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March 2001




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Review: TurboTax Deluxe

by Gregory Tetrault,


Developer: Intuit

Price: $39.95

Requirements: Mac OS 7.6, 45 MB hard disk space (more if state forms are downloaded).

Recommended: Monitor with millions of colors, printer, Internet access.

Trial: None


TurboTax (formerly MacInTax) helps you prepare your federal and state income tax forms. The program will walk you through all the steps needed to complete and file your tax returns. TurboTax will use information from your previous return to get you started. TurboTax can import financial data from Quicken or other financial programs. TurboTax can also file returns electronically.


Initial Window of TurboTax


Intuit recommends disabling virus detection before installation. TurboTax uses a standard Installer VISE installation from the CD. The only installation option is the location for the TurboTax folder.

Using TurboTax

The first time you launch it, TurboTax opens the “EasyStep” window and creates a blank federal income tax document.

In EasyStep mode, TurboTax walks you through all the steps of completing and filing your return.


An EasyStep Data Entry Form

EasyStep includes optional brief video explanations and tutorials. You navigate among screens by clicking on blue text buttons in the EasyStep window. You can jump to another section by clicking on the numbered gray rectangular buttons at the top of the window or by pulling down the EasyStep menu.


EasyStep Menu Options

EasyStep screens associated with data entry also let you view the associated tax form in the bottom third of the window. You can view just that form by clicking on the Go to Forms button. You can get help or information at any time by clicking the Help button or selecting an option from the Help menu.


TurboTax Help Window

TurboTax’s form mode displays forms without the EasyStep wrapper. The icon buttons above the form reveal their function when the mouse pointer touches them. You can enter data into any editable fields of all tax forms. Double-clicking on appropriate cells will automatically open the related form (e.g., double-clicking the taxable interest cell opens Schedule B). TurboTax also helps you document tax information by creating “Supporting Details” fields. These are not sent to the government, but they can be stored and printed.


Form Mode in TurboTax

TurboTax gives you numerous printing options. TurboTax supports nearly all printers, including dot matrix printers.


Printing Dialog Box


TurboTax does not have printed documentation. Except for brief “Read Me…” files, all information is accessed within TurboTax through the Help menu or Help window. Online documents include “Program Help” for help with TurboTax, “FAQs” with answers to frequently asked tax questions, “Tax Help” for advice on completing the active form, “Gov’t Instructions” as issued by the IRS or the state’s income tax bureau, and “Data Source” which has direct links to the appropriate sections of your forms. Other online resources in the Deluxe edition include IRS publications, Money Magazine’s Income Tax Handbook, and a Video Library with explanatory and tutorial videos.


QuickView Access to IRS Publications


QuickView Access to Money Magazine’s Income Tax Handbook

Technical Support, Updates, and Expert Tax Advice

Technical support is available from the TurboTax Web site. Free program updates are also available here. You can go directly to these sites using the Online menu.


Online Menu Options

TurboTax offers automated technical support by toll-free phone or fax. This entails going through the usual series of menu options to get a canned response. You can speak with a technical support representative for the cost of the phone call during normal business hours (7 AM to 5 PM PST). From January 12 through April 16, Intuit offers extended hours technical support on Monday through Friday from 5 AM to 7 AM and from 5 PM to 8 PM PST and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 AM to 5 PM PST. The cost of extended hours live technical support is $1.95 per minute.


Part of the TurboTax Technical Support Web Site

TurboTax also includes a link to a Web site listing tax advisors. This Web site is run in conjunction with EXP. Advisors are organized by categories such as families, small business, retirement, etc. Advisors are listed by customer satisfaction rank. Most contact is via e-mail, but some advisors work by telephone. Rates are given for each advisor and range from $0.33 to $2.95 per minute.


  • Comprehensive program helps you accurately prepare tax returns.
  • Deluxe version includes one free state tax program, a credit for electronic filing, and extra information in the form of online books and videos.
  • Designed to let you add supplemental information for documentation.
  • Extensive online, Web, phone, and live technical support.
  • Includes tax planning options with advice on reducing taxes.


  • EasyStep can be painfully slow for simple tax returns or experienced users.
  • Numerous data entries require immediate recalculation that can take minutes, even on a G4 Macintosh.


    The Sometimes Dreaded Calculations Progress Bar


I strongly recommend TurboTax to everyone who needs to complete more than the 1040 EZ Federal income tax form. With TurboTax, you will save time, minimize your chances of making mistakes, and possibly save money by learning about deductions you may have overlooked. Even people who go to tax preparers can benefit from TurboTax, because it will tell you what documentation you will need. Having all documentation ready on the first visit may lead to faster preparation and lower fees. I have used TurboTax (or its MacInTax predecessor) for the past twelve years.

Reader Comments (71)

a brody · March 6, 2001 - 01:01 EST #1
Alas, Turbotax does NOT come with State tax forms automatically...sure there is software you can buy bundled with it tha thas State tax forms, but it is an additional $30, and then you have to hope the rebate that comes with it gets paid. Too expensive especially when there are free services out there. $40 I might have gone for it. But this extra $30 and rebate policy just stinks.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · March 7, 2001 - 01:01 EST #2
TurboTax Deluxe includes the ability to download software for one state. This is included with the purchase price and does not require completion of a rebate form. TurboTax regular edition requires you to purchase state income tax software separately. Many people don't bother to do this, because most states base their tax forms on the federal counterparts. Those TurboTax users just print the federal forms and use the information to manually complete their state income tax forms.
Miles Yao · March 21, 2001 - 01:01 EST #3
For someone who's used Macintax for the last few years, this review tells me nothing. I am interested in what is changed from last year's version, and how it stacks up against Kiplinger's TaxCut, which MacWorld gave a slight edge without really explaining it. The review claims that TaxCut will import your Quicken as well as Macintax data, while the company itself made no such claim. Not that TurboTax itself makes much intelligent use out of these data -- you still have to retype most of the dollar figures in anyway (e.g. W-2). It could have processed these data and presented you with a high-level financial analysis & suggestions on general tax strategy (e.g. to itemize or not itemize).
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · March 26, 2001 - 01:01 EST #4
TurboTax Deluxe 2000 does not differ significantly from its predecessor, MacInTax Deluxe 1999. The review stands on its own and was not intended to provide comparisons with competing products.

