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3 On Your Side: Turbo Tax Changes Anger Some Loyal Customers

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- When it comes to filing your own taxes, Turbo Tax is king.   Nearly 29 million returns were filed using the service last year alone.  But now, as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan explains, some of its most loyal customers are up in arms.

"People are just livid, they feel deceived, they feel they've used this product for so many years, they've trusted it and now they're being sandbagged," says consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky.  He's among the loyal Turbo Tax customers fuming after Intuit, the maker of Turbo Tax, changed the Deluxe version of its software.

Changes to the 2014 edition require customers to upgrade to more expensive versions when reporting investment, self-employment or rental income.  An upgrade can cost an extra $30 to $40 dollars, and is taking many customers by surprise.

Dworsky who runs the site says, "Turbo Tax Deluxe-users have been using it for years, imagine their surprise when they get half-way through doing their taxes and there is a road-block in the program that says you have to upgrade."

Products reviews for the 2014 version of Turbo Tax Deluxe on Amazon haven't been kind.  Hundreds of consumers have given the product a one star rating, leaving  comments like, "greed and stupidity = lost customers" and "this was disingenuous and reprehensible."

Intuit says the changes were made to the Deluxe version so that the software would be consistent with its online versions.  The company says that customers were informed in a variety of ways.  Among them?  A tiny orange strip was put on the back of the packaging, alerting customers to a change.  But Dworsky doesn't believe that was enough.  He says, "I think the company did a poor job of informing consumers to the changes."

A Turbo Tax spokesperson tells 3-On Your Side that about 20 percent of its customers use their desk-top software products and that the change will effect only a very small percentage of overall software-users.  She did confirm that some free upgrades have been issued to Turbo Tax customers who've complained.

A statement provided to 3-On Your Side said in part:  This year, we made changes to TurboTax desktop software because we aspire to deliver the best, Interview-based experience for your unique tax situation. That¹s what separates TurboTax from other tax software. Our interview ¬ which simplifies tax preparation and breaks down the federal tax code into simple, easy to understand questions - is how we provide real value to our customers.

In addition, the statement said:  Customers who need to move up to Premier or Home & Business this year will find that we have added a key benefit to these products--personalized, expert answers to your toughest tax questions. Our credentialed tax experts, all CPAs and EAs, are available via phone and chat at no extra charge (a $19.99 value)

Meanwhile, competitors are hoping Turbo Tax users will make a switch.  Dworsky says, "H&R Block makes a deluxe product also, they are offering a free copy of their software if you are a Turbo Tax 2014 basic or deluxe purchaser.  They are going to make the most of it and try to grab some of those loyal Turbo Tax customers away from them."

The H&R Block offer is being called "Switch to Block:   Here is more information for customers looking to try it out:

While TurboTax maintains that its advertising clearly calls attention to the changes in its product lineup , many customers still appear to be reacting negatively as evidenced by user reviews on

In light of this situation, H&R Block would like to offer any TurboTax customer who is impacted by these changes a FREE copy of the H&R Block Deluxe + State for 2014. We encourage these taxpayers to try H&R Block this year, as many of the federal forms and schedules that are no longer included in TurboTax Basic or Deluxe are still included in H&R Block software at no additional charge. (Fees apply for state e-file, and other fees may still apply based on your individual tax situation.)

So, to any TurboTax customer who has already purchased TurboTax Basic or Deluxe and wants to try H&R Block, just email us at and include the following information:


            Your name, address, and phone number

            The type of operating system you use (Windows/Mac)

            A photo/scan of your store receipt or a copy of the email showing your download code


Then, we'll send you a link for one FREE download of H&R Block Deluxe + State2. We'll even help you get started by importing last year's tax return from TurboTax for you. It's that easy.



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