PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Changes to the popular tax program, TurboTax, has some customers mad.
"People are just livid. They feel deceived," says consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky. "They feel they've used this product for so many years, they've trusted it, and now they're being sandbagged."
Dworsky is a TurboTax customer unhappy after Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, changed the deluxe version of the popular tax preparation software product.
The changes require customers to upgrade to more expensive versions if reporting investment, self-employment, or rental income -- costing an extra $30 to $40 -- and surprising many long-time Turbo customers.
"Imagine their surprise when they get halfway through doing their taxes and there is a roadblock in the program that says you have to upgrade," added Dworsky.
"It can be viewed as a bait and switch, yes," Prof. Bryan Menk told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday, "because people were not accustomed to this limitation in a prior year."
Menk teaches taxation at Duquesne University and uses TurboTax himself.
"People are expecting TurboTax to be consistent year to year, and this change caught people off guard," said Menk. "They made it harder for people to file their tax returns in a consistent manner from year to year."
Intuit says it was simply making its desk top version consistent with its on-line version, but the change has prompted more than 1,000 customers on Amazon to give TurboTax their lowest rating: one star.
In a statement to KDKA-TV, Intuit spokesperson Julie Miller says, "We encourage customers to contact TurboTax directly and we'll work with them on a case-by-case basis."
Menk says there are alternatives.
Both H&R Block and TaxACT sell similar products, and if your adjusted gross income is under $60,000, the IRS has free file software.
"Go out to irs.gov and download the 1040 yourself, do the tax return yourself, and not pay anyone."
For many others, it's forget the tax software and stick with a tax preparer.
"If you just want the easy way out and not want to read and learn about taxes," adds Menk, "go hire someone to do it for you."
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