ATPM writers and staff members receive no pay, and many of the reviewed products (including TurboTax) are purchased by us, not donated by the vendors. Under these circumstances it is hard to do extensive comparative reviews of a time-limited product like TurboTax and still meet deadlines.

I. Balan · January 7, 2002 - 17:13 EST #5
Alas, Turbotax does NOT come with State tax forms automatically...sure there is software you can buy bundled with it that has State tax forms, but it is an additional $30, and then you have to hope the rebate that comes with it gets paid. Too expensive, especially when there are free services out there. For $40, I might have gone for it. But this extra $30 and rebate policy just stinks. My sentiments also. Last year, the rebate procedure was so confusing I finally gave up. No matter how I submitted for the rebate, I got a letter from a company called the Fulfillment Center that I sent the wrong info and I would not receive any rebate. If I have the same problem this year I will switch to TAXCUT!
Jerry Wang · April 7, 2002 - 10:57 EST #6
Everyone who does a review forgets to mention that if you need to view a form from a previous year of TurboTax or Taxcut, you'd better have that year's program. The latest program does not read forms from past years. If you tossed the CD out as I've done, they will charge you between $30-$70 for the privilege of getting an obsolete program that you've already bought.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · April 7, 2002 - 12:21 EST #7
Mr. Wang is correct. All users should remember that new versions of TurboTax can import information from the previous year's forms, but cannot open those forms. You need to save each year's application to view or modify your previous returns. Personal income tax filers need to keep tax records for at least 3 years. That means keeping the TurboTax application if you do not keep printed copies of your forms. I have the disks and manuals for every TurboTax or MacInTax program I've used since 1989. This helped a lot when I had to amend my tax returns going back three years.
anonymous · January 14, 2003 - 13:01 EST #8
This new registration scheme sucks. I not only must keep the disc, but must re-register the software if I need to reinstall it! What a joke. I will be looking for another tax program as of this year!
anonymous · January 19, 2003 - 05:47 EST #9
Intuit is following in the footsteps of giants. Wrongheaded, mistrustful, over-controlling giants.

When Microsoft released Office XP and Windows XP with product activation embedded in both products, consumers and pundits alike responded with a gigantic hue and cry. Many Windows users were angry and felt betrayed by Microsoft. Others were uneasy and wondered whether product activation in Microsoft's products was a grim harbinger of things to come in the software industry.

Well wonder no more. Product activation has now made its way into one of the most popular software programs ever created, TurboTax. And, as an extra bonus, the latest release of TurboTax comes with Macrovision's obnoxious C-Dilla malware. C-Dilla prevents you from copying the CD by disabling your CD-RW drive. That means it's monitoring your CD writing activities all the time, as if you needed more processes running on your machine. Early reports from some users indicate that C-Dilla has caused interference with other software and that it is inordinately difficult to get rid of, perhaps requiring a low-level hard disk format. And to make things even dicier, Intuit apparently did not overtly inform purchasers of the new TurboTax that C-Dilla was included and would be installed on their systems.

We published a heads-up about this recently (TurboTax customers upset by DRM) and the response from TurboTax customers was overwhelmingly angry and negative in the discussion in the ET forum. Intuit has sown the seeds of a mass migration from its tax software to competitors such as TaxCut (see PC Magazine's review of TaxCut). If you read the posts in the discussion, you'll see that many come from longtime TurboTax users who have vowed not to purchase Intuit products again until the spyware and activation are removed.

Anger at Intuit wasn't just apparent in the ET and PCMag forums. The Member Reviews area on PCMag also had very negative comments (see the TurboTax review link above and scroll down to read member comments). And former Intuit customers aren't just posting in our forums, they are taking their case directly to Intuit.

In my own case, I was on the verge of buying TurboTax until I caught the review we published on PCMag and noticed the blurb about activation. Unfortunately, we missed the C-Dilla thing, but as always, sharp-eyed readers caught the omission and gave us a heads-up about it. When it came time for me to buy my tax software, guess which product I picked? You got it--TaxCut. I didn't give TurboTax a second thought, nor will I until product activation and spyware are completely removed from the product.

There's a lesson here for all companies: don't put activation and spyware into your products. Microsoft got away with it to a certain extent because it pretty much has a monopoly (at least for the time being). It can do certain things with impunity that other companies simply can't get away with. Intuit is not Microsoft and it, along with every other software company out there, had better realize that and act accordingly. Otherwise, they had better get ready to lose customers to their non-spyware, non-activation competition.

We all need to make our voices heard. This is no time to hang back or be passive. We need to take a stand and boycott all products that have activation and spyware in them. We need to contact the companies producing these products and let them know that we won't be buying anything from them until the spyware and activation are removed. We also need to contact companies that aren't including activation and spyware and let them know that we value their products and that we'll keep supporting them by purchasing their products.

H&R Block, are you out there? Remember where your new flood of TaxCut customers is coming from. Keep the spyware and activation out of your products and you will keep your customers--unlike Intuit.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · January 19, 2003 - 14:14 EST #10
The security features of the Windows versions of TurboTax 2002 (all personal and business variants) also prevent Macintosh users from running TurboTax 2002 under Virtual PC. Thus, our only option is to buy the Macintosh versions. There are fewer choices but, for the first time, the list prices are the same as the comparable Windows versions. (However, the street prices for the Windows versions are nearly 20% lower than for the Mac versions.)

