Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Turbo Tax Melts Down on Tax Day

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the procrastinators-in-a-pinch dept.

The Almighty Buck 554

Raven17 writes "Turbo Tax by Intuit completely melted down under the load from last minute filers. Some people have been having problems as long as 24 hours already. I surrendered 2 hours before the East Coast deadline and schlepped on down to the Post Office."

cancel ×

554 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Back up at the wire (5, Informative)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780845)

My mom used TurboTax (I got stuck w/ TaxCut this year). Anyway, she said it came back up just a few minutes before midnight. People were flipping out.

Personally, I did mine back in February.

Re:Back up at the wire (2, Interesting)

tg2k (895772) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780907)

I filed in February too, with TaxCut, but I intentionally switched to it years ago when TurboTax pulled their malware installation BS (the rootkit, if you'll remember, from about 2001 or 2002). I haven't looked back much, TaxCut has been pretty comparable in my opinion.

Re:Back up at the wire (4, Interesting)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781071)

I did the same. I think it was back in 2002. Caused a huge black eye for Intuit because they took forever to acknowledge there was a problem.

I've been using TaxCut online since 2003, and it works great.

Re:Back up at the wire (4, Insightful)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781293)

I think it was probably a bigger black eye for H&R block last year (or was it the year before) when they mailed out a bunch of TaxCut CDs to past customers and put their SSN on the address label.

Re:Back up at the wire (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781543)

Yeah. I wasn't too happy about that.

Re:Back up at the wire (1)

sloveless (518479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781447)

Same for me. That "activation" crap they pulled sent me straight to TaxCut. Can't say that I'm sorry now, considering I've turned procrastination into an art form.

Re:Back up at the wire (1)

Moggyboy (949119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781117)

Yo momma used TurboTax...



Oh, wait....

Re:Back up at the wire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18781233)

And let me guess, you got a refund and your Mom had to pay?

Personally, I do my taxes in February if I have a refund, I file right away. If I owe, those rat bastards at the IRS can wait until the last frickin' minute to get their grubby paws on more of my money!

Steve Forbes in 08 - Bring on the Flat Tax!

I submitted mine (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780857)

on my blackberry.

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18781125)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real [imageshack.us] Mac [imageshack.us] users [imageshack.us] . Keep your filthy, beige [imageshack.us] PC fingers to yourself.

Perhaps (4, Funny)

niiler (716140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780865)

Sourceforge could help them with their server load next year :-)

Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (5, Interesting)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780879)

It was basically a manual DNS attack. With so many waiting until the last minute, what do people expect? File at least a day before the deadline. What difference does a day's worth of interest make on the average IRS tax bill? And if people are so concerned about a day's worth of interest, print the damn return and mail it with a check. That way you get a few more days of interest.

I just don't understand the dorks that wait so long they have no options.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18780951)

I didn't get the figures for my last 1099 until YESTERDAY. Kinda makes filing hard ya know.

(And yes, I've been kicking and screaming about it since Feb.)

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (5, Informative)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780955)

It was basically a manual DNS attack. With so many waiting until the last minute, what do people expect? File at least a day before the deadline. What difference does a day's worth of interest make on the average IRS tax bill? And if people are so concerned about a day's worth of interest, print the damn return and mail it with a check. That way you get a few more days of interest.

All true, but the fact that people wait until the deadline is not news. If you're going to get into the online tax-prep business, you'd better have a stout server. This kind of failure can kill a business.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (4, Insightful)

tehSpork (1000190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781099)

All true, but the fact that people wait until the deadline is not news. If you're going to get into the online tax-prep business, you'd better have a stout server. This kind of failure can kill a business.

Or a stout series of servers, God knows you shouldn't be relying on a single box to handle that information with that liability.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781601)

All true, but the fact that people wait until the deadline is not news. If you're going to get into the online tax-prep business, you'd better have a stout server. This kind of failure can kill a business.

Or a stout series of servers, God knows you shouldn't be relying on a single box to handle that information with that liability.
IBM called; they'd like to sell you some On Demand e-Business infrastructure. (I'd bet Sun has some "grid computing" power to sell as well...)

