Taxes filed, beware TurboTax

I’m glad to have my taxes done and out of the way. This year (2008) was far simpler than 2006, or 2007. Back in college I had up to seven simultaneous jobs. The paperwork was painful. This year I’m down to two W-2s, my Roth IRA will be maxed out ($5,000 contribution limit, FYI) and life is good. Oh, and since I was such a charitable guy (donations to United Way), Colorado owes me $200. Sweet.

But, I learned one painful lesson: if you have started a return with TurboTax you cannot downgrade to a lesser version of the product. This makes some sense because you’re given “advice” with some of the advanced products. But, TurboTax will not let you start over, reset, or downgrade. You have to create a brand new account which means your prior-year returns are no longer accessible from the same account. So I can go all the way through the process of filing, up to the point of hitting ‘submit’ (and maximize deductions, receive advice, etc.) and then start over for free.

I can’t make this up, from the TurboTax FAQ:

Once you’ve started preparing your tax return with TurboTax Online, you can upgrade your TurboTax Online product to Deluxe, Home & Business or Premier to take advantage of the extra features and tax guidance available in those products. After you’ve upgraded to one of these versions, your tax information will transfer to the upgraded version automatically. However, to switch back to a lower-priced version, you’ll need to start a new return with a different User ID, as there is no option to switchback to the previous version once you have upgraded your product.