Friday, August 11, 2017

TurboTax for Dummies

1040 form
The year is right there, Damarious!
Back in late 2011, the freelancing universe was rocked by an update to Google's search algorithm known as the Panda update (not for the cute, cuddly "bears," for a Google engineer named Panda). The stated reason for the update was to reduce the search rank of so-called content farms in favor of "fresh" content, mostly on social media (see where that got us...). In articles about the change, frequent reference was made to low-quality information from eHow -- and today's DotD is a classic example of that substandard fare: the question, "Can Turbo Tax Be Used Every Year?"¹ as answered by Damarious Page.

Page, already a two-time winner of the DotD, claims to be a "financial transcriptionist" (whatever that is... he appears to actually be a customer support type). It appears, however, that -- whatever his course of study -- Damarious didn't take tax law or even basic logic to receive his certification. We say that because the question's really pretty simple, but Damarious misinterpreted it.

It's plain as the nose on your face that the OQ bought a copy of TurboTax (CD, download, online, whatever) last year and wants to know if he or she can use it again this year. The answer is quite simple: "No." A license for TurboTax -- all tax software, for that matter -- is specific to a given tax year because of changes to tax laws during the year. Every form printed or electronically submitted with the tax software is marked with the tax year.

According to Page's very first line, however,
"If you used Intuit's TurboTax software to file your 2009 taxes, you can also use it for the 2010 tax year"...
...which is true only in the sense of "If you paid to use it for your 2009 taxes, you can -- if you wish -- pay again to use the updated version for your 2010 taxes."

Damarious makes oblique references to payment such as, "You may want to consider subscribing to Intuit's TurboTax Advantage program" and "You will also receive automatic subscription to your software, possibly discounted, and charged the direct-from-Intuit price." However, the halfwit never comes out and says that the software changes from year to year and that you have to pay for a new copy every year.

     We think Page's omission of that simple fact is all that's necessary to qualify him for the Dumbass of the Day award. While he waxed ecstatic about the advantages of using TurboTax year after year -- and we have staffers who swear by the software -- he never quite got around to telling people that the 2009 copy they've already paid for is useless for 2010. Idiot.

¹ The original has been deleted by Leaf Group, but can still be accessed using the Wayback machine at Its URL was
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