 PM   #13
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Kentucky is the anomaly...

OP

your problem is it’s Kentucky

spouse was CPA and had situation where that was a concern and had to deal with it (something along the lines of “ f€## ing Boone county” or “arrg...Kenton county” “! although I remember that Boone was the worst )

not only do you have to know which county, which school district, which fire district, and a host of other things to know your state tax ; you then need to find the phase-outs, exemptions, restrictions for certain business, etc.
basically: few tax preparers can get it right - it’s basically the ruggedization test for any tax software or any tax preparer { so now you know that HRB didn’t pass- - and likely won’t pass in the future as they would have to put a lot more code and questions into the state return, which for them probably isn’t cost effective}
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Old 02-19-2018, 02:01 AM   #14
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I’ve used HRB for several years with no problems. I also do a non-resident for Wisconsin for my son, where I manually input the return to a Wisconsin form (HRB won’t e-file a non-resident form), and the numbers always match.
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:10 AM   #15
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I had TaxAct and HRB. My taxes are simple and both got the same result to the dollar.
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Only you can decide that, but I would recommend to anyone that it's wise to download the full forms and instructions from your state's website to thoroughly understand what the software is doing.
+1

You are responsible for the accuracy of your tax return (ie you sign it -- not the tax software company).

If you are uncomfortable learning the tax laws or reading the arcane instructions then I would suggest that you are a very good candidate to have a qualified tax preparer prepare your return.

Many free options for this out there as well as paid professionals.

When I saw my MILs returns prepared by my DW, I saw that there was tens of thousands of dollars of income each year that were being taxed at the state level that should have been exempt. I filed amended returns for her for as many back years as I could, but I suspect that perhaps thousands of dollars still could not be recovered.

Also, I find problems with the commercial tax software every year (TaxAct, TaxSlayer, Taxwise, etc).

The tax software companies market to you how buying their product will make your tax filing experience quick and easy on one hand. On the other hand they spend the minimum in development/engineering costs to bring the product to market that the public will accept.


-gauss

EDIT: The state I am referring to above was NOT Kentucky. Also I find many errors on the Federal returns also.
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:28 AM   #17
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But that's why we buy tax software, so we don't have to read the arcane instructions.
Exactly. If 5% of the users read the instructions I would surprised .
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:13 AM   #18
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I often use the the online version of another tax software program to verify the accuracy of my return, most of them only charge you when/if you file.
Oh, I like that idea! I just filed mine this year, so I doubt I'll bother, but I could always file amended if I find an error.

I had done an estimate run in December, then a separate real run this month, both with TT. I had bought a new laptop in the meantime, and copied all my data over to it, including last year's return done with HRB.

On the test run, somehow TT misread my status as married, and did my exemptions wrong, and also told me only part of my previous state refund was taxable. On the new run, it was fine. But that's the kind of thing I always check. I expected the full refund to be taxable, and when the number was smaller I looked to figure out why until I found it.

Obviously I'm not going to read all the instructions, but I do understand things like the ACA subsidy, how QDivs and LTCGs should be taxed, which deductions should be allowed, etc. I need to do this anyway to do my tax planning and decide how much Roth conversion to do, and how much estimated taxes I need to pay. As I do my taxes, I always look at the 1040, Schedules A, B, and D, Form 1116 (foreign taxes), and the Qualified Div and CG worksheet (where my taxes are actually calculated) to make sure all of those numbers make sense. I double check to make sure any downloaded forms are done exactly right, any info brought forward from last year is transferred correctly, and any carryovers are applied.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:42 AM   #19
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Never had issues with Turbotax for many years. The only complaints I hear are slowness with certain forms being complete which end up being delays in legislation (i.e. not their fault). We have very complex multistate forms and it has never failed us and yes we double check everything manually. Never tried H&RB.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:43 AM   #20
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One thing I didn't like about TT this year is that they are really pushing the $19.95 state E-file. In past years they gave an option to E-file now (with the tantalizing "Wouldn't you like to be all done now?!?"), file later, or print and file. This year they don't show the "print and file" option, though of course you can do it. For VA they didn't let me choose to have my refund applied to next year, or directly deposited. I had to go in and check the direct deposit box and write in my account & routing numbers, and cross off the "send check" box.

Despite the annoyances, I had a lot better experience with TT than my HRB attempt last year, which required me to file amended for a form they failed to include. It's a lot easier to find incorrect numbers on a form than it is to detect a form is flat out missing.
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