The Macintosh versions of TurboTax do NOT require activation and have no anti-piracy features. That's one advantage of being a Mac user.
Paul · February 3, 2003 - 10:52 EST #11
Letter sent to Intuit Chariman: Mr. Bill Campbell
Chairman of the Board
The Intuit Corporation
Mountain View, CA Dear Mr. Campbell: As I have done for the past four years, I purchased a copy of TT Basic 2002 for Windows from a retail office supply store in mid December. My experience with the product has been very good, and up until this year, I have had no complaints. However, I experienced a technical problem during installation that is undoubtedly due to the new activation feature. Despite following the printed installation instructions to the letter, I was not able to activate TT because the Activation dialog box never materialized. So I logged into the support web site, and to my dismay, I find that the only contact I can make is via a chat interface, which is extremely unsatisfactory from a consumer's point of view. It is slow, impersonal and a major annoyance. Upon each of five separate sessions with your support staff (who I am sure were trying to do their best, and for whom I have great sympathy) I employed their suggestions, but to no avail. In addition, I find that there is no toll-free telephone number available for me to contact a real, live, breathing person. The final chat session resulted in an escalation to the point where I was given a phone number (not toll-free) and a PIN number that presumably would have led to a human contact. At this point, I wanted no more, and opted to return the product to the store for a refund. I purchased H&R Block's Tax Cut instead, and saved $5 to boot. This whole process took four excruciating hours of my Sunday afternoon, with nothing to show for it. Because of Intuit's attempts to save money by limiting customer support, I will never purchase an Intuit product again. Furthermore, I am taking every opportunity to inform my personal and business contacts of my experience. I hope that the people who are responsible for this imbecilic support scheme are satisfied. Sincerely, Paul
Robert Kowalke · February 10, 2003 - 16:48 EST #12
I've heard a lot about TurboTax from a lot of folks, including those who've used it. The activation is a sucky feature. I've been using TurboTax for many years but, this year, I'm getting TaxCut. I don't need TurboTax messing around with my CD-RW and spyware crap!
Alex · March 13, 2003 - 09:30 EST #13
I have used TurboTax for several years. The quality is average, but definitely not perfect. My complaint is the quality of their customer service. Before this year, I never had any trouble receiving the rebate. I followed the instructions as usual and sent the documents in for the rebate of $40, but I only received $10 out of the total amount. I e-mailed them to resolve this issue, but received no response. I phoned, but told to wait for a ?special request? to be open. I still have not received any rebate nor heard anything from them. What terrible customer service they provide.
Greg · April 7, 2003 - 20:28 EST #14
I just finished my taxes using TurboTax Deluxe, which I have used for many years. The program seemed to work fine until I tried to update it. I could not do an update over the web, I had to download a manual update and then try to run the patch. I spent at least 8 hours trying to get the program to accept the manual update. I reinstalled it many times and spoke to innumerable support reps, via chat, most of whom told me to do something different. I finally got it up and running and then, a few days later when I started TurboTax, it gave me a runtime error and I had to start all over. After another 6 hours of trying to get the patch to work, I finally E-filed my taxes and the program won't recognize the fact that they were sent, even though they have been. Their support is laughable and I will never use TurboTax again.
anonymous · April 7, 2003 - 20:38 EST #15
I have tried three times to get the update for Mac. I do not have internet access on that computer and have called for the update three times. What does it take to get a human being on the phone?
anonymous · May 11, 2003 - 19:33 EST #16
People who support product activation must be the same people who ran right out of the house and bought the DIVX DVD player, not even knowing that they would be paying for the same DVD over and over again.

I think more people should read up on product activation before they buy it or comment on it. Product activation is just a stepping stone for more to come.

At one time, Microsoft was working on a pay per use idea and this is the start of it.

1) I wonder if any of you PA supporters know that your computer can be remotely shut down though product activaction.

2) I wonder if any of you supporters read the agreement that comes with product activation. It states that you are buying a license to use the program. You are not buying the program. You don't own it and never will.

I don't know about you, but if I spend my hard-earned cash for a program, it should be mine to do as I please.

People, please wise up. If you keep going for anything that is thrown at you, after a while, you will be using your credit card just to get your e-mail.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · May 12, 2003 - 02:20 EST #17
Er, uhm—well, Mr. Anonymous, I won't counterpoint the merits of product activation. You may be right, for all I know.

What I will counter is your idea about buying/owning a program. Sorry to burst your bubble, but even without product activation, you will not own a program. Even without product activation, you still only own a license to use it. Sure, that license is a lot less restrictive than a license for product activation, but it's still a license.

I assure you, any software you buy is just providing you a license to use it. It generally always comes with some verbage saying what the license allows you to do with it. The software's developer still "owns" the program.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · May 14, 2003 - 23:20 EST #18
So, of course, now after all the debate about product activation--the debates can now be tabled. Intuit decided to nix it. This should make people happyl.
John Bright · December 12, 2003 - 12:13 EST #19
After reading some of the comments on TurboTax I'm a little bit afraid to buy it. I used TT about 10 years ago with very little problems. My tax man died so I am going back to doing my own and kids taxes. Will I be able to do more than one return if I buy it?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · December 12, 2003 - 21:54 EST #20
To John Bright:

Yes, you can do more than one return with TurboTax. I'm not sure whether you can electronically file more than one return. (This is not made clear by the license agreement.) You are not allowed to install copies of TurboTax on more than one computer at a time.
anonymous · January 20, 2004 - 11:52 EST #21
I'm a long-time TurboTax user, switching to TaxCut. Wake up, Intuit.

I have had the rebate problems and didn't like the idea of not being able to print from both my desktop and laptop last year. This year's new restrictions are the last straw. Market share speaks volumes. If enough people switch, changes may happen. Who knows, I may even like TaxCut better. Thanks, TurboTax, for making the choice so easy.
Tom Hebzynski · February 3, 2004 - 14:12 EST #22
I too have had problems like Gregg put it. I did my taxes than did the updates and hung machine up on a file every time, tried their online library which knew of the error, but couldn't fix it. Did everything it's said and now can't launch as I get a ttax.exe error. I'm ready to switch. Gregg wrote this in an April issue, wish I'd of read it sooner.