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (0, Redundant)

Skidge (316075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781109)

All true, but the fact that people wait until the deadline is not news.
True. A woman from the IRS said (IIRC) that almost 20% of filer wait until the last day.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (5, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781441)

I'm using my poor memory here but there are something like 180 million filers, 60% of which use Tax software or professional help (almost all the professionals use Tax software)

TurboTax should know it's market share, let's pretend it's 75%. That's 180,000,000 * .60 * .75 * .20 = 16.2 million on the last day. Let's say most, 75%, wait until the last half of the day, that's 8.1 million in the last 12 hours. That's 187 per second.

On NPR they gave a figure that the TurboTax servers were processing like 40 per second.

I do peak load extimation for Unix servers for a living. Somebody at TurboTax screwed up big time, real big time. They should have doubled the number of servers they thought they might have needed. They should have contracted with a company like Google to cache the returns, then process them batchwise as fast as they could.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (1)

whoop (194) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781439)

Hell, I've mailed returns out the day after a few times because I was too lazy to drive to the post office that night. IRS didn't give me any problems with it. I got the same amount back I was expecting, no penalty or anything.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (5, Interesting)

sloveless (518479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781559)

You don't get penalized for filing a federal return late if you're getting a refund. A few years back, before I started filing electronically, I prepared my taxes, noticed I was getting a nice little refund, and promptly failed to put it in the damn mail. It was December before my lazy butt realized I hadn't received my check. (No, I'm not exaggerating.) So I mailed it. The IRS promptly issued my refund PLUS INTEREST! Granted, it was a crappy rate and I would have been better off putting that money in a savings account. Regardless, no penalties.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18781529)

Waiting until the last day has nothing to do with the interest, since you can set the date you want to pay when you file electronically.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (1)

extremescholar (714216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780961)

It's not the interest that is a problem, it's the penalty for late filing that bites.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780965)

I think you meant 'DOS attack', but it was more like a self-slashdotting.

As for people... Combine laziness and hatred and you end up with a gajillion people that will wait until the last possible second to deal with it. It shouldn't be a real big surprise.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18781367)

Slashdotting = HTTP request flooding which is a legitimate DoS tactic, albeit a relatively shitty one which only works with a large pool of attacking IPs and a target too stupid to set up mod_evasive or suchlike. It gets used more frequently than you might suppose because it's relatively easy for the non-technical to do, just throw up a page based on the LAD vampire [aa419.org] script on some free host then get people to visit it. This tactic was recently used to hilarious effect against crazy racist Hal Turner [encycloped...matica.com] .

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781135)

With so many waiting until the last minute, what do people expect?

There was a story on NPR a day or so ago on the subject of tax filings. An IRS spokeswoman mentioned that more people than ever (a euphemism for "I don't remember the percentages") are filing electronically. Of those filing electronically, most file last minute like their paper counterparts.

Plus ca change, huh?

At any rate, I don't think it's fair to characterise last-minute filers as fools. Everyone hates hates filing. It's human nature to put off something so disagreeable. Ask yourself when was the last time you went to the dentist.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781423)

Also, if you are not getting a refund, filing on the last day makes fiancial sense, as you can earn interest on your money up until the last day.

(Ok, so only if you don't know that you can post-date your filing, but...)

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (0, Offtopic)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781443)

It's human nature to put off something so disagreeable. Ask yourself when was the last time you went to the dentist.

Dude, you need a better dentist. Seriously. I mean how hard is it to go in every six months for a cleaning?

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (1)

rabun_bike (905430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781187)

Spoken by someone who fills out a 1040-EZ form with W2 employment. Some of us "dorks" are not getting a "refund" because we multiple sources of income, own businesses, and actually owe money to the government because we made more this year than last year. As long as we don't incur a penalty, paying additional money to the IRS early actually costs us money. Would you make a 10k payment to the IRS in Feb if you could put that money in an interest bearing account and wait until April to pay it without penalty? Other "dorks" have complicated tax filings with rental income from houses, 1099 income, complicated investment income, capital gains, inheritance, major illness and medical expenses, alimony, child payments, and business expenses as well as the fact that tax filings only happen in April so my accountant is bogged down with tons of other people with complicated tax filings. And finally, the true dorks are the ones that really do want until Tuesday night to actually try to file their 1040-EZ returns and instead of printing them out they try to file electronically.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18781335)

One might hope that you have been putting that money into an interest bearing account throughout the year, such that the last few months aren't -that- big of a deal.

Besides, if you make that payment sooner, you can start saving for next year sooner. You end up with the exact same amount of interest gain as you have now.

