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Shelley Elmblad

TurboTax Removes E-file Fees

By November 25, 2008

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Upadate 12/16/2008: TurboTax removes e-file fees for real this time (TurboTax desktop), in response to irate customers and TaxCut's more generous pricing policy.

Update 12/10/2008: Edited third paragraph with news about TaxCut for tax year 2008 pricing policy.

Update 11/24/2008: Thanks to reader comments to this blog post (see below), I have additional information from the TurboTax web site regarding the TurboTax e-file policy: the cost of TurboTax includes one e-file and print for one federal tax return. Additional fees apply for preparing additional federal returns ($9.95) and for e-filing state returns ($17.95 - but TurboTax Deluxe and higher includes one state return).

This info takes some of the steam out of the "good news" about TurboTax removing fees for filing tax returns electronically. Wayne Hinkel posted a comment saying that he thinks TurboTax will "reverse this inane policy within a month or so" to avoid losing customers. I hope he's right.

TaxCut tax prep software includes e-files fees for one 5 federal returns and 1 state tax return, but TurboTax will set you back $60-$100, depending on the version you choose while TaxCut runs from $50 - $80 for comparable versions at a slightly lower cost.

Intuit announced that it will be eliminating the e-filing fees from the next release TurboTax, which will be TurboTax for tax year 2008. I would expect this to release late in November or early in December.

The IRS doesn't charge for e-filing, but many tax software packages have been charging for this service. I can understand some small fee to cover bandwidth if processing had to be done in Intuit's infrastructure, but in recent years, both TurboTax and TaxCut had e-filing fees that were clearly designed to pull in profits, with a cost of over $15 per efiling last year (state and federal, separately). Profits are a good thing, but gouging the customer is not.

TurboTax is the strongest player in the world of tax software. Removing the e-file fee is great for the consumer and it's great for Intuit's business.

September 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm
(1) AZ_Doug says:

About the only time you hear the term price gouging it’s associated with gasoline and few small retailers; I’t call that capitism and market pricing.

In my mind, e-filing fees are a true example of price gouging. It is easy to understand why e-filing is the smart thing for the IRS to promote. It is not easy to understand why they put the process in the hands of opportunists and allowed them to gouge the public.

I vowed to file a paper return until the Government and/or Industry removed the cost penalty associated with e-filing.

I’ve avoided Intuit in the past for other reasons, and competition being what it is, I can probably expect other players will be offering the same service even if it comes with a modest price increase in the product. I’m looking forward to it.

November 4, 2008 at 9:26 pm
(2) Bill says:

Intuit may have said they’re removing the $15 e-file fee, but what they didn’t say was that they are raising the price of TurboTax by $15. I have a pre-order confirmation e-mail from Intuit for TurboTax at $44.95 in September, then a new confirmation arrived in November with a price of $59.95, an increase of $15 with NO prior warning. Intuit support said the price for e-filing would have been 17.95 so I’m saving $3! Their math is wrong! And if I hadn’t saved my prior confirmation, I wouldn’t have remembered the original lower price and I’d have been ‘baited and switched’ without knowing it. I’m cancelling the order.

November 5, 2008 at 4:40 pm
(3) Shelley says:

Hi Bill. Thanks for reporting your findings. Geez, what a bummer.

November 23, 2008 at 11:31 pm
(4) Frederick Amidon says:

I ordered TurboTax 2008 Personal and Business at Amazon last night but after reading a review and doing some online research learned that TurboTax is only allowing you to file for one person and not members of your family so I canceled my order and ordered H& R Block TaxCut for less money. It allows me to do my children’s taxes using the same copy.

November 24, 2008 at 2:46 pm
(5) Wayne Hinkel says:

Fred Amidon is right: TurboTax 2008 e-filing or printing is only “free” for a single return. The e-filing cost is buried in a price increase. If your have to file more than one return with the same installation, they will charge $10 for each additional e-filing OR PRINTED RETURN! Many prospective customers are switching to TaxCut by H&R Block this year. I expect Intuit to reverse this inane policy within a month or so, or they will lose droves of customers next year. Unfortunately, however, many will not notice the “fine print” for this year’s version.

November 25, 2008 at 9:49 am
(6) Julie Walraven says:

I’ve used Turbotax for years and never liked the e-filing fees. We use the small business version so the fee was $94.90. It renews automatically but this may be something I assess for next year. I have two sons that I use the software for too so we do get hit with extra charges.

November 25, 2008 at 1:03 pm
(7) Denise Sposato says:

Shelley …
It’s Denise at H&R Block. I wanted to make sure you are aware of the “true cost of e-file” for tax season 2008.

Yes, TaxCut has eliminated e-filing fees for one federal return within all of it software offerings and TaxCut has done this without raising prices. In fact, our H&R Block TaxCut Premium Federal + State + E-File product is $20 less than last year; TurboTax raised it’s pricing for its comparable product by $15 YOY.
Check out:
pull down the HTML code and place the widget on their pages.


And, with TaxCut 2008, users can prepare and print multiple federal returns at no additional cost.

Plus, we’ve included one free Ask a Tax Advisor session in all our Premium software versions. If you e-file, with TaxCut you’re also covered by our Worry-free Audit Support in the event of an audit.

November 26, 2008 at 5:43 pm
(8) Bob Meighan says:

Many of you have seen my prior posts here and I understand you have questions and comments about some of the changes we’ve made to TurboTax desktop pricing. Also, I think it’s important that you hear directly from TurboTax vs. a competitor who likely doesn’t have all the facts.