I just finished my taxes using TurboTax Deluxe, which I have used for many years. The program seemed to work fine until I tried to update it. I could not do an update over the web, I had to download a manual update and then try to run the patch. I spent at least 8 hours trying to get the program to accept the manual update. I reinstalled it many times and spoke to innumerable support reps, via chat, most of whom told me to do something different. I finally got it up and running and then, a few days later when I started TurboTax, it gave me a runtime error and I had to start all over. After another 6 hours of trying to get the patch to work, I finally E-filed my taxes and the program won't recognize the fact that they were sent, even though they have been. Their support is laughable and I will never use TurboTax again.
William J. Searle · February 14, 2004 - 19:38 EST #23
I've use3d TurboTax for more than ten years. Each year, it gets to be more of a pain than its worth. I always buy the deluxe version. It asks for a code before I can do a download and the code was supposed to be given at the store. I've called their 800 number and, after a long wait, was told it was with the printed instructions. There are no printed instructions. Why does everything have to be so difficult?
gbalkema · February 18, 2004 - 12:28 EST #24
Have used macintax/turbotax for over ten years. This year's edition is the worst so far, what really tops it off is a software problem with Form 1040 line 6C having to do with dependents, birthdays, ages, and child tax credit. Some combination of ages and checks, even though they make sense "like a child that is over 17 and not requesting a child tax credit for this child" results in a repeated 0370 error when submitting. TT can't fix it, they say wait for the update Feb 19th. THANKS!
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · February 18, 2004 - 21:23 EST #25
I have used MacInTax or TurboTax since tax year 1989. The 2003 Mac edition has an unbelievable number of bugs. I hard crashed OS 9 four times just trying to run the installer from the CD. I gave up and installed manually.

Instant update didn't work, and I had to manually download the updates. One of the six update files repeatedly failed. (I hope that the 3 forms that didn't get updated weren't relevant to me.)

I installed onto a non-System disk, and none of the TurboTax's help or document links would work (even though all the files were in the TurboTax folder. I had to move the TurboTax folder to the Applications folder on the System disk (something that should not be required under OS 9.)

Intuit had to e-mail me a direct link for downloading a state form: the website download repeatedly failed. Web site links from within TurboTax wouldn't work: clicking them or selecting them from a menu generated error messages.

If you haven't purchased TurboTax for Mac 2003, do not do so! Find something more reliable and save yourself hours of frustration.
Jimmy Moore · March 16, 2004 - 22:45 EST #26
I too have used MacinTax and now TurboTax for the past few years and have never had a problem until this year. What's with all the error messages? Every time I got one of these, the recommendation by the "support" (and I use that term VERY loosely) website was to "reinstall the software." Well, I've reinstalled it 10 times in the past three days and I still get the message that I need to reinstall the software before I can check on the status of my return. The return is off, but I have no idea if there is a problem because I don't have a phone number I can call to ask about this. This is DEFINITELY my last year using this piece of junk software!!!
M. Acton · May 9, 2004 - 17:53 EST #27
Have been a user of MacInTax and TurboTax since the beginning - 2003 version will be my last! One Click Update did not function - for changes Turbotax didn't put into place until Apr 13. Manual downloads took hours and hours - AFTER I finally got tech support to send me where I could get a successful download. I finally was able to produce and print the tax return. THEN, just this week, I went to print a copy of the return to file with my State filing. It has reverted to the original, update required before printing and filing, version! This is an intolerably sloppy piece of software work! I'll try TaxCut next year.
Ernest Moore · February 1, 2005 - 01:38 EST #28
Why do the developers have such a hard time fixing a product that will work the first time. I paid for the deluxe 2004 ver. and I get this error birthday,ssan and name don't match. I used TaxCut every year except this and seem to be going form bad to worse. Those guys all work together I know. Why do I have to pay $1.95 to talk to them about a product that they sole to me thats not working. I paid for it once. I wonder if the BBB is hip to this scam.
S. Benton · March 31, 2005 - 11:14 EST #29
Registration and getting online may be improved but what really sucks is at the end they then tell you the full price of filing.. THEN you have to sign away all your privacy to get the SBBT bank to with hold payment (BIG MISTAKE - DO NOT DO THIS) and so your money now goes thru the bank first before you get the refund. We all know what that means--- delay delay. Yes you can revoke the infomration sharing but it is too late after one click. I have used them for years and will in the future but I will buy the disk and pay in advance- not online.
William Trierweiler · November 11, 2005 - 09:15 EST #30
Last year I received the Deluxe and later I tried to download my state return and it would not work.

I fought with this for weeks before I could recieve a disc instead of the download.

I would order my new deluxe but I am afraid of the problems with down loading the state return again.
Bill · January 3, 2006 - 14:52 EST #31
Well this is my last year using Turbotax. They elimated the rebate for filing electronicaly. They calim there saving me money by doing this since most never ask for the rebate. I always ask for the rebate, especially since thay also charged for filing the state return with no rebate. Next year I'll be using H&R Block tax program, its cheaper up front so I know I'll be saving money even if they don't offer rebates.
Bob R. · January 6, 2006 - 14:16 EST #32
2005 TURBOTAX DELUXE -- INTUIT is now advertising on the web (state tax product for one state included) but not included with retail versions. Get this (from conversation today with their online rep).
"that page has nothing to do with retail versions, is only for Direct purchases" ... he told me that there are 2400 DIFFERENT retail versions of TURBOTAX DELUXE. DON'T BUY !DON'T BUY !DON'T BUY !DON'T BUY !
anonymous · February 5, 2006 - 08:11 EST #33
for the second year again experiencing problems with
deluxe turbotax program. Will not allow update feature to run. freezes when state program is requested for download.
Jerry Stroud · February 6, 2006 - 10:54 EST #34
First disk would not load (two computers, 3 different CD drives. Had to exchange CD at Office Max. Second one worked OK. Using Dial up, it took over 3 hours to download the state software files and update files.