I don't really have any argument for the rest of your points though.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (2, Informative)

Agelmar (205181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781581)

There's a problem with your argument... you say that if one pays now, one can start saving up for next year now and wind up with the same amount of interest gain. The problem is that you assume the two are exclusive.

There's no reason I can't start saving up now *and still* keep the $10k in the bank until 4/17. Assuming you're making some non-zero return off of your money, it hurts you to give it away any sooner than you have to. No matter when you start saving for next years taxes (or whatever other confounding factors you care to throw in), you are going to lose two months' interest on $10k by filing in February rather than April, and although it's not going to make a huge difference, it's rather pointless to throw that money away.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (5, Funny)

powermacx (887715) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781189)

Losers. I did my taxes last year. - Homer

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781455)

It was basically a manual DNS attack. With so many waiting until the last minute, what do people expect? File at least a day before the deadline. What difference does a day's worth of interest make on the average IRS tax bill? And if people are so concerned about a day's worth of interest, print the damn return and mail it with a check. That way you get a few more days of interest.

I just don't understand the dorks that wait so long they have no options.


More than a decade ago, I a had a friend at a former job who did this kind of thing. He was the cheapest guy I ever met in my life. He had no home telephone because it cost money. He worked for the US government as an engineer in a small town and was making good money, better than most of us other employess as Uncle Sam paid engineers on a higher scale than us "mere programmers", but he refused to pay for a telephone. He lived in a dumpy, cheap, one bedroom apartment in a small complex and his mom would either call his work phone or the apartment business office if she needed to talk to him. I couldn't believe it, but the apartment business office would actually walk over to his nearby apartment to get him if his mom called. This was a small town, like I said. Our state used to have this crazy system for renewing automobile tags where everybody had to renew by the end of April every year. They randomly assigned you to one of the first 4 months of the year and you had until the end of your month to renew. I forgot which month he had to renew his tag in, but every year he would take leave from work and go down to the tag office and wait in line for 2-3 hours to renew his tag on the very last day you could do it. He wouldn't do it through the mail, which was an option, because that would cost money for postage AND the state charged you 1 dollar extra for renewing it by mail. Nope, it made far better sense for him to take vacation time and just wait in line for 2-3 hours so he could hold on to his money until the last possible moment rather than to pay the cost of one stamp and one extra dollar to mail it in. Now that is cheap!

Needless to say, he was unmarried and had no girlfriend. I lost contact with him years ago because he had no home phone, hence no home internet, so that left work email as the only way to stay in touch with him and he expressed some reservations about using work email for personal correspondence, so that was the end of that friendship. He has a younger brother who's also unmarried, so I figure one day when he dies he'll leave a fortune to some distant cousins he barely knows and he won't have spent any of the money he saved on anything to give himself any happiness.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (4, Interesting)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781497)

File at least a day before the deadline. What difference does a day's worth of interest make on the average IRS tax bill?


File a few weeks before. When you file and when you pay can be different, so you aren't actually losing any interest. You can file in January but tell the IRS to deduct it from your bank account on the due date in April. Or you can do the same if you are paying by check (file in January, mail check in April).

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (1)

kekoap (37035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781565)

You don't have to pay an extra day's worth of interest, so waiting doesn't make any sense. You have the option of either sending in checks or using electronic fund transfers on tax day.

Re:Only Fools Wait Until The Last Minute (3, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781609)

What difference does a day's worth of interest make on the average IRS tax bill?

Just for those who never thought about this, what you suggest works the other way, as well... As long as they owe you a refund, nothing bad happens if you file a day late.

The IRS bases all its penalties on how much you owe. Don't owe anything? No penalties for filing a day late.



The government cares that it gets your money. It doesn't care so much if you don't get your money.

for those of us that done speak Yiddish (4, Informative)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780901)

schlep : to drag or haul (an object); to make a tedious journey (from Yiddish shlepn; cf. German schleppen)

Re:for those of us that done speak Yiddish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18781087)

I wondered what the heck he was trying to say there.

I think a better word is "went".

Re:for those of us that done speak Yiddish (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781149)

I think a better word is "went".

Ahhh, but the key here is the 'tedious journey' part, which is not conveyed at all if he simply said "I went to the post office."

Re:for those of us that done speak Yiddish (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781159)

...and pronounced like someone with pneumonia would pronounce "slept"

Re:for those of us that "done" speak Yiddish (0, Flamebait)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781199)

I think the only one who done speak Yiddish is Colin Powell.

