TurboTax is an American tax preparation software package developed by
Michael A. Chipman of Chipsoft in the mid-1980s.
Chipsoft, based in San Diego, in 1993. Chipsoft, now known as
Intuit Consumer Tax Group, is still based in San Diego, having moved
into a new office complex in 2007.
Intuit Corporation is
headquartered in Mountain View, California.
TurboTax for the Mac was originally named MacinTax, and was developed
by SoftView. SoftView was in turn purchased by ChipSoft.
TurboTax is one of the most popular income tax preparation software
packages in the United States, along with its main competitors,
Jackson Hewitt, H&R Block at Home, TaxSlayer, and TaxAct.
2 International versions
3.1 Writing to the boot track
3.2 Opposition to return-free filing
3.3 Repositioning of versions
3.4 Fraudulent return claims
5 See also
7 External links
There are a number of different versions, including
TurboTax Premier, etc.
TurboTax is available for both federal and
state income tax returns. The software is designed to guide users
through their tax returns step-by-step. The Turbo
Tax software provides
taxpayers additional support for their self-prepared returns by
offering Audit Defense from TaxResources, Inc.
TurboTax federal software is released late in the year and
the state software is released mid-January to mid-February.
TurboTax normally releases its new versions as soon as the IRS
completes revisions to the forms and approves the
usually late in the tax year. The process is similar for states that
collect income taxes.
TurboTax saved financial institution passwords entered by
users to servers at
Intuit and the home computer. The programming
error was reportedly fixed, but as of 2012 Turbo Tax offers no option
to download a data file directly from the financial institution.
Instead, it prompts the user for their login name and password at the
financial institution or permits the data to be entered by hand.
Intuit faced vocal criticism for its
scheme. The company responded by removing the product activation
scheme from its product. In 2005
TurboTax extended its offering by
allowing any taxpayer to use a basic version of its federal product
for free as part of the Free
File Alliance. By 2006 that offer has
been limited to free federal online tax preparation and e-file for
taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is $28,500 or less (or $52,000
for those in the military) and those 50 or under.
received a number of complaints regarding its advertising of the free
version. For filers who use this basic version of the software,
federal filing is free. However, state tax filing is not free, and the
cost of using
TurboTax to file state returns is not presented to the
user until they've already completed entering their information for
Intuit raised the price of
TurboTax for desktop customers by
$15 and included a free e-filing for the first return prepared.
The company's new "Pay Per Return" policy was criticized for adding a
$9.95 fee to print or e-file each additional return after the first,
including returns prepared for members of the same household. On
December 12, 2008 the company announced that it had rescinded the new
On January 21, 2009,
TurboTax received considerable public attention
at the Senate confirmation hearing of
Timothy F. Geithner
Timothy F. Geithner to be the
United States Secretary of Treasury. Geithner had testified that he
TurboTax to prepare his tax returns for the years 2001 to 2004
but had incorrectly handled the self-employment taxes due as a result
of his being employed by the International Monetary Fund. Geithner
made it clear that he took responsibility for the error, which was
discovered in a subsequent IRS audit, and did not blame TurboTax.
Geithner paid $42,702 in back taxes.
Intuit responded by releasing a
statement saying "TurboTax, and all software and in-person tax
preparation services, base their calculations on the information users
provide when completing their returns."
In 2014 the Times of
San Diego reported that 48% of Americans are not
aware they must report their health insurance status on their 2014 tax
returns, This report was based on a
TurboTax survey conducted by
Intuit also addresses Canadian tax returns with an entirely separate
product also named TurboTax, but previously called QuickTax. The
French version has retained its original name ImpôtRapide until 2017,
when it got renamed TurboImpôt.
Writing to the boot track
The 2003 version of the Turbo
Tax software contained digital rights
management that tracked whether it had previously been installed on a
computer by writing to sector 33 on the hard drive. This allowed it to
track if it was on a computer previously, even through reinstalling
the operating system. This also caused it to conflict with some boot
loaders that store data there, rendering those computers
Opposition to return-free filing
Intuit, the owner of TurboTax, spent more than $11 million on federal
lobbying between 2008 and 2012.