Once I put in all my data, it told me to come back Feb 17th because the remaining 2 forms I needed would not be available until then. (You have to be kidding!!).

I like Turbo tax and have used it for the last 5 years, but this year the download time and lack of timely forms shocked me.
KR, new Jersey · February 13, 2006 - 23:09 EST #35
Good experience with TurboTax on Intel iMac - found in easy to use (first time using tax prep software). However, I feel I got duped by the bank option for handling the refund. The program doesn't tell you it's cheaper, and usually completely suitable for most people, to pay the e-filing fee by credit card. The SBBT option costs an extra $30 for not a lot, from what I can see. I have complained to Intuit, if anything happens, I'll let you know. If you're just getting a refund - DO NOT USE the SBBT bank option.
RP, Pennsylvania · February 17, 2006 - 21:30 EST #36
I've used TurboTax since the mid-90's. The last 5 or 6 years the online update feature has not worked. I have installed the updates manually. This year, I installed the update manually, BUT... the darn thing STILL would not complete the federal tax until an online update was done. So I went to Staples, bought TaxCut, installed, updated, and e-filed. I am requesting a refund from Intuit. Probably was my last year for TurboTax.
Dave Smith · February 20, 2006 - 13:00 EST #37
I'ver used Turbotax for the last 5 years. Always had some problems with updating the software, but the manual updates usually took care of it. Not this year, couldn't get the thing to update, the software wouldn't run or print things out properly without updating, and the website's suggested fixes didn't work. Add to this they didn't include a phone number to call, and I returned it to Best Buy. This is the last time I waste my time on TurboTax.
nodrog · February 22, 2006 - 19:36 EST #38
Have used TurboTax deluxe for 6 years. The CDROM sent me automatically was installed like a charm. Spent 3 hours putting information into file. Tried to open program one am and TurboTax Deluxe had disappeared. Reinstalled the software and received error message that my "trial version" had expired. Called TurboTax and was informed that it was a 1225 issue that would be corrected by 2/1/06 and added my email for advice when problem had been corrected. No emails! Called back 2/15/06 and was told that replacement CDROM would ship 2/17/06. No emails! Called 2/21/06 3 times for 45 min.hold. One kind person had me download off their site their product. Guess what, the same issue 1225 problem. Raised so much hell about poor attitude towards customer that it prompted email today(a first) saying the problem had not been resolved and I could seek a refund or put my return on their website for completion.If I were the CEO at Intuit there would be a significant number of openings in "Management" at Turbo Tax. The problem is not the tech support or customer people - it is in "MANAGEMENT" of which there is apparently NONE. The last six years were reasonably good. This year is a BUST.
unhappy customer · March 23, 2006 - 14:42 EST #39
We have an Apple PowerBook G 4. That is good because we have to take it 40 miles roundtrip to download the updates for Turbo Tax on an almost daily basis.

Originally we purchased a Basic Turbo Tax product. I called to get updated forms for Turbo Tax and was sent another Basic CD, not the updated files. Last week we finished our taxes and tried to download the updates that we were not sent. We are on dial-up. Our original download lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes. Our next download attempt lasted 3 hours and 23 minutes.

We attempted to print out our forms to file but were again told we had to download the updated forms. I drove into town and attempted to do just that at our computer store. After downloading the Turbo Tax the instructions said the updates had not been installed. Then the Turbo Tax would not open. The local Apple guru reloaded the program onto the hard-drive and again downloaded the updates. Everything worked.

I drove home, 40 miles round trip, and we attempted to print out our tax files to mail. Again we were told we had to download additional updates. Today we drove another 40 miles to download updates. Again the Turbo Tax would not open after everything was installed. I brought the computer home (40 miles, remember?) and trashed the Turbo Tax, reinstalled it, and tried to print our files. Guess what? Tomorrow we have to take the computer back to town to download the forms. Another 40 miles.

In our opinion, Turbo Tax is pretty bad. Apple needs to write their own tax program so we can trash Turbo Tax and use a Mac product. As of tomorrow we will have spent $26.25 cents on gas to download your updates and we still can't mail off our taxes. Wonder what will happen tomorrow? Want to guess?????

In our opinion, you have a bad product. Oh! When we called support we talked to the Philippines and India. It was difficult to understand them. Then I tried on-line chat, was told it was a 10 minute wait and after 30 minutes I gave up. Would I recommend Turbo Tax? You have got to be kidding!!!

Why don't you just send people on dial-up a new CD with the final version (i.e. after all the forms have been released) of Turbo Tax free when they call for updates? I know this is simple but it would work. Not everyone lives in a large city where many companies offer DSL, fiber optics and Wi-Fi. Some of us have one phone
provider, copper wire and antiquated switching networks that provide us with lighting fast baud rates of 10-15 Kbs.

I realize that the new corporate philosophy is "never talk to a customer". However, being able to speak to a real person that speaks understandable English seems to be a great idea. Oh, that person should be able to make an on-the-spot decision and send a customer the latest version of your product.

