Starting this year, people who prepare their taxes on a personal computer can’t use TurboTax Deluxe if they want to electronically file common tax forms, according to a Jan. 24 Wall Street Journal MarketWatch news report. They must upgrade to the Premier or Home & Business versions, which cost up to $30 more than the $50 Deluxe version as of Jan. 22.
This change has infuriated many of software developer Intuit’s longtime customers requiring them to buy more expensive software to complete their 2014 tax returns.
Also, customers with simpler returns face a similar issue: They can no longer use TurboTax Basic if they want to itemize deductions (such as mortgage interest or charitable donations) on Schedule A, instead of claiming the standard deduction of $6,200 for a single filer or $12,400 for a married couple. Now, they will need to upgrade to TurboTax Deluxe, which costs up to $30 more than the $20 Basic.
MarketWatch reported that as news of the change started to spread two weeks ago, longtime users took their outrage to the Internet. On Amazon.com, reviewers posted more than 1,200 negative comments, complaining of “bait-and-switch” and “price gouging.”
“The company seems intent on fleecing the customer by increasing the price with no product improvement,” says Don Rickelman, a retired entrepreneur in Naples, Fla. In the past, he says, he has used TurboTax Deluxe to report his investments, but now, like many other users, he is considering alternatives.
TurboTax’s two chief competitors – H&R Block and TaxAct – are using the controversy to try to increase their market share.