Caution: Turbo Tax hidden fees

For those of you in the USA, it’s getting to be tax season.

I just completed mine and had a horrible experience with Turbo Tax right at the very end.

First of all, I’m not that complicated. I can get by with the Free version. But… one of my documents this year was special and required a special form… oops, there’s $35 to upgrade to the next level. Okay, I can stomach that. But what’s this? Here, AFTER FINISHING ALL OF THE FEDERAL TAXES AND ALL OF THE STATE TAXES, which took me 3 full evenings to complete (and now it’s the middle of the night tonight), Turbo Tax SUDDENLY informs me that to use any of the State information I’ve just completed, I must pay another $37. If I don’t pay, I will have to begin the State Taxes again from scratch, by myself. So shit, fine, take more of my money. [You know, Turbo Tax, if you had been honest up front, I could have made an informed decision to choose your product over another method. I probably would have chosen you anyway. But now you’ve left a bitter, bitter taste in my mouth.]

Here’s where I really got pissed at them. AFTER you’ve elected to shell out a now minimum $71.98 you weren’t planning on spending in the first place, and after you’ve previewed all of your documents and are ready to file, you have a chance to select which method of payment to use for the amount you owe. If you select credit card, as I did, they tell you there will be a small “convenience fee”. Okay, I can stomach a small fee. So you go to the next page and there are all of the typical, happy boxes for filling out your credit card information. AT THE VERY, VERY BOTTOM OF THE PAGE, IN FINE PRINT, AND GRAYED OUT, YOU WILL FIND THE FEE INFORMATION.

NO. IT ISN’T A SMALL FEE. It is something like 2.49% of what you owe. I’m not kidding. I owed over $2000 [that’s less than I was expecting, thankfully], so that was not a small fee. I would have paid a $50+ “convenience fee” just to use a credit card, and they barely even tell you! If you aren’t LOOKING for it, you wouldn’t have seen it at all! (No, I did not choose that method of payment.)

So for those of you getting ready to start your taxes, just be aware. Turbo Tax is not being up-front this year. It did save me money compared with going in to a professional tax preparation company, but I will certainly keep my eyes open for new options come next year.

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