We know that because we spent over 30 minutes last night talking to someone we could not understand trying to convince them to send us the update on a CD. It will take about a week for them to arrive, then we will give it another go! Wish us luck.
Glen R. · March 25, 2006 - 18:58 EST #40
I've used TT for over 15 years,(back when it was a DOS-based program. Basicaly it gave you the forms to fill in on the computer and print out. The auto recalculation was a great feature at the time!)I will not be buying this program again. It has become less and less user friendly in the past few years. And now they are getting greedy. Thirty dollars additional to file Fed and State tax electronically? I don't think so.
I'd rather mail it in for 80 cents postage. We also owe Uncle Sam $$ this year. They wanted 2 1/2 % fee on the amount to pay by credit card! I, for one, have had enough with this company and will be trying some other tax software next year.
Steve Buss · April 1, 2006 - 19:08 EST #41
I have used TurboTax since the late 90's and the last three years (each getting worse) it's been a nightmare to get the updates to install. I've been wating for a month for certain forms to be released from the IRS, only to realize that the updates have not been installing. Yes, I'm red faced for thinking it was an IRS problem, but after 8+ hours of searching through TT's site and forums, including un-installing,re-installing at least 8 times,the TT the build was the same as it came off the disc! I have sent two e-mails for help and have gotten no responses at all!
This is IT for TurboTax ........ I will ask for a refund and never buy or recommend to anyone, their products again!
Walker/unhappy customer · April 2, 2006 - 22:47 EST #42
I have used TT Deluxe for several years and never had a problelm. This year is different. The program will not allow update feature to run and freezes when state program is requested for download. I have waisted two days following instructions (including reinstalling) for making this work. Whenever I try to print I get a message telling me to download updates. Whenever I try to download updates it freezes. At this rate I will have to file for an extension.
Joe Dillon · April 9, 2006 - 22:31 EST #43
Turbo Tax is an absolute nightmare!! I have been hung up on 3 times tonight after asking them to solve the error that keeps coming up - "Error building cache 209; contact technical support". When I contact them they tell me that I should uninstall all old versions (did not work) and then they told me my computer was the problem and I should have someone come and look at it. I use my computer everyday and it was fine until I installed TT 2005. Now, the only CD/DVD that will run is TT and then it gives me the error message. YES - I will go get a refund and never be back. If anyone can help please email me at

Robert Oehler · April 13, 2006 - 21:56 EST #44
I have been using TurboTax Deluxe for several years now and this year's version was an irritating disappointment. I am sure that somewhere within your organization is a programmer who is very proud of their "new and improved" version . . .they have no reason to be, the previous versions were more user friendly.
I registered my software and then when I inquired about a member ID and password it refused to recognize me so I could not download either It's Deductible or a state form.
Next year's version had better be a big change from this year's version or I will be looking for someone elses software for my 2007 taxes.
I can't express how disappointed I am in this year's software; I have recommended TurboTax to many friends before, not any more !
Unhappy Costomer · August 7, 2006 - 03:13 EST #45
After spending most of the day researching many different websites concerning the numerous problems encountered with TurboTax, I have come to the conclusion that anti-piracy schemes are at the heart of many of the problems encountered by costomers starting with the tax year 2002. These schemes have done tremendous harm to legitimate costomers and consequently the company will experience harm to the companys bottom line. It would have been much better for both sides if none of these anti-piracy schemes had been invoked. Instead of Intuit losing a little money to a few who would have used their copy a couple of times, Intuit will instead lose far more to the costomers who are now gone forever. May other software developers take note.
Mike Appleton · October 3, 2006 - 03:54 EST #46
I have been using Turbo tax for last few years. For me it is amazing software. Now counting tax is easier than I have ever thought about it. Now I prepared my home site about this products.. Turbo Tax

Regads, Mike
Donna Gaffaney · December 2, 2007 - 15:31 EST #47
I purchased a 2007 Deluxe Turbo Tax to do my taxes and there is no schedule D and I can't update it. I want a cd for this or my money back. I have to set up my taxes to know how much to estimate before the end of december...
ATPM Staff · January 30, 2008 - 12:21 EST #48
Regarding the error 209, there have been prior posts about how to fix it, but all of them came from users on the Windows platform which ATPM does not support.

One of those who commented, however, claims the 209 error is solved by installing the latest version of Adobe Reader and applies to both the Mac and Windows platform. Your mileage may vary.
Pari Jahan · February 4, 2008 - 19:44 EST #49
I have done everything but 209 error is there every time I try to start Turbo tax.
Erik Kengaard · February 14, 2008 - 20:35 EST #50
In addition to the criticisms listed, here are a few that relate to Schedule D, in case a Turbo Tax developer comes across this page:
The import form financial partners feature of Turbo Tax is quite helpful.
1. It would be more helpful if Turbo Tax provided, for Sched. D Transactions, import from and export to spreadsheet files.
2. Turbo Tax maintains an internal sequence number for each transaction. It would be helpful if this number were provided to the user on screen and on files.
3. Turbo Tax limits the number of characters of transaction description to the number that will show on the printed Schedule D, losing key information on import, especially for options.
4. Turbo Tax does not show date acquired and cost on the investment summary screen (used for editing). To determine whether data is missing, the transaction must be opened.
5. After editing a transaction, the user is returned to page 1 of the investment summary screen, and then must search for the next transaction to edit. When there are over 100 transactions, this searching is difficult and time consuming.
c waybrant · February 15, 2008 - 23:19 EST #51
I have tried to install TT for 2 weeks now and it freezes and tells me there is a TT error and send the info. It is locked up and goes nowhere.
I have used TT since '88 and last year was a nightmare and now this is worse
James Doin · February 18, 2008 - 12:27 EST #52
Can anyone provide the phone number for Turbo Tax Technical Support. The Support web site does not load correctly so I can not get past step one. If you have dial-up, do not even think about using Turbo Tax !!!
ATPM Staff · February 18, 2008 - 14:09 EST #53
James, Intuit doesn't appear to just flatly provide their phone number, and the reason makes a certain amount of sense--they're the type of company that could easily get overwhelmed with calls, especially considering the tax-related nature. Some sort of front-end management has to be done.

I just tried using the page to get to the point where you set up a support phone call, and it worked fine. So the Safari web browser should have no problem. Because I'm on Leopard, I do not presently have a way to test Safari version 2.x--only version 3. So, it would seem to me that in order to get the tech support page to work, you need to try using a more recent version of a modern browser. Older browsers might simply not work, including the built-in browsers of services such as AOL.
Manny Sabisch · February 19, 2008 - 13:45 EST #54
Have used TT for years and it has gotten increasingly worse each year. I have completed my '07 return except that I am waiting for investment mgr's Schedule D info. Upon reopening TT today to check on any updates since a few weeks ago, I'm notified that there are 6 Updates. When I press "Next" I get an error code: Error loading fonts:6541 (TPS FormView Initializer) at

I'm running Leopard OS 10.5.1 on a new iMac.