Yes, that joke is horribly offensive, but it makes up for it by being really funny.

same as in real life (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780911)

line backs up at post office, line backs up with turbotax. Do they have some kinda guarantee about "if you file by x, even if our systems are down, you get credit?" I doubt it, they must've anticipated this very scenario!

Re:same as in real life (1)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780983)

In real life, and online, you can get much better results by filing a day earlier.

Re:same as in real life (4, Informative)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781241)

In real life, and online, you can get much better results by filing a day earlier.
Not true with Turbo Tax, they were melted on Monday too. The meltdown's been reported on the boards since Monday morning.

Re:same as in real life (1)

bhalter80 (916317) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781573)

This is why I did my taxes with TaxCut in February as soon as the documents were available then as I owed money waited until Saturday to mail my return. That way there were no 4/15 surprises over how much was owed, any technical problems could be avoided and the line at the post office was fairly short. Its called planning folks its not news that taxes are due within a couple of days of 4/15. I could understand it if you were new to the country, or just started working for the first time and this is a new process for you but why do people who should know better insist on waiting until the 11th hour to even calculate the amount they are getting back or paying?

Melt down (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18780913)

Yeah, it melted down big time last night. I tried for 4 hours to file, with no luck. I expect Intuit is going to get sued big-time over this. Lots of angry folks on the turbotax message board last night.

Re:Melt down (1)

aegisalpha (58712) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781345)

Their message board was up? I think reading it will be much more entertaining than the comments here!

Re:Melt down (1)

Edie O'Teditor (805662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781547)

So, situation 100% normal.

Re:Melt down (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781555)

Well, hopefully while they are at it they sue themselves for procrastination.

Re:Melt down (2, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781577)

Nope, they just worked it out with the IRS so that people could file late.

I know people just assume that the IRS would be unreasonable, but Tax software takes so much of the load and expense off the IRS that they will do anything cost free to get people to use eFiling. Intuit might give people a refund off of the cost of eFiling if they paid extra. (in the form of a coupon for next year)

You could try to sue, but Intuit and the IRS are being so reasonable that I don't think you could win.

Another great reason (1, Funny)

old_skul (566766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780917)

....to file for an extension. Or, better yet, file in February as soon as all the necessary paperwork comes in. Perhaps this is the gods' way of paying back Intuit for some of their indiscretions with our personal data (and software activation) a couple of years back.

Re:Another great reason (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781611)

Perhaps this is the gods' way of paying back Intuit...


Paying them back by giving them so many customers they can't keep up? As a business owner, I'll gladly take some of that "punishment".

As a Hog Farmer (5, Funny)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18780925)

I shipped my 15% (30 hogs) early, to avoid problems just like this

Re:As a Hog Farmer (0)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781065)

So they're taxing the World of Warcraft pig farms already?

IRS did offer an extended deadline for some (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18780929)

For people in the recent storms, IRS is allowing an additional 48 hours [irs.gov] . Also, the TurboTax site says they're working with the IRS so people have their returns counted as on-time.

I'm just glad I did my taxes weeks ago when the system worked, and when it was cheaper.

lol fagot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18780935)

mhatz@blackcat.com lol fagot.

Yet another reason... (-1, Redundant)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781017)

... to not wait until the last minute to do your taxes.

Re:Yet another reason... (1, Redundant)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781147)

Damn right.

I did mine already last year!

Re:Yet another reason... (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781599)

.. to not wait until the last minute to do your taxes.

Exactly. I always wait until the last minute, then file a form 4868 instead.

Turbotax Issues (3, Informative)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781021)

I had royal problems when I got to the very last step on turbotax, right where you click to submit to the IRS. After a good 15 second wait, I got an error about being overloaded, and to try again later. What really sucked is that I couldn't start from that point again, but instead had to re-visit the last bunch of questions I had already answered. Being their Website is so format heavy, each screen took a good 10-15 seconds to draw on this 1.8 Ghz box, so the entire process was quite annoying. After 3 tries and some minor sheet-rock damage, I had to print the whole damn thing out and drive across town to our main post office. To add insult to injury, turbotax took my money before this last step was available. This sucks. I got ripped off, and I wont't get my tax refund in the usual week and 1/2 since I had to mail it. (at least a got a refund though...albeit little bitty)

Re:Turbotax Issues (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781127)

"(at least a got a refund though...albeit little bitty)"

Because someone has to say it:

Getting a refund compared to having to pay is bad. The government collected too much in taxes (well, more than they are required to by law). This money was denied to you throughout the year. Money which could have been earning interest, used for investments, hell, eating out a few more nights a month.

