Did Intuit do it again?
April 13, 2009 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Did Turbo Tax increase the price of their online service after I started my tax-return?

When I started my return, in February, I thought TurboTax Online would cost $29.95. Now that I'm finished and ready to file, they're asking for $49.95.

Am I imagining this price bump, or has it been $49.95 for TurboTax Online 2008 from the get-go?
posted by u2604ab to Work & Money (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This page shows a $29.95 basic Federal return fee (and $49.95 Deluxe)
posted by nelvana at 6:17 PM on April 13, 2009

It did that to me too. At some point it bumped me up to Deluxe and I didn't notice. I never did figure out how to downgrade it back to regular. The only thing I could figure out to do was start over again with a new login. Which was very annoying, so I hope somebody else has a better solution for you.

Though when I started over I made sure it stayed on the free version and I didn't pay anything.
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:24 PM on April 13, 2009

Did you do state too? They advertise Federal when you start, but if you do state, too, that costs more, and that's not really apparent until you go to check out. But for me that meant a total bill of $60 something if I recall. At $49, it sounds more like deluxe vs. basic. I started with the free version and they upsold me to basic during the process. I wonder if you took an upsell option in there anywhere.
posted by Askr at 6:26 PM on April 13, 2009

29.95 is the Basic price to complete and eFile Federal only. Including your state taxes is extra, as it notes in teeny tiny print when they show you the price (YOU BASTARDS). There is more than one place throughout the process where selecting an "OK" rather than a "No, Thanks" could sign you up to a premium service (YOU BASTARDS!). They are very bad about upselling, and I am too lazy to retype all that information into another program. Ugh, I have to go finish my damn taxes.
posted by nanojath at 6:28 PM on April 13, 2009

They jack up the price of all levels about a week or so before April 15th each year.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 6:52 PM on April 13, 2009

Best answer: There was a "seasonal" increase in the price around March 27 (see the page here). Not sure what the difference would be though. They should have sent you an e-mail about if you started your return in Feb. alerting you to the price increase. (I got one March 21).
posted by imposster at 6:55 PM on April 13, 2009

Response by poster: From the answers here: it seems like I was 'invisibly upsold' from basic to deluxe.

I note now: The path of least work and greatest cost for me is to pay $49.95 (federal) + $39.95 (state) + sales tax. Alternatively, for $42.99 I can download Turbo Tax Deluxe from Amazon, and get both state and fed for 1/2 price. Of course, I'll have to re-enter all my from this year, but I'd still be able to import last year's data, which would save mucho time.

I guess I have to decide now if it's worth re-entering everything in the next 48 hours to save $47.
posted by u2604ab at 7:01 PM on April 13, 2009

Response by poster: I didn't see imposster's post before my previous post.

What imposster wrote -- that Intuit jacks the prices around April 1 (March 28 this year) is almost certainly what happened. Thanks for the link to the intuit web site, imposster. I have no e-mail from them about this price increase, but maybe I deleted it without fully noting the content since it probably looked mostly like spam.

What a crappy business practice, though. I had the return essentially finished in February, but procrastinated about finalizing it because I owe some money. Now I apparently will 'owe' even more. I'll have to consider other options next year.
posted by u2604ab at 7:07 PM on April 13, 2009

I know there are many tax sites out there, but I have used Tax Slayer for the past 3 years. This year, I filed Federal and State electronically and it only cost me $10. Plus it was super easy and only took 20 minutes to do. Forget Turbo Tax and their expen$ive brand name -- go find another site and pay less!
posted by bengarland at 7:22 PM on April 13, 2009

You might want to consider TaxCut by H&R Block; less expensive, slightly less manipulative than the TurboTax folks. I used to use TurboTax, but got disgusted by their "business" practices.

HOWEVER, this year, it's much more expensive to get a State version in addition to the basic version; it used to be included for a very small extra charge. Now you have to get the Deluxe version or pay ~$30 for it. I decided to do my state taxes by hand, since they're typically a lot simpler. Did them today, in fact; not too bad, but a bit of a pain since the instructions are in a booklet and one has to _turn pages_. I got over that.
posted by amtho at 7:22 PM on April 13, 2009

Response by poster: I'll send a paper return for the state. Since I owe them a few bucks, I'm not in any "e-filing hurry" to do this. So I'm unconcerned about the $19.99 state e-file fee.
posted by u2604ab at 7:47 PM on April 13, 2009

Stick with TurboTax. Despite the higher price it's the better tool for the job. Yes, prices get upped in late March/early April.
posted by mamessner at 8:02 PM on April 13, 2009

I left TurboTax for the same reasons given above. I use Tax Cut. And I find it to be a very easy system to use. Next year I am going to find a free version or use the IRS free online version. I understand that when using the IRS version you have to look the tax amount in a table. The IRS won't compute it for you. I am guessing that is because it would look like competition to TurboTax and other "pay" versions.
posted by JayRwv at 8:15 PM on April 13, 2009

If you go through the irs.gov website, turbotax is free, even for the more detailed version, if you make less than $30,000. I did this and I only paid $10 for the state e-filing. Obviously this doesn't work if you make more money.
posted by mai at 8:29 PM on April 13, 2009

Free tax preparation and e-filing if your adjusted gross income is $56,000 or less in 2008, covers the most commonly filed Federal tax forms and schedules. (Via IRS.gov)
posted by flug at 11:43 PM on April 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

What a crappy business practice

Isn't that the chorus of the Intuit company song?
posted by flabdablet at 1:09 AM on April 14, 2009

We noticed the crap TurboTax pricing/versioning this year and went with TaxCut. We discovered, to our delight, that TaxCut gave us FIVE free federal filings (bricks-and-mortar CD version) We were able to do taxes for not only us but also our son, my mom, and a couple of friends and they could file their Fed return for free. The state filings were still $19.99, though.

That said, the online version of TaxCut was/is an utter fail, compared to the CD version for the same price.

I just don't get why companies take a perfectly good product (like TurboTax) and then bifurcate it into umpteen "versions" like that. And damned if you can tell which version is best for your situation, just from reading the descriptions on the box. I wonder how many people just opt to buy the most expensive version just to make sure they're covered.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:58 AM on April 14, 2009

I used TaxAct. It cost me $16.95 for one federal and one California return, including e-filing.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 11:46 AM on April 14, 2009

Just FYI, maybe too late-- I recently learned that if you have a AAA (auto club) membership, you can get discounts on Turbo Tax. Too bad I had already paid, but maybe this will help a last-minuter.
posted by orangemiles at 5:33 AM on April 15, 2009

I purchased Tax Cut from Amazon for less than it would have cost directly from Tax Cut (owned by the dreadful H&R Block). Instant download, although Amazon required me to use a downloader which installs itself to startup. Bad Amazon. I stick w/ Tax Cut because my mildly complicated info is already in Tax Cut.
posted by theora55 at 11:00 AM on April 15, 2009

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