Don’t Ever Do Your Taxes At…


Image by Arvind Balaraman

So a few days ago, I embarked on the ever annoying journey of doing my own taxes. For the past few years I’ve been doing them myself and up until this year I had no problems. In 2011 and 2012 I filed my taxes with a very popular tax company [which shall remain nameless]. I decided to file my 2013 tax return with this same company since my information was still in the online system. This company is well known partly because they offer to look over your taxes after you’re finished with them. Now, doing my taxes is usually a fairly simple process. I’m not married, don’t have any kids and usually just get paperwork back from college and my workplace. Nothing too complicated.
So I start doing my taxes and I run into a few obstacles. Frustrated, I decided to leave the areas I was unsure of blank and I scheduled an appointment at a nearby office of this particular company. One of my many frustrations was that this particular company was also trying to make me PAY for my federal return if I wanted to receive the maximum amount of money that I was entitled to. Like whatttttt? Never in all my days of doing my own taxes have I had to pay for a federal return.

So the following day, upon arriving at the office I met with a “tax professional” and explained my issues with her. This is where my anger started. One thing that pissed me off was the fact that the company advertises that they will give your taxes a FREE look over BUT what the company doesn’t state up front is that the free look over is AFTER YOU HAVE ALREADY FILED YOUR TAXES. Now, WHY IN THE WORLD would I file my taxes if I was unsure about certain things and had questions? The process to amend your taxes once you’ve filed them seems like a hassle that I’d rather not go through. I just wanted to make sure that PRIOR TO filing my taxes, everything accurate. 
Once I explained the issues I was experiencing, the “tax professional” who was “assisting” me in the office stated that she wasn’t familiar with the online system I had used to complete my taxes with and suggested I call the toll-free number on the website to get help from technical support.
EXCUSE ME? If you’re supposed to be a “tax professional” you should be well-versed about the online system which YOUR CUSTOMERS use to complete their taxes. DOES SHE NOT USE THE SAME SYSTEM? I was just so annoyed. She was unsure of every question that I asked her.

So I leave the office feeling aggravated. Once I arrived home, I immediately called the toll-free number for technical support. The woman on the other line helped me partially but kept putting me on hold for long amounts of time. I would ask her a question and she ask to put me on hold, be gone for like 5 minutes and then come back to the phone. Now, 5 minutes isn’t a long time, but when you’re sitting on hold it is. It was almost like she didn’t know the answers to ANY of my questions and had to keep putting me on hold to ask someone else. Ugh. So finally, after an hour of going back and forth, the operator figured out the question that I had, although she wasn’t able to tell me what some of the forms meant, which was mind-boggling.
So once I followed her instructions, the amount of my refund didn’t change. {Most online tax services will show you how much of a refund you will receive as your enter your information in}
When I asked her why the refund amount didn’t change she said something along the lines of “you’ll have to call a tax advisor for that!” Apparently technical support is only knowledgeable about tech issues. Cool. Whatever. So when I asked her to transfer me to a tax advisor she said “I don’t have their number. Maybe you should try to google it.” WAIT…WHAT? You don’t have the number to another DEPARTMENT of your own COMPANY? ERRRRRRR?
At this point I was ready to slam the phone down. So the lady tells me that she doesn’t know the number for a tax advisor but that I could chat with a tax advisor online via the IM system on the website. Ok.
So once I click to chat with a tax advisor, I kept getting a message stating that all the tax advisors were busy. So I ask the lady to let me speak with a manager so I could complain and at this point I’m fuming…I’m ready to spit nails.
So she puts me on ANOTHER HOLD to go and “get the manager” and comes back with a “sorry none of the managers are available right now.” I called at 4pm ET…y’all are REALLY THAT busy? Most people hadn’t even received their W-2s yet since it wasn’t the end of the month. At this point the conversation was over an hour and I was just fed up. I hung up the phone but not before giving the woman a piece of my mind and telling her I was going to file my taxes instead with their competitor.
So fast forward to today. I filed my taxes via Turbotax. And let me just say the online system was SOOO easy to use. I didn’t encounter any problems, but I did have one question which I had to call them about. One thing that was annoying was that I had to wait an hour before speaking to an agent. ONE HOUR. But once the agent got on the phone she was more helpful than ever. She helped me out, cleared up all my confusion and answered all my questions. And at the end of it all, I had to pay pretty much the SAME AMOUNT that the other company was going to charge me [without all the aggravation]. OH and I forgot to mention that with Turbotax I’m getting back MORE MONEY than with that other company! Three cheers for saving money!

So long story short [never mind that was a long story] I have filed my taxes, everything was fine and dandy and I will NEVER, I repeat NEVER, file my taxes with that other company ever again. For those of you who haven’t filed your taxes yet, I would definitely recommend Turbotax. Just be aware that you may have a lengthy wait if you call them regarding a question.

*These views are my own and are based on my personal experiences. My opinion should not be taken as fact. 

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