Out of Options With TurboTax

Out of Options With TurboTax.

think TurboTax would be the one Intuit product that wouldn't be subject
to any sunsetting tactics, since customers have to buy the new version
every year anyway. So I was a bit surprised when my recent story
about Quicken sunsets prompted some TurboTax 2004 customers to report
that Intuit seems to have retired a few features of the tax program.

One TurboTax feature that's apparently no more in the 2004 version
is the ability to automatically import files from sunsetted versions of
Quicken. “I use Quicken 2002, and I received the Intuit letter advising
me I had until April 19th to convert,” one reader wrote. “I thought I
was fine. Then, I installed my TurboTax 2004 — Premiere edition, no
less. As I started my return, the program asked me if I wanted to
import my data from Quicken. Well, of course I did. After beginning the
import function, the program then told me, in no uncertain terms, that
it was 'unable to import data from Quicken 2002 or earlier versions.'
Well, I guess April 19th comes early this year. Now, not only will I
not be able to use online services, but also I must print out my entire
2004 expense profile and then manually enter the data. I have been
using TurboTax for over ten years and have been very happy with it.
Until now.”

Another loyal TurboTax user found Intuit limiting his options in a
different way. “I have used TurboTax since 1993, even through their
notorious registration/spyware problems, because I trusted the
product,” the reader wrote. “I don't run my own business, so the Basic
version is all I ever needed or wanted. In the fall of 2004, I had a
unique opportunity to do a same-day sale of stock from a stock option
plan from years ago. No problem — I even tried a 'test' return using
my 2003 copy of TurboTax, and the program worked flawlessly. All the
questions I needed popped up, numbers went into the appropriate forms,
even a series of help items — everything I had come to expect from
TurboTax. Great; just buy the 2004 version in January and I'm all set.”

When the reader bought the Basic version he noticed a list of
features on the back. “Under 'stock options' is a bullet that indicates
the Premier version has 'Extra help for stock options.' Well, I don't
need extra help, just what was built into the Basic version. Wrong!
When I told the interview session I had stock options, it immediately
popped up with a message that this feature was only available in the
Premier version and would I care to upgrade online for $40? Of course
not. But I guess I'm stuck.”

What really bothered the reader was not the $40 upgrade but the
elimination of actual functionality in the Basic version. “My previous
experience with TurboTax has been that differences between the versions
were that Premier and Deluxe just offered you more bells and whistles,”
the reader wrote. “They had extra features that were nice, but you
could always do everything with Basic. Given that last year's package
contained the stock option functionality in the Basic version, and this
year's does not, I wonder what missing functionality we'll find is
'extra help' next January?”

Read and post comments about this story here.  [Ed Foster's Radio Weblog]

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