You get your refund back interest-free from the gov. It's really no different than if you left a $20 in your coat pocket during the winter only to find it the next year. Sure it FEELS GOOD, but, that could have been doing something much more useful than just sleeping in a pocket.

Then again, there are penalties imposed if you fix your W-4 (and other forms) so that they don't withhold anything and you have to pay all your tax once a year. I think that's too bad.

Re:Turbotax Issues (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18781399)

Or, you could do like I do and (a) have 2 kids, (b) own a house (aka a mortgage), and (c) give at least 10% of your income to charity, and then, with itemized deductions, (d) end up with taxes low enough that, due to the REFUNDABLE Child Tax Credit, you GET PAID to be a US Taxpayer. My federal withholding was $0.00 last year, yet I got a $1300 refund this year. Got $1200 last year too... Oh... I filed (electronically) in February too, got my "refund" in March.

Re:Turbotax Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18781525)

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but my understanding is that you have to pay 90% of what you owed the last year in order to prevent penalties. That is unless you are absolutely sure you will owe less.

Ideally if you make the same amount or more than the previous year you should pay 90% of what you owed last year and nothing more. Be prepared to pay the difference at the end. No penalties though.

It's so tricky if you don't know what your income will be. I'm self-employed and constantly struggle with my quarterly payments because my income can vary a lot. I very often pay way too much or way too little. Most often I say screw it and just pay the penalties at the end (although I think the penalties may add up if you do that too many years in a row). Is there any simple software that will help me with this?

I fucking hate the way the tax system works. It's too complicated and I waste too much time on it.

Re:Turbotax Issues (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781171)

For the love of god! You've had four and half months to do your damn taxes! Why are you waiting if you were expecting a refund?!?

refund (1)

phynodedotnet (1071728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781027)

So should they get their $50 (or whatever) online filing fee returned? That's a rip off. LMAO at Intuit.

Re:refund (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781315)

Don't know about turbo tax but since it is quicken they may charge you. However with TaxCut they only charge you for electronic filing once it has been accepted by the IRS. I initially electroniclly filed with TaxCut and the IRS rejected it because some of the forms given to me differed in addresses, so it was easier to mail it all in, and I was not charged any money for my try.

Procrastinators, will they ever learn? (1)

tehSpork (1000190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781039)

I work for a public library and am always surprised at the number of people who wait until the day before taxes are due to even obtain the tax forms, much less spend the time filling them out. The other thing that amazes me is that we have a gigantic impossible to miss bright yellow sign in the middle of the building announcing where the tax forms are and most of these people still make the trek to the circulation desk to ask where the forms are. Perhaps there is some correlation here.

This story does explain the two separate people asking me about why TurboTax wasn't accepting their return though. It sure as heck beats the BOFH Excuse of the day. :)

Why Wait? (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781043)

Why not do your taxes in the first couple weeks of January? All your information is fresh in your mind, and you've still got plenty of time. If you owe money, wait to file until the last minute, so all you've got to do is come home from work and click a couple buttons. If you're getting a return, file immediately. I did that this year and got my return in less than a week.

Why people procrastinate on something like this is ridiculous. If the average American put half the time into doing their taxes as they did watching TV, they'd have these things filed before the first weekend of the year. This isn't to say that there doesn't need to be reforms, (John Edwards's proposal to have the IRS mail the forms pre-filled is genius, in my opinion) but a lot of the problems people have with taxes is their own stupidity.

Re:Why Wait? (2, Insightful)

Texodore (56174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781121)

Our W-2 (report of what we made - required when filing the return) doesn't arrive until Jan. 31st or a little after. The earliest most of us can do our taxes is early in February. And if you're like me and your former company filed an amended W-2, you get to wait a bit longer or file an amended return.

But yeah, that's still 2 and a half months.

Re:Why Wait? (1)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781133)

Why not do your taxes in the first couple weeks of January?

Because most companies wait until the very last possible moment to send their W-2's out.

Re:Why Wait? (1)

PhoenixFlare (319467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781223)

Because most companies wait until the very last possible moment to send their W-2's out.

And the "last possible moment" still gives 2 months or so of time. After working phone support for Intuit during tax season (NEVER. AGAIN.) a few years ago, I can't say I have any sympathy for the procrastinators.