If I press "Continue" I can get into my return but obviously without the updates. Anyone else having similar problems?
Ann Hardt · February 19, 2008 - 16:57 EST #55
Tried to install 2007 only to find that I needed to upgrade to 10.4, and I only had 10.3.9. When I looked on the internet to download for 10.3.9, I could not use Safari. I have used turbotax for many years. This is the first time I found I could not use it. I enjoy my computer and am not ready to buy a new one just for turbo tax. I feel Turbotax did Mac users in!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · February 19, 2008 - 17:18 EST #56
Donna - it is, unfortunately, a simple fact of computers that if you are unable to keep them up to date, you may not be able to use the current versions of software. Because of the changes and advances in technology, it is not unreasonable for a software vendor to not be able to support any older than OS X 10.4. A 10.3.x version may simply be unavailable.

I believe it's harsh to suggest Turbotax did Mac users in since a likely very high percentage of Mac users are using 10.4.x or 10.5.x. Okay, maybe Turbotax did 10.3.x users in, but 10.3 is, after all, two full versions older than the current.
Allan MacLaren · February 27, 2008 - 15:20 EST #57
Is there anyway to send the return directly to the IRS bypassing Intuit's $17.95 charge?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · February 27, 2008 - 15:23 EST #58
Allan - :-) I got bit by that last year, too.

I haven't finished setting up my taxes this year, but I believe that instead of filing online/electronically, you can use TurboTax online to simply prepare your submission forms, print them, and mail them to the IRS.
Ann Santos · March 24, 2008 - 11:03 EST #59
I completed my taxes a week ago with TurboTax Deluxe; however, I just found out that I have another 1098-E to enter. I tried accessing my files, but to no avail. Is there anyway I can update my tax forms once I've completed them? (I haven't filed anything yet.)
Nick Pacalo · March 27, 2008 - 19:21 EST #60
I have the same problem as James Doin. I running Safari 3.0.4 when trying to efile I got an error (no error code). I tried going to intuit support and the page does not work. Pops a window for software, then just ignores everything else. I rebooted, went back into tt and it says my returns are pending, even though I never got a transmission successful message. Any ideas I just want to find out if they really got my returns or not. Thanks.
Dan · April 15, 2008 - 09:26 EST #61
This year's TurboTax is a complete bust. I've been trying to e-file my forms for over 8 hours now (all night long), and it continually fails. When it does give an hour (after at least an hour of trying), it says "no internet connection."

Of course, my internet connection is fine. I guess it's off to find a printer for me, then to the post office. Great.

By the way, doesn't respond at all -- it's like Intuit has dropped off the internet.

On a completely different note: As for Lee Bennett's comments above, I completely disagree. Apple has gotten worse than Microsoft as far as forcing upgrades on people. You shouldn't have to buy a new OS every year for another $100 -- it's absolutely ridiculous. It's fine for Apple to release new features in a point release of the OS, but it is absolutely critical to support (and have software support) the old versions.

Turbo Tax 2007: Epic Fail.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · April 15, 2008 - 10:00 EST #62
Dan - Having now actually filed, I admit I was wrong, and I still had to pay TurboTax to complete my file and access a PDF that I could print, but that was only Intuit's fee. I avoided the additional charges by not e-filing or using that weird convenient-pay service. I just printed out the 1040 from TurboTax Online, and mailed it off with my payment.

As for the remainder of your comment, I won't argue your point about the $100 OS updates, but that statement immediately following your disagreement with my earlier comment makes no sense, because what I said had absolutely nothing to do with the OS—only Intuit's fees.
Dan · April 15, 2008 - 14:16 EST #63
Lee - Sorry, I guess I was unclear. I was referring to comment #56, where you said Because of the changes and advances in technology, it is not unreasonable for a software vendor to not be able to support any older than OS X 10.4. A 10.3.x version may simply be unavailable.

I believe it's harsh to suggest Turbotax did Mac users in since a likely very high percentage of Mac users are using 10.4.x or 10.5.x. Okay, maybe Turbotax did 10.3.x users in, but 10.3 is, after all, two full versions older than the current.

And I understand that it's very difficult for a software vendor to support additional versions of the OS; I should have made it clear that my ire is at Apple. If they're going to release new versions of the OS, they better make darn sure they're backwards compatible so the don't create a nightmare for vendors like Intuit.

As an aside, Intuit got the website back online this morning (after at least 10 hours of downtime). I shelled out the extra bucks and filed that way.
Michael Tsai (ATPM Staff) · April 15, 2008 - 14:33 EST #64
Dan: In most cases, Apple does make new versions of the OS backwards compatible. There are two basic issues for developers (of which I am one):

1. The more versions of the OS that the developer supports, the most testing work needs to be done. Even just supporting back to 10.4, there are four OS configurations to test (10.4 PPC, 10.4 Intel, 10.5 PPC, 10.5 Intel), and that's not counting bug-fix versions or 64-bit.

2. The OS may include new technology that the developer wants to take advantage of. Depending on the technology, this may mean more work to implement the feature on older versions of the OS, or more work to make the application run on older versions of the OS while omitting support for the new feature, or perhaps the application's architecture is such that it cannot reasonably support the new technology and old versions of the OS at the same time.
anonymous · April 16, 2008 - 10:46 EST #65
I bought Deluxe Turbo Tax and was not able to file my taxes with it. Even on April 15 I still had the message that Form 1040, Schedule A and Schedule D were not ready yet! They would be available soon! You can be sure that I will not waste $49.95 on Turbo Tax next year.

Mary McDonough
Carl · December 4, 2008 - 18:14 EST #66
Intuit is trying to pull a fast one on consumers this year by including e-filing "at no extra charge."

Intuit is promoting that they are including one free e-file with its software for tax year 2008, but has also increased the price of its products by about $15. In previous years, they would charge $15 extra to e-file, but you could send in a rebate to get that $15 back, which made it effectively free. This year, they charge you $15 upfront, whether you use the e-file or not, which means EVERYBODY PAYS MORE.

