This was my first and last year using TaxCut software. It has been the most frustrating and exasperating experience with taxes in the nearly thirty years of dealing with income taxes. For the first time since I began using a computer to deal with taxes, it has taken more time than using pencil and paper. In my opinion, the software is arrogant, klunky, amateur-looking, filled with frills that hinder yet cannot be disabled, and with the worst integration I have ever seen between federal and state filing. Enumerated complaints, from my first exposure to TaxCut:
1. Delayed shipment, even though I ordered late (February) to make sure bugs were gone.
2. Delayed response to my query about the delayed shipment. (Understood now: It's taxcut99, on www.taxcut.com, by H&R Block, but transactions are handled by Digital River. Does anyone there know what anyone else is doing or even what to call each other?)
3. Automatic update failed multiple times, gave poor feedback concerning its progress, gave no error reports concerning its failures; when it did finally succeed it left its simplistic file progress indicator onscreen showing 0 bytes remaining while something was happening between the program and the connection, gave no indication of how the update itself was proceeding, refused to download the state software until the update for the federal was completed even though it failed that update 5 times in a row.
4. Presents a gaudy, irritating splash screen and noise each time the program is started, and keeps it in the way until the noise finishes.
5. Created both Schedule C and CEZ without my knowledge, then the auditor complained that one would need to be deleted and that I should click on a NON-EXISTENT BUTTON to fix the problem I DID NOT CREATE. Took half an hour clicking around trying to discover where the extra form was created so I could delete it. NO HELP CONCERNING THIS PROBLEM SURFACED ANYWHERE IN THAT SLOPPY MAZE.
6. Clicking "State" at the point prompted by the "Interview" in the fed system resulted in a Query tool displayed onscreen that responded to nothing. Help produced no help, because it ASS-U-med that nothing could possibly go wrong before having some forms on the system.
7. A frantic connection to the website (gee, glad it's named taxcut.com instead of taxcut99.com, makes it just a bit trickier to locate and therefore matches the klunky nature of the software itself!) revealed that I would have to download updated forms for my state, since for some inexplicable reason that was not taken care of when I chose to download my state software!
8. God only knows what further roadblocks await in the state tax software, since, due to the fights I've had with this worthless crap so far, I am still not finished! Even when I used the first version of Parson's Tech tax software in DOS years ago, it was far easier to use, navigate, and file my taxes than this garbage that has been dumped on the market.
Next to the deep regret I have that I actually paid for this mess, my biggest regret is that there is no public forum in which I could shout a warning to future potential suckers. "Misery loves company" does not apply in this case; I will make special efforts to try to steer other people away from this morass.
Update on troubles with TaxCut99 for my particular state:
- Downloading the state tax software does not automatically download the *forms* needed. (What braindead alien came up with this grand idea, that the tax software is useful without the forms?)
- Basically just an onscreen duplication of the paper form, all you save is an eraser.
- The only instructions are those provided by the state. Unfortunately, clicking on "Instructions" results in an error because the software can't locate these anywhere on the system. Another trip back to the website for another download. Oops, no instructions there, either. Guess I have to use those that the state mailed to me for free.
- The worksheet for purchases (to calculate my state's "use tax" for out-of-state purchases) is far too short.
- Created a "Custom Spreadsheet" to list purchases and calculate the state use tax (hmm, that's what I always did when I was using the paper forms from the state), but found no way to print the spreadsheet.
- "Runtime error..." when trying to create an itemized list to make up for the too-short worksheet. This is expected with BETA software or even a game, but for software handling my taxes it is *intolerable*.
- In addition to the numerous problems listed for the state tax software, TaxCut99 did not provide the basic, main form for my state. It only provided the EZ and S[hort] forms, which, according to the instructions mailed to me by the state (TaxCut99 provided none in the software), I cannot use either of the forms in TaxCut99! This turned out to be fortunate, though, because my tax bill was reduced from $171 calculated by TaxCut99 to $18 when I filled in the free forms from my state manually.
--- Conclusion: save your money, don't bother with the download of the state version of TaxCut99 because the multiple downloads and the time spent trying to navigate the poor design will likely take more time than it will take to fill out your state taxes manually. Besides, you'll need everything the state mails to you for free anyway, in order to figure out what needs to be done in the software package.
TaxCut99 is absolutely the worst waste of money I have ever spent on any software in twenty years of computing.