Re:Why Wait? (1)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781269)

Oh, I agree. My taxes were done the day after I got the W-2 in the mail. Just responding to the argument about doing them the first couple weeks in January.

Re:Why Wait? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781377)

I can't say I have any sympathy for the procrastinators.

If you really filed that early, you might investigate amending your return to claim the phone tax credit. A number of changes to the tax code weren't really in place in January. This was the year of the procrastinator, not the pig -- thanks to congress and the IRS.

Re:Why Wait? (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781253)

I usally don't get my W-2 until late January then it takes until lat Feburary for the other forms to get in. I fill out the forms (electronicly) then wait for revisions to various forms which then require I make changes to the tax forms. So come start of April I have had a few revisions and I figure most are stable and then I submit my taxes.

why last minute (1)

PureCreditor (300490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781063)

*every* year on tax filing deadline, either there's a super long line at the Post Office, or the e-filing sites are overloaded. can't people file a bit earlier? even a week ago would've been much better.

the earlier you get your refund, the more interest it can accrue in your savings account as opposed to an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam...

no webserver is expected to survive if you way overload it. you can't really blame Intuit/Turbotax on this one.

Re:why last minute (1)

Harlockjds (463986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781169)

>the earlier you get your refund, the more interest it can accrue in your savings account as opposed to an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam...

assuming you get a refund, personally i like to wait as long as possible before paying the government (which means i didn't give them a interest-free loan like most americans).

But even I'm smart enough to file a few days ahead of the final day

Re:why last minute (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781383)

*every* year on tax filing deadline, either there's a super long line at the Post Office, or the e-filing sites are overloaded. can't people file a bit earlier? even a week ago would've been much better.
Post office lines are one thing. Being a company that sells e-file service with no capacity to actually um...efile...is a whole different matter. If you don't get a refund and want to wait to give your money away till the last possible moment and there's a company who claims you can, why wouldn't you. Plus, if you tried to file on Turbo Tax's website last night, they never even posted a warning that they were experiencing problems. With the size of their company, one would think they'd be able to handle the load that they KNEW was coming. They sold over 10 million copies of the standalone product, plus based on last year's numbers, they KNEW what the volume would be like on their site. There is no excuse for not being prepared for the load. Plus, at the very least, they should have posted warnings all over their site so anyone coming to the site would know about the problems.

It's so unfair (5, Funny)

Aaron_Pike (528044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781077)

If only there were some way to file in March, or even February. But that could only happen if employers had a deadline to send out W-2 forms by like the end of January.

Re:It's so unfair (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781359)

As someone who always files in February. I can say it is a lot less stress. Then waiting the last minute. I can take weeks gathering all my papers going threw my expenses and logging what I think I can deduct. Then I go to the financial advisor who actually does the tax work (which is far less hassle then Turbo Tax) because I give them all the paper work and they fill it out and give you advice like My Computer isn't tax detuctable if you did then it would be a Red Flag for an Audit. Then by April I have already gotten the Refund check and/or paid my due taxes. Now with all this hassle seems light years away from me.

Netcraft confirms (1, Interesting)

ceeam (39911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781093)

http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph/?host=www.turb otax.com [netcraft.com]

May it be related to moving from Solaris to Linux last summer?

[/me hides]

Re:Netcraft confirms (5, Informative)

chong (67651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781321)

TurboTax.com does not host the online TurboTax application - that's the brochure-ware for turbotax. Those servers also do not host Intuit's electronic filing services (which are hosted indenpendently from turbo tax online as well).

The TurboTax web app is hosted @ www.turbotaxonline.com and still runs on Solaris (http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=www.turb otaxonline.com)

Turbo Tax: Pain in the rear (3, Insightful)

cyberkahn (398201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781153)

I used Turbo Tax for the last time this year. This was my second year and in retrospect it is just not worth it. Over $60 for the software, then it's I think $30 dollars to e-file, which I didn't do (certified mail). The total cost of software plus all the hours of my personal time to me it just isn't worth it. I am going to pay to have someone do it for me next year.

Re:Turbo Tax: Pain in the rear (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781259)

Wow, that's expensive. I'm using uFile in Canada, and it's $16 to fill in your return, and submit it electronically. All inclusive.

