Saturday, March 20, 2010

Turbo Tax HSA Miscalculation

So like many folks I'm diving into my tax preparations and as I have done in the past am was using Turbo Tax from Intuit. It's all going along swimmingly until I enter my HSA information at which time it tells me I have over-contributed and tells me I will be paying a penalty for my transgression thereby reducing my refund by more than $300.


The IRS clearly states I can contribute $3000 as an individual:

Limit on Contributions

The amount you or any other person can contribute to your HSA depends on the type of HDHP coverage you have, your age, the date you become an eligible individual, and the date you cease to be an eligible individual. For 2009, if you have self-only HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $3,000. If you have family HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $5,950.

The Turbo Tax online support forum is full of complaints (for example) on this issue going back to last year with transcripts from support chats showing Intuit (maker of Turbo Tax and Quicken) agrees this is a problem and will fix it. There is no solution available and lots of ranting on the Turbo Tax site's own support forum. 

A search of the interwebs did uncover a potential solution where you have to go under the covers and delete some form to get it to work correctly but really, should I have to go under the covers to mess around with something to get it to work correctly? If this is a reliable solution then why doesn't Intuit have it available in its support forum?

It's a matter of trust

I found this error because I know what the right answer is and the software got it wrong. How am I supposed to trust this software to make the calculations where I don't know the right answer? Isn't the point of this type of application to correctly make the calculations so you don't risk making your own stupid mistakes? How many other calculations need me to find some obscure form and delete it in order for it to make the right calculations? 

If I don't already know the right answer and detect that it's wrong in the software, how would I know to go looking for the right answer. If I do already know the right answer, why do I need software to "help" me out with my tax filing?

Trust is a delicate flower; does it ever really come back once it has been stepped on?


  1. WD, their QuickBooks product is also full of quirky "gotchas" that are difficult to figure out. It makes me feel so secure since I manage the complete financial operation of our small business in that program. I find myself obsessively checking and rechecking things with a calculator. I don't care much for having to verify the software in the old fashioned way. I thought I bought IT to help ME.

  2. I ditched the software for an accountant three years ago. Both are fully deductible, so why bother doing it yourself?

  3. I stopped using any Quicken products years ago due to their overly aggressive upgrade advertising and their messing with the root partition when you installed Turbo Tax that shut out your printer and your ability to do more than one tax preparation. H&R's tax software has been my standby for more than 5 years now and I haven't regretted it all. I've also dumped Quicken and switched to GnuCash as my main bookkeeping software.

  4. I did not have that issue with TT this year. I agree with Yam, I do not like the advertising at all.

  5. Limes - I used to be a real fan of Intuit's products starting with the DOS version of Quicken but it seems to have gradually declined over the years and I, like brother yam below, am switching to GnuCash or some other open source product.

    Rider - I used to use an accountant but my taxes have become much less complicated and would more likely do it by hand than hire it done. I also pinch my pennies more now than I used to...

    Yam - I had just downloaded GnuCash prior to posting this so it's good to hear from someone else using it. I've started moving towards Open Source and this seems like a good option.

    MN Homesteader - I think my issue was with only a partial year but I agree that the aggressive upgrade spam is more annoying than the value provided by the product.