In addition, they have changed their product's license from allowing a purchaser of TurboTax to prepare up to five tax returns within the household in the 2007 version to allowing only one tax return (with included e-file) and then charging $9.95 for each additional return prepared, WHETHER THOSE ADDITIONAL RETURNS ARE PRINTED OR E-FILED in the 2008 version. The additional charges for additional e-file submissions would be fair, but not for additional preparations and printed returns. So what this means is that, under the guise of providing free e-file, Intuit will charge up to $54.80 ($15 + 4 * 9.95) MORE to consumers to receive the equivalent of what was provided with the 2007 version. Keep in mind, they are charging even if you prepare and print more than one return without e-filing, which means there is NO COST TO THEM, but they want to charge you for it anyway.

This doesn't sound free to me.

This will affect many users who prepare one main return, and then a few more simple ones for children or parents, etc. Even if you only do one return, you should avoid this year's TurboTax on principle. The core issue is that Intuit is trying to change TurboTax from a tool-based product model to a service-based model. However, they have not changed the pricing to reflect this change. The problem is, they want to continue pricing the product like they did before, when it was a tool that could be used multiple times, yet restrict it like a service where you pay for every use.

If you object to the one return policy, Intuit will just say, "Use TurboTax Online, it's free for simple returns!", but this suggestion is just a distraction in this discussion. What they are saying is like this: Suppose I bought a nice brand-name toolset for full price and used it on one project. I've now setup all the tools in the box just like I like it and become totally familiar with the tools and how they can be used, so much that I can just reach in the box without looking and find the tool I need and once I get it out I know just how hard to hit with that hammer. I finish the project and close up my toolbox for the day. The next day, my mom wants me to fix something so I get the toolbox but I now find that it is locked and has a security sticker on it saying that I'll have to pay $10 extra to open the toolbox for each additional project. Or, I can pack up my mom's item and drive it to the hardware store where they will let me borrow some simple tools to try and fix the item but if it gets too complicated over there, they'll start charging me to rent additional tools. Not to mention that I have to throw away all the learning that I've already developed with the great toolset that I already bought and learn another whole set of rental tools at the hardware store. If I wanted to rent tools, then I wouldn't have bought the toolbox in the first place (which was probably what the hardware store really wanted when they came up with this scheme).

Here is the problem people have with this scenario:

Last year, the toolbox included 5 uses. This year the toolbox costs $15 more but only allows a single use. Ok, it adds a "free" service that used to cost $15 but we may or may not want to use that service and if we did, we could send in a rebate for to get the $15 back, making it effectively free. But "Free service" aside, what happened to the value of those unlimited uses? The price of the toolbox stayed the same, but the functionality went down because we can only use it once. Maybe it would be more ok if there was a big sign at the store that said: "SAVE ON THIS TOOLBOX! YOU CAN ONLY USE IT ONCE BUT IT'S CHEAPER!" Or at have the decency to post a very big warning: "THIS TOOLBOX COSTS THE SAME AS LAST YEAR, BUT YOU CAN ONLY USE IT ONCE!"

Don't let them get away this price increase that has no basis in common sense. Avoid TurboTax this year until they change this ridiculous policy, even if you only prepare a single return with it. If you buy it, they'll use your sales data to justify this unreasonable change, then who knows what else they will try to charge us for next for doing nothing on their part.

Looking at the big picture, what Intuit probably wants in the long term is to move people away from the boxed product and over onto the online product and then kill off the boxed product. This would eliminate the costs of physical production and distribution and the bandwidth costs of distributing software updates. It would also eliminate the slice of the profits given to retailers that sell their boxed product and kill off any promotional pricing or freebies. With no retailer competition, Intuit could charge whatever they want for their online service. It would also increase customer lock-in since their data would be purely stored on their own company servers.
John Stickler · February 5, 2009 - 15:36 EST #67
Using TurboDeluxe with Mac computer. Is there a way to input data to TurboTax 2008 manually other than through preliminary input data TT forms? As I remember, previous TT allowed you to do this using the OPTION key which then allowed data to be inserted manually.
Patricia Peterman · March 21, 2009 - 14:28 EST #68
Can you give me a telephone number to reach someone from Turbo Tax. I am have problems.

Patricia Peterman
ATPM Staff · March 21, 2009 - 15:37 EST #69
Patricia - contact information is at
joe blow · February 26, 2010 - 14:27 EST #70
Halfway through the delux version, they try to force me to buy the upgraded "premier" version in order to import and complete the cap gains portion.The basic version did this last year no problem.Be sure to read the fine print on the back of the box.I will never use their crap again.
John Stickler · February 28, 2010 - 16:36 EST #71
Thanks for forwarding your TurboTax message on to me. (Perhaps it got forwarded automatically, I do not know) TurboTax can be frustrating and I understand your anger. I believe what is happening with TurboTax and perhaps explains why you and I have these frustrating experiences, is that they have designed their tax program to operate more efficiently using the Step-by-Step procedure or "the interview mode" whereby TurboTax asks questions and then you respond to the question with an answer which get automatically put into the tax software data base. I used TurboTax to do taxes which involved some Capital Gains (not that I have a lot of investments or money, for that matter.) I discovered to my amazement that I could use their question and answer routine without too much frustration and also got the feeling that the info was getting into the program more accurately than if I tried to input everything myself.

I ran into another problem which I will pass onto you. I tried using TurboTax to do my taxes as well as my brother's on the same hard drive. I ran into a problem that once I started using TT to do my taxes and then tried to use TT to do my brother's taxes, the program always started up with my tax program and somehow couldn't access my brother's. It drove me 'nuts' until I realized that one must use "Get Info" to get the program to boot-up with the particular tax you wish to work with. Still it seemed that not always could I get the TT to bring-up the "Get Info" which offered this option. I solved this problem by storing one tax program on my main iMac drive and the other tax program on an external boot-up drive.

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