Re:Turbo Tax: Pain in the rear (1)

Enuratique (993250) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781419)

While I can see your point/frustrations, my Dad turned me on to TurboTax this year. His strategy is to keep his eyes peeled on the weekend adverts for TurboTax Basic version (usually gets it around $15 at CostCo). He's been using it for 8 years now so all the tedious boilerplate information gets imported from last year's .tax file (assuming you back those up from year to year). So then it's as simple as inputing the information from this year's W2, preparing any financial investment numbers for capital gains taxes (I use Fidelity Investments as my broker and I was able to suck that information off the Intertubes - no typing or calculation necessary), and itemizing deductions (since I'm not a major property owner, I took the standard deduction right off the bat). All told, it took 15 minutes to do my Federal tax return. Oh, and we send it via the mail so no rapage on the eFile fee.

The state taxes are easy enough to do on your own that I don't feel it's worth getting the Deluxe version of TurboTax.

A good use of $15 if you ask me.

SMS ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18781215)

I delivered my taxes here in Norway a couple of days ago.
First a piece of paper arrived with the government's estimate of my taxes.
Then I sent them an SMS from my phone letting them know their estimate was correct.

And thats that. Simple, efficient.

Obligatory Simpson's Quote (3, Funny)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781217)

Would you look at those morons... I paid my taxes over a year ago!

Excellent Sir! (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781405)

A quote from an eps. when the simpsons was still funny.

Not Completely. (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781301)

The E-File portion of TurboTax melted down. The rest of it worked just fine. I printed out my return and mailed it off from the post office in my area that stays open late on tax day. I even made a last-minute adjustment (found a receipt for a charitable contribution I forgot about) before I printed it off. Given that there's at least one post office in most areas that stayed open until midnight on tax day, there should've still been options better than hoping Intuit got their act together before midnight.

A lack of planning on your part.... (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781361)

Maybe they should not have waited until the last minute. I finished my taxes and got my refund over a month ago. There is absolutely no excuse for waiting until the last minute to file.

For next year... (4, Interesting)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781363)

Will Intuit learn their lesson and strengthen their servers and network for next year's last minute rush? Given their track record of quality, I seriously doubt it.


Will the procrastinators learn their lesson and file at least a day early? Heck no. They even had two extra days this year. If paying the taxes is the issue, that's what an extension is for.

I am a horrible procrastinator myself, but I guess my greed overpowers that. My taxes were done, returned and spent in February. Woot! New PC!

I also learned a few years back that Turbo Tax is no better than most of the other products out there, free or otherwise. I've been using http://www.taxact.com/ [taxact.com] for the past three years. I usually do the download, but I tried the web version for my mother-in-law's taxes. Very smooth, quick, painless and best of all, completely free. I did my mother-in-law's taxes Sunday, 4/15. That's the latest I've ever filed a return. Guess I'm getting sloppy like the unwashed masses.

enough with the already already (1)

Edie O'Teditor (805662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781397)

Some people have been having problems as long as 24 hours already.
Oy vey!

This is Lesson 1 in "SaaS for Dummies." (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781413)

If you're a service provider making money hosting software (or a feature of your software) over the net, put as much capacity as you think you'll need in place, then put in the ability to add more immediately to account for things like this.

There are limits to this, but it's a basic fact of hosted apps. All of your customers might actually want to use your software at once. At any given time. Therefore, if you have your salespeople signing up a few million more customers, it's time to plow some of the profits back into the infrastructure.

I would guess most of these SaaS companies (NetSuite, Salesforce.com, etc.) have the same greedy mentality..."No one could possibly hit the app all at once, over and over again. Let's not listen to our IT guys. Request for servers and bandwidth denied."

I'm not surprised Intuit got burned. They practically have the lock on the financial software market, and know it. Quicken for all its faults is a good product, and MS Money is awful. TurboTax is great (when it works.) However, I've been a user of Quicken for years, and every new release has more gimmicky features, while basic things like data integrity aren't looked after. Support has been going downhill for years, but you need to keep buying the software every year because it makes it so easy to take care of your finances.

Designed DOS attacks... (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781421)

systems like this which need to survive under massive data spikes ought to be designed to handle them--meaning that the software, rather than simply timing out after fifteen seconds, out to be acting more-or-less like TCP/IP: use exponential backoff. If it can't connect in 15 seconds, wait 30 and try again, then wait 60, then 120, etc... up to some maximum timeout value. The spacing gives turbotax's servers a chance to keep up (by spreading out the submissions over a longer period of time) and keeps the user from having to click "retry" for the next two hours.