Intuit "opposes IRS government tax
preparation," particularly allowing taxpayers to file pre-filled
returns for free, in a system similar to the established ReadyReturn
service in California. The company also lobbied on bills in 2007 and
2011 that would have barred the Treasury Department, which includes
the IRS, from initiating return-free filing. An
said in early 2013 that "Like many other companies,
participates in the political process." She said that return-free
filing had "implications for accuracy and fairness in
taxation." This led journalist
Dylan Matthews to propose a
boycott of the company in 2017.
In its 2012 Form 10-K,
Intuit said that "We anticipate that
governmental encroachment at both the federal and state levels may
present a continued competitive threat to our business for the
Repositioning of versions
In January 2015 it become known that the Deluxe version no longer
supports IRS Schedules C, D, E, and F in interview mode. Although the
Deluxe version still allows entry into those schedules by means of
"form mode", doing so may result in the loss of the ability to file
electronically. In addition, the Premium version no longer supports
Schedule C or F in interview mode.
Intuit was widely criticized for
these changes and responded with short-term mitigation, although it
has not reversed the decision. On February 5, 2015
Intuit sent a
second email apology to current and former customers regarding the
decision to remove specific schedules from the Deluxe and Premium
Intuit also apologized for their poorly received initial
apology sent on January 27. In the February 5 message
that they would reverse course in their 2015 Deluxe and Premium
versions, including the schedules that were historically included in
Fraudulent return claims
In an article by
Brian Krebs on February 15, 2015 it was reported that
Intuit Inc. temporarily suspended the transmission of state e-filed
tax returns due to a surge in complaints from consumers about refunds
already claimed in their name.
In a later article on February 22, 2015, Krebs reported that it was
alleged by two former employees that
Intuit knowingly allowed
fraudulent returns to be processed on a massive scale as part of a
revenue boosting scheme. Both employees, former security team members
for the company, stated that the company had ignored repeated warnings
and suggestions on how to prevent fraud. One of the employees was
reported to have filed a whistleblower complaint with the US
Securities and Exchange Commission.
BYTE in 1989 listed MacInTax as among the "Distinction" winners of the
BYTE Awards, stating that "several of us have found [it] to be our
favorite ... a must if you're doing your own taxes".
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^ "Why has the price of
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Turbotax.intuit.com. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
^ Elmblad, Shelly (2008-11-25). "
TurboTax Removes E-file Fees".
About.com. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
^ Ahrens, Frank (2009-01-22). "Treasury Pick Misfiled Using
Off-the-Shelf Tax Software". Washington Post. p. D1.
^ Jennewein, Chris (2014-12-03). "TurboTax: Americans Unaware of
Obamacare's Tax Impact". Times of San Diego. Retrieved
^ David Becker (January 6, 2003). "
Intuit pours oil on TurboTax
^ a b Liz Day (March 26, 2013). "How the Maker of
Free, Simple Tax Filing". ProPublica.
^ The Tax Complexity Lobby, Len Burman, Forbes, 4/15/2013
^ Matthews, Dylan. "Why I'm boycotting
TurboTax this year". Vox.
Retrieved 1 April 2017.
^ "The Call for Boycotting TurboTax". Institute for Policy Studies.
Retrieved 1 April 2017.
^ Janet Novack (January 22, 2015). "
Intuit Offers $25 Refund To
TurboTax Deluxe Users Hurt By Software Changes". Forbes.
Intuit Cries Uncle, Will Reverse
TurboTax Deluxe Changes".
Forbes.com. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
^ "Citing Tax Fraud Spike,
TurboTax Suspends State E-Filings — Krebs
on Security". Krebsonsecurity.com. 2015-02-06. Retrieved
^ "TurboTax's Anti-Fraud Efforts Under Scrutiny — Krebs on
Security". Krebsonsecurity.com. 2015-02-22. Retrieved
BYTE Awards". BYTE. January 1989. p. 327.