TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Minnesota Department of Revenue Warns Taxpayers: Don't Use TurboTax

TurboTax (2013)Minneapolis Star Tribune:  Don't Use TurboTax, Minnesota Department of Revenue Warns Taxpayers:

Citing "multiple issues with the products", the Minnesota Department of Revenue issued a crisp statement today urging tax filers to avoid using Intuit products to prepare or file their state income taxes. The products include TurboTax, Lacerte, Intuit online and ProSeries.

The state warned it using the products could "jeopardize the accuracy of your return or delay your return."

In a conference call, the department said there were multiple issues with the software including assigning political contributions to the wrong party, failing to give an education credit for multiple dependents, incorrectly calculating property tax refunds, and a variety of other calculation errors. Some of these issues surfaced just in the past several days, according to Terri Steenblock, assistant commission for the department. 

(Hat Tip: Bob Kamman.)

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"...the department said there were multiple issues with the software including assigning political contributions to the wrong party."

Intuit -- The preferred software provider for Democratic csbinet members, vote tabulation, and fund raising.

Posted by: Woody | Mar 9, 2013 8:18:13 PM

"...including assigning political contributions to the wrong party..." Does this imply that you can write off political contributions? I thought you couldn't.

Posted by: egoist | Mar 10, 2013 5:48:13 AM

ProSeries is their product for tax professionals. This is not good.

Posted by: Tax Attorney | Mar 10, 2013 6:01:49 AM

I call bullshit - no specific examples are cited just vague dire warnings of a state bureaucrat.

Posted by: Sotiredofitall | Mar 10, 2013 7:32:10 AM

When the tax code has gotten so complicated that professional tax software cannot keep up with it..... I don't think the problem is the software.

This country's governance is becoming ridiculous.

Posted by: Danny | Mar 10, 2013 7:46:30 AM

NOW they tell me!

Posted by: Tim Geithner | Mar 10, 2013 8:18:07 AM

Timmy, be gone with you! (signed) ooooooo

Posted by: egoist | Mar 10, 2013 8:26:27 AM

Lacerte sent out an e-mail alert yesterday (3/9) describing the Minnesota problem.

Schedule M1M
On Schedule M1M e-file returns where there are multiple children included in the calculation for education expenses, an error caused the line item and total amounts not to match.

Property Tax - Form M1PR Efile Direct Deposit
When M1PR page 3 worksheets were not included in the property tax filing, the direct deposit information was not transmitted with the M1PR.

Property Tax - Form M1PR Refund Calculation
For Homeowners with household income >$16,000 & property tax >$3,500, a higher refund is calculated than they are entitled to.

Form M1CD
The last name of the Care Provider is missing in the e-file.

Form M1MA Marriage Credit
On line 10 in the e-file return, the amount transmitted was $8525 vs. the correct TY12 amount of $8750. The paper copy of the return prints incorrectly as well.

Posted by: mark | Mar 10, 2013 8:35:13 AM

I call bullcrap. There's a lot more to this "story".

Posted by: Jack | Mar 10, 2013 8:35:31 AM

TaxACT. Been using it since 1998.

Posted by: George | Mar 10, 2013 8:49:40 AM

The U.S. Tax Code: when even the professionals can't figure it out, but woe unto any who make a mistake.

Posted by: Tim maguie | Mar 10, 2013 8:56:39 AM

Re: " mark | Mar 10, 2013 11:35:13 AM"

IOW these issues are specific to TT's Minnesota return software, it would seem.

Posted by: CR | Mar 10, 2013 9:26:12 AM

It would be an interesting way to raise taxes, wouldn't it? Maybe Jack Lew is behind it...

Posted by: A.G. Wallace | Mar 10, 2013 9:53:37 AM

I used Turbo Tax but filed the property tax refund section separately myself. Having done so. I'll say this:
The calculation procedure used by the State of Minnesota is a cumbersome pain in the butt.

They ought to look at this and try to fix it... what they have is broken.

Posted by: sjs | Mar 10, 2013 12:16:02 PM

Specifically, one of the big problems with the property tax refund is that Turbo Tax completely ignores the fact that total household income must be used in the calculation, not just the income of the tax filer.
However, having said that, I also note that the State of Minnesota requires adjustments to be made (via worksheets) to incomes other than the main filer's income... and that is information that may not be available at the time of filing and certainly is not directly importable (and may in fact NOT BE importable since it is from another person's private return).
That and the complexity of the calculation are why I say Minnesota needs to clean up its act in this area. We live in an electronic age and Minnesota ought to consider joining it... by making its taxes payable simply and easily on line. The Property Tax Refund procedure does not currently meet that requirement.

Posted by: sjs | Mar 10, 2013 12:24:18 PM

Wow, our tax code is so screwed up, even TurboTax can't calculate it right.

Posted by: OldCurmudgeon | Mar 10, 2013 3:32:06 PM

TaxAct is no good either. I've filled out the forms required to e-file repeatedly, but it just returns the forms to be filled in over and over. And Delaware does not accept the e-file at all, though I paid for it.

Posted by: Miriam | Mar 10, 2013 5:18:47 PM

Had problem using it for Georgia last year. It did not put some of the interest for non-mortgage GSEs under US instruments and I added them under miscellaneous. It confused the state's system and we spend six months sending messages back and forth. Had I taken the Georgia return and copied it by hand with the US instruments added to other US instruments, all would have been well.

Posted by: FranInAtlanta | Mar 10, 2013 5:58:25 PM

some of the commenters seem to have missed that this is about Minnesota STATE taxes.

Posted by: Marty | Mar 10, 2013 9:04:02 PM

Turbo Tax also has errors for DC/VA -- telling users living in VA and working in DC that they need to do taxes for both -- despite the existence of a reciprocity agreement between DC/VA...and this error has been there for 3 years!

Posted by: AG | Mar 13, 2013 11:00:49 AM