According to both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the IRS, my daughter, who has barely any income, should be able to e-file both her federal and state taxes for free using TurboTax online, thanks to the “FreeFile Alliance.”
We tried filing her taxes through the TurboTax Android app. It didn’t offer her the option of free state e-file. We thought it would fix that at the end once she had entered her income so it could verify that she was eligible; it didn’t.
We tried going through the TurboTax Freedom web portal, which is the mechanism specifically provided by TurboTax for free federal / state filing. It, too, didn’t offer the option of free state e-file.
We thought that perhaps somehow since my daughter had started out in the Android app, something was “stuck” there preventing her from getting access to the “Freedom Edition,” so we tried creating an entirely new account for her on the TurboTax web site. Nope! Still no access to the option to e-file both federal and state for free, even though Massachusetts, the IRS, and TurboTax all claim it exists and my daughter is eligible for it.
After a goodly amount of swearing at the computer, I finally gave up on TurboTax, went back to the Massachusetts free-file page and clicked on TaxAct instead. Lo and behold, TaxAct allowed my daughter to e-file for free. And now the odds are that my daughter will continue to use TaxAct, even when she has to start paying to file her taxes, and TurboTax has lost a customer forever.
No, it wasn’t as easy as the TurboTax Android app, but what good is an easy app when they fee it wants to charge for state e-filing is larger than the federal and state refunds for which my daughter is eligible, combined? (As I said, my daughter has barely any income.)
Seriously, I don’t know how the people who work on TurboTax look at themselves in the mirror. They put their customers through crap like this on such a regular basis that either it’s on purpose or they’re incompetent.
I’ve also had just about enough with them. Their pricing is deliberately confusing. I found out after finishing most of my federal taxes online (following a link from my credit union site) that the online version would cost more than twice as much as with the downloaded version I’ve used in the past. Not only is the base version more expensive to begin with for no apparent reason, it made me upgrade twice from base to Deluxe to Premium just for a simple Schedule D. The downloaded version only needs to be Deluxe for that.
Luckily, I was able to export the data and load it into the downloaded version and finish up that way, but *after* e-filing it told me now had to print and mail in a couple of separate forms. I could have fixed that before filing but it didn’t bother telling me until it was too late.