TaxCut 2004

Taxes are all done except the mailing. I was able to E-File the Federal return, but have to mail in paper copies of the Ohio and New York state returns, because partial-year residents can’t E-File. As usual, there’s a Federal tax refund — mortgage interest deductions and all that — but I was surprised to get a New York state one. We have to pay a bit more for Ohio, mainly because of contractor earnings and whatever end-of-year dividends come from the mutual funds.

We used H&R Block’s TaxCut software, and have been using it since Intuit’s C-Dilla product activation debacle from the 2002 edition. This is the first year I’ve had to call product support because of some glitches I found: nothing with tax calculations per se, but a weird thing where a couple fields became linked:

We imported our information from last year’s file. This nicely fills in our address, social security numbers, old W-2 info, and so on. However, the city/state fields in our Background information form became linked somehow to the city/state fields of my employer’s W-2: changing the city/state in one place would cause it to be changed in the other. This became an issue when we had the Background information corrected, but the company’s locale made Taxcut think that all the local taxes were being paid to Ohio instead of New York. This lead to a huge tax rebate for Ohio, thousands of dollars more than what we’ve actually had withheld for Ohio. Correcting the W-2 fixes this but causes the Background information to be wrong.

TaxCut offers a few ways to talk to tech support. I used the free phone call, and, on a mid-March Sunday night, only had to wait about five minutes before speaking with a human being. It took about ten minutes for him to understand the problem — he couldn’t replicate it because he didn’t do an import from an old return — and fix it, basically by going into the Forms display and blanking out the data in the city/state fields re-entering them manually. Not a bad tech support experience by any means, and I got a resolution while still on the phone.

The Ohio paper return was four pages, plus an Excel worksheet to show how we calculated the proportion of Federal adjusted gross income that was earned outside of Ohio. The New York return was 17 pages and was significantly more complicated because of a change-of-residency form we had to fill out that required us to list the income earned in New York or derived from New York sources, broken out by salary, interest income, dividends, etc. Annoying. Anyway, given the brevity of the Ohio return, we may just do the paper forms next year instead of bothering with downloading the TaxCut Ohio State package. Not sure what I have to do for New York next year, though.

Anyway, it’s off to the Post Office now.

One Response to “TaxCut 2004”

  1. lwright Says:

    I am done with Taxcut!! Their customer service ranks as the worst. I had used the program for years however last year I received a CD in the mail and ordered deluxe+state and then a second state program. During a move I lost the CD. When I called customer service they couldn’t find the order – it seems that there are 3 taxcut companies/departments. one for online, one for CD bought in the store and one for CD’s sent out and none of them can access the information from the ohter one. After hours on the phone I had to pay for everything again because of inaction on customer services part. They can’t find the confirmation codes given to me for the program and even faxing copies of their confirmation e-mail didn’t help.