$25 TurboTax rebate might not satisfy irate users

Consumers should get a free, automatic upgrade

Published: January 23, 2015 08:00 AM

Intuit, the maker of tax software giant TurboTax, has announced it will provide certain buyers of its desktop tax software a $25 rebate. The news comes about two weeks after consumer outrage over a stealth price increase went viral. But the offer, which requires linking to a Web page to apply for the TurboTax rebate and doesn't fully cover the price change, might not be enough to mollify angry users, who in recent weeks tanked TurboTax's review on Amazon to an average 1.5 stars.

"We messed up," wrote Sasan Goodarzi, general manager of Intuit TurboTax, in a letter to customers today. "We made a change this year to TurboTax desktop software and we didn’t do enough to communicate this change to you as proactively and broadly as we could or should have. I am very sorry for the anger and frustration we may have caused you."

The change in TurboTax desktop products for this tax season required customers to upgrade in order to prepare certain tax schedules. For example, users who in the past might have used TurboTax Deluxe to prepare Schedule C (for self-employment income) had to upgrade to the pricier TurboTax Premier. Intuit says it made the changes to its desktop products to make the "product experience consistent" with that of its online and mobile offerings. 

Check our Income Tax Guide for advice and tips on preparing, filing, and saving on your return.

To make amends, the company is offering $25 to customers who used TurboTax Deluxe desktop software (CD or download) to file their 2013 tax return and now have to upgrade to TurboTax Premier or Home & Business to file their 2014 return. After completing and filing their returns this year, consumers must go to www.turbotax.com/25back to request their $25 TurboTax rebate. 

"This will help you move to the right desktop product, while reducing the immediate and unexpected financial impact," Goodarzi wrote. 

But Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org, a group that agitated early against the price hikes, noted that the $25 TurboTax rebate didn't cover the full cost of the upgrade in many cases. On the TurboTax site, an upgrade from TurboTax Deluxe to Premier is $30, and to Home & Business is $40.

"Intuit should be offering free automatic upgrades this year and not requiring users to remember to send in for a rebate possibly months from now after they file their taxes," Dworsky said.

—Tobie Stanger

Update:

Intuit announced on January 29 that TurboTax desktop tax software products for tax-year 2015 would revert to their former design, restoring the forms that were removed from this year's versions. And, the company said, in early February of this year returning desktop users who need to upgrade to Premier or Home & Business will be able to do so for free. 

Customers who already upgraded to TurboTax Premier can still access the $25 cash back offer through April 20, but will still be out $5—the difference between Deluxe and Premier. "Customers pay different prices for products depending on where and when they are purchased (retail or direct from Intuit)," spokesperson Julie Miller said to explain the discrepancy. "The $25 is the average difference in upgrade pricing and will make the vast majority of customers whole."

—Tobie Stanger



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