Tag Archives: IRS

My Dire-y 05/09/2015, Update – TaxACT is TaxJAC’T

I am unhappily writing an update to my dire-y entry from 04/15/2015. I just received a letter from the Ohio Department of Taxation informing me of an error in my tax return. Evidently TaxACT reported $0 for line 9 – exemption credit, which should have been $20. So, the result is that I paid the State $15, when I really owed nothing in taxes. So much for their “lowest tax payment” and “correctness” guarantees.

Now, in Ohio, EVERYONE gets at least one exemption for themselves, and the Ohio tax instructions for line 9 – exemption credit state:

” If Ohio taxable income is less than $30,000, multiply your total number of personal and dependent exemptions by $20 and enter on line 9.”

OK, simple and straightforward enough.  Well, my Ohio taxable income was next to nothing since I am on Social Security disability, and my disability income is not taxable income for me, in Ohio. Therefore, my Ohio taxable income was most definitely less than $30,000!  Since EVERYONE gets at least ONE exemption, I therefore obviously qualify for the $20 exemption amount, TaxACT should have included $20 on line 9 of my return….but they didn’t.

Now, if they had made an error on a line in which there were a murky or debatable definition of the correct amount, it would be somewhat understandable. However, this was a cut-and-dry definition, not subject to interpretation, so the error made is such a blatant one. This is such a simple thing, which has been exactly the same for many years, so I am really dumbfounded.

Since I know my tax situation is rather simple (in fact, I usually enter the data manually myself on Ohio eFile), I trusted that a major tax preparation software company would most definitely do it right. I am frankly quite shocked to discover that they allowed such an obvious error slip past. Ya, ya, I know I am supposed to check their work, I don’t want to hear a lecture about it. But really, if I wanted to go to that effort, I would have done it myself. Since I did not care to put that much effort into it, because I don’t HAVE the energy to put into worrying about doing all those calculations manually, I decided to pay someone else to worry about it for me. I put in the correct numbers (which I did) – and it spits out the “guaranteed” lowest amount of taxes possible.  That’s the way it is supposed to work….Ya, right!

Obviously, I will not be using TaxACT any more to do my taxes, and unfortunately, I can no longer recommend TaxACT to anyone else either.

<dripping sarcasm alert>

I just felt such a tremendous burning desire and keen sense of duty and social responsibility to let everyone know exactly what happened.  So, I just HAD to produce this update!

(You know how much I just LOVE to b*tch….well at least you do now!).

Mark

My Dire-y Blog 04/15/2015, H&R Block vs. TaxACT

You know, I’ve seen a lot of blogs that are just people sharing their daily struggles and accomplishments with whoever is bored enough to read them. I have no idea why anyone would want to read anything about MY life! It is a really boring thing to tell. But maybe, it might be good for me to occasionally get some of my personal life, thoughts, and events down in writing. They say it helps. Who “they” are, and “what” it helps, I’m not that clear on. But anyway, every now and then, as a sort of therapy for me, and possibly to produce something slightly amusing or possibly helpful to someone out there, I will try to include occasional episodes of My “Dire-y” Blog. 8*)

Yesterday, I did my IRS/Gov’t-induced duty and completed my federal and state income tax forms. I always try to do it completely for free, but this not this year. I guess the tax help providers are getting wise to my strategy, and are steadily reducing what they offer to the public for free. The past few years I have been using H&R Block online to complete, and submit my federal form for free. Well, last year I got this little check for $22.30 for the sale of 2 shares of stock. This was probably from some past work “retirement” plan, but I’m not exactly sure (meaning I don’t recall at the moment. It is strange how the mind can just suddenly go blank about the strangest things, and at the strangest times. Just don’t get old, like me!) which job it was from. Now because of this piddling little check, I had to use some “part B” capital gains something or another tax form. Well, H&R Block popped up on the screen with something like, “ya, sure, we would love to do that for you, but it’s gonna cost ya”.

I really did not like that, since I had painstakingly entered most of the information for the federal form already, and automatically pulled in my information from last year’s income tax form, which H&R Block kindly stores for me from year to year…for free…’till now.

So, I did a little comparison research (Google, that is), and decided to try TaxACT online, for the first time. It ended up that I chose to pay a little for this years’ service, but I could have gotten away with doing the federal form for free. In the past, I had simply declined to pay H&R Block to do the Ohio State income tax form, and went to the state’s free e-file site for that. Anyway, they made me a combined offer for pulling in last year’s data (Hmmm, they never charged me for that before), and the Ohio state taxes for $39.99 (Jeez, I hate this stupid marketing crap where they think I can’t tell that $39.99 is really $40, and that I will think that $39.99 is a lot cheaper than $40. This crap has gone on for a LONG time now, and only makes head calculation slightly harder, and makes my head hurt, but I am not fooled, it’s still $40 to me!). The deal with TaxACT was – free for federal, but $8.99 if I want them to store it for 3 years, and $19.99 for state. So I went for it. They suckered me into ~$30, instead of the ~$40 I would have paid for H&R Block.

Next year, I should start earlier comparing the cost of the various “free” tax services. I used to use TurboTax on my PC years ago. Now they also have some “free” kind of online tax prep service. Maybe I will check out the cost of their “free” service next year. This year I didn’t want to screw with it, since I procrastinated till almost the last second. I DID get it done 1 day in advance, which is doing good for me! All of the online tax prep services do the same job, at the same level of service, more or less.

You know, I had really been hoping for the day I would no longer have to do tax returns, but no such luck. Now, we are required to file, just to prove we had health insurance, so the IRS can take it out of those who didn’t sign up for the “subsidized” ObamaCare health insurance. Even though I am on a Medicare Supplement plan because I am disabled, I guess I will STILL need to do the damn forms. What a pain! In this age of computers, why don’t “they” just do it automatically for everyone, and save us all the trouble (it is technically doable. The IRS certainly has access to all my financial information online, between my bank, and the SSA). But that would then prevent the corporations, and rich folk’s accountants, from doing all that “fancy” bookkeeping, which allows them to get away with paying a fraction of the percentage of their “income” in taxes that poor folks like me (and maybe you, too) are forced to pay. From recent news, we see that there are politicians that let their opinions about how the country would be better off if they refused medical services to the poor, and let the unproductive (i.e. not producing MONEY) scum die off. Outright, open bigotry and class-ism at its worst. I truly have a hard time believing that there exist politicians with balls big enough, and brains small enough, to “publicly” announce their outright hatred and disregard for other equal human beings. Worse, that there are enough people who buy into that elephant dung to keep such bastards in office. I really can’t believe that some members of our culture are still so barbaric as all that. In reality (at least I hope and pray), it is probably a relatively small number of self-serving and deluded crazies that are stupid enough and arrogant enough to believe and spout that total crap. Unfortunately, they have money and power, so they get away with it. Arg, paperwork…government…politicians…heartless corporations…

Please! Don’t get me started (its all your fault 🙂 ). Well that was yesterday, and today is a new day. Hope you were either amused or were in some way helped by my boring little blog. Have a Blessed day! And please respect every individual, no matter what their beliefs, race, sex, whatever. We, and the entire Universe are Divine, and intimately connected (oooh, that’s a scary thought). Even those slimy, self-serving, pigheaded, arrogant, evil, fascistic, delusional bastard politicians and the twisted political party(ies) to which they give dark homage.  Until next time, folks, Peace.