They're still in a bad way if their servers can't handle the crunch before the deadline passes, but it would be better than the way it is now.

How many TT customers (1)

hansoloaf (668609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781451)

How many TT customers feel comforted knowing TT spearheaded to kill legislation to allow us to eFile directly to IRS for free?

Started well before tuesday... (2, Interesting)

Temkin (112574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781501)



I filed monday morning. I'm still waiting for my confirmation. I'm going to have to call the IRS to find out if it was actually transmitted. You have to admit, it's a neat loophole. The government isn't alllowed to entrap you, so they get a corperation to do it for them, and reap the penalty rewards. Hey we gotta pay for GW's spending somehow, right?

I'm not going to be a guinea pig for their e-file fantasies/experments. If I pay a cent in penalties, the IRS will get paper from me for a decade.

From their site... (1)

chrisbro (207935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781505)

Intuit's support [intuit.com] says:

Update, 6:30am, April 18: Outstanding issues with our servers have been resolved and we are currently processing all customers' returns and requests for status checks at a normal rate. As we mentioned earlier, we are working with the IRS this morning to ensure that returns will be considered as timely filed even if transmitted to us past midnight.

We encourage customers to continue trying to e-file; if you have been unable to successfully transmit, please try again.

If you have transmitted your return more than once and you use our desktop version of TurboTax, rest assured that you will be charged for electronic filing fees only once. Fees are charged only once per primary social security number. Also, if you are paying your taxes via direct debit or via credit card, your taxes will be withdrawn from your account only once despite multiple transmissions.

haha stupide people (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781521)

I did my taxes a year ago!

or

"I pay the Homer tax, let the bear pay the bear tax."

Extended IRS deadline for East Coast Filers (2, Informative)

mumbaiyaa (918933) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781569)

Procastinators rejoice!
The IRS [irs.gov] website says:

R-2007-89, April 16, 2007 WASHINGTON -- Victims of the major storm affecting several Northeastern states on Monday, April 16 will have two additional days to file their tax returns beyond the April 17 tax deadline, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. Taxpayers directly impacted by the storm have until midnight April 19 to meet their tax filing obligations without incurring late filing and payment penalties.

The wisdom of Homer Simpson (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781579)

Homer Simpson: "Look at all those fools running around at the last minute. I did mine last year."
Lisa Simpson: "Dad, you have to file your taxes every year."
[Homer scream]

E-File is a scam for the consumer (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18781615)

My objection to E-Filing is that I have to pay for it. To E-File my federal and state returns, generated by software running locally on my computer, would have cost me about $30 above the cost of the software. Why? It is not the IRS that charges this fee, E-Filing saves them money and they'd be happier if everyone does it. It is the tax preparation company that generates this fee.

It was a sweetheart deal made in some back room years ago - the IRS will not accept E-Filings from private citizens except via a tax preparation company, who is able (even encouraged, I'd say) to collect a fee for shifting the bits around. This is not limited to just tax software, brick-and-mortar tax firms do this, too. While I could understand the IRS not wanting to deal with every improperly filled-out e-filing from your average Joe, I heavily object to them not accepting a return created with a qualified tax preparation software package, all so that a private company can gouge me.

When that sweetheart deal was made a few years ago, the various groups decided to throw a bone to us poor plebians: free online E-Filing. If your adjusted gross income is less than a certain amount, about $52k/housheold I think, then you are entitled to E-file your federal taxes for free using a variety of online services. TurboTax's online software is one such place. For reasons which I think are shared here on slashdot, I refuse on principle to do my taxes through some company online. This year, I fell just outside the AGI cutoff anyway, but not by much.

This year I helped a friend prepare his taxes using TurboTax. His AGI was below the limit for free e-filing. And yet, for some reason, the copy of TurboTax running on his computer never mentioned he was entitled to it. It would only e-file for an additional fee. You would think that, since he had already paid for this software, which is basically the same tax-crunching software that runs Intuit's online service, Intuit would be more willing to e-file his taxes than the taxes from someone who only visited their website and didn't pay for anything. This is not the case, however. The line I (eventually, after an hour) got from their tech support line (in Bangalore) was that anyone who actually purchased the software must have so much money that they'd never qualify for free e-filing. I look at it more along the lines of: shucks, you were such a sucker for buying this software in the first place, surely you'll be enough of a sucker to pay us even more.

I don't use TurboTax anymore.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>