Quite a few people come to me start by saying, “ I use Turbo Tax….”
Scenario 1 – “ I use Turbo Tax to prepare my returns. Would you please check if my returns are correct?”
Believe it or not, it will be easier and supposedly in my humble opinion more accurate if I just prepare it based on the tax documents and run through my high-priced professional tax software. The simple reason is the logic and programming built into the software, and I have used both software and read their “returns” and what appeared to me that I pay more for a reason. Otherwise, I would have bought Turbo TaxÆ to prepare returns for my clients!
Scenario 2 – “ I use Turbo Tax to prepare my returns, and Turbo Tax did it incorrectly.”
With all due respect, a software program will just do what you ask (unless there is an Artificial Intelligence version out there that I don’t know about). The disconnect is “communication” – the software asks you one thing, and you think you know what is being asked and responded accordingly which isn’t what was being asked.
Words on the street is tax preparers just “plug in the numbers”. Yes, that is the first step. But, behind the scenes, I (can’t speak for everyone) check and double check the returns by verifying my input, see if the returns make sense and verify the “numbers” are going in to the right places. Ask my colleague, Jim, he would tell you how thorough and detail oriented I am. When comparing to last year’s returns, I check for inconsistencies which may need to be addressed, corrected or added. Furthermore, I will also look for some tax planning opportunities for the following tax year.
What “I use Turbo Tax” implies to me: The returns must be right since the software isn’t cheap and the commercial is on TV or whatever media all the time. It must be correct, but is it?
The price is not the cheap part, it probably right though.
When I hear “I use Turbo Tax”, I ask myself the following questions:
Does the user think Turbo Tax is as good as a real person who knows the tax rules?
Does the user think using Turbo Tax guarantees to do the returns correctly?
Does the user think he/she is able to use Turbo Tax is an accomplishment in itself?
Does the user think that he/she saves a lot of money by getting the returns done?
Does the user think getting returns done are the same as getting the maximum deductions possible?
Further, what makes the user so confident about using Turbo Tax? Is it because their parents or people they know all use it? Or is it because it spills out the returns and they look right? Is it because the IRS and the states accepted their returns when they use Turbo Tax? Or is it because they didn’t get audited?
I wonder. What gives them the confidence of using Turbo Tax or any software for that matter?
I remember vividly the first year I started working on a tax returns. After completing 4 years of college and then another 2 years to earn my MBA degree, I used a tax software, but I didn’t feel confident that I did it right. I looked up the IRS publications and read them. Was I just lacking self-confidence?
NO. I just want my returns to be done right.
I do not want to risk being audited. I want to take every deduction possible. That is just me.
How about you?
To the best of my knowledge and effort, I wrote this article in general terms as each person’s situation varies. Tax laws do change from time to time. No guarantee is made or claimed through this article. Personalized advice is recommended to consult’s one’s own advisor or contact the author.