So, what’s different for 2008?

1. Desktop pricing: You’ll pay $15 more this year for TurboTax desktop products. Let me tell you why I think that’s still a really great value. Every year, we make customer-driven improvements to the product, adding features and services customers want and use most, things like ItsDeductible, Audit Support tools, and Cost Basis calculator. This year, TurboTax is even easier to use, delivering a new, streamlined experience for people with simple returns so they can be done in under an hour. And federal e-file is now included with every federal tax return. We include these features in TurboTax at an overall lower price than what you’d pay separately. Most of our customers will pay about $3 less this year.

2. Additional returns: You can prepare, print and e-file additional returns with TurboTax. For just $9.95, you get all the features and benefits of TurboTax, like year-over-year transfer and audit support tools. Plus you can print and federal e-file at no additional charge. Federal e-filing is now included with every TurboTax federal tax return. That means customers who e-filed one or more returns last year will actually pay less this year compared to last year. You can start and work on as many returns as you like and still use all the tax planning features (scenario and alternative planning) you’ve come to value without having to pay extra. Federal e-filing is easy, fast and more accurate than paper filing and eliminates paperwork hassles. You’ll receive IRS confirmation your return has been received and best of all, you’ll get a faster refund, in as little as 8 days.
TurboTax offers a wide variety of products and pricing options to meet the needs of all tax filers – everything from our TurboTax Online Free Edition for simple returns to TurboTax Home & Business for much more complicated tax situations.

When you compare pricing on tax software products, make sure you’re getting a true apples-to-apples comparison. TurboTax Deluxe, for example, is our most popular product and provides many of the same features and a great value compared to some competitors’ “higher end” versions.

Also, make sure you know what is and is not included in the software you choose. For example, another post here suggests that TaxCut Premium is $20 less than last year. This ignores the fact that this product now charges $19.95 for state e-filing, which was previously included last year in the price.

We understand that not every customer will use or value every feature and service we include in TurboTax. We do believe that TurboTax continues to be a great value and that’s why it remains the best-selling and #1 rated tax software year after year.

I hope this information helps.

Bob Meighan
VP, TurboTax

November 27, 2008 at 10:29 pm
(9) Russ A says:

Meighans comments are just corporate spin to divert attention from Intuit’s price gouging. Turbo tax is fleecing customers and to sugest that the product is a “great value” is preposterous!

November 28, 2008 at 11:52 am
(10) Rusty says:

Top 30 Comments about Turbo Thief (tax) (from Amazon)

#30 Declining quality, increasing prices, draconian money grab
#29 Time to start the boycott
#28 Intuit’s arrogance
#27 Charges for TurboTax: Product No Longer Competitive
#26 pricing is unacceptable
#25 I am switching
#24 I vote No to Turbotax
#23 Time to Change
#22 A rip off this year
#21 Time for a Revolution
#20 You’ve lost another loyal customer
#19 Goodbye Turbotax, Hello taxcut
#18 I’d be suspicious of anything put out by Intuit now
#17 Looking elsewhere to tax preparation software
#16 Another Intuit money grab
#15 Are we long time customers or becoming victims?
#14 I to will be choosing a competing product this year
#13 my relationship with Intuit and TurboTax is over
#12 Enough of TurboTax, greedy sobs
#11 Shame on INTUIT
#10 tired of getting ripped off by Intuit
#9 Say good night Intuit
#8 send a message to this greedy company that consumers have had ENOUGH!
#7 Intuit’s Terrible New Pricing Policies
#6 Turbo Tax Loses Long Time Customer
#5 Turbo-rip-off!!!,
#4 The “free” e-File feature is a joke. TaxCut here I come!
#3 I definitely won’t be buying Turbo Tax this year. What a joke.
#2 I am moving to another product! I used TT for many years. NOT this year bub!

#1 It should be called ‘Turbo-Thievery’

November 28, 2008 at 1:53 pm
(11) RJ says:

I am (was?) a 10 year TurboTax user who never eFiles. I try to manage my withholding and taxes so I owe taxes each year instead of giving the government interest-free loans of my money.

Paying anything for the “privilege” of paying the IRS faster via eFile is nonsensical to start with. TurboTax claiming that users “save” because a feature we never use is now cheaper is outright dishonest and insulting. In the current economy, the new approach is doubly offensive.

We are intelligent, Mr. Meighan. Do not ask us to pay for what we don’t use and give us the option to not pay and not use. That’s the beauty of software and flexible, consumer-centered business practices. Meanwhile, I will hold out for Intuit to get their head straight by Christmas or else I will look at TaxCut or other options.

November 28, 2008 at 7:27 pm
(12) John says:

I’ve been using TurboTax for many many years. I use it for my personal return combined with three additional family member returns. I’ve been reluctant to switch to TaxCut because I’m very comfortable with the look and feel of the product.

I’m not happy with the new pricing for additional returns. I think the previous 5 return limit was fair. After 5 returns, it’s more likely that the user is selling their services. However, I volunteer my service and I don’t want to pay the additional fees.

I’m curious if anyone has any experience with the learning curve when switching to TaxCut from TurboTax.



November 29, 2008 at 1:29 am
(13) Vicki says:

Tax Cut is just as easy to use, and may actually be easier. No learning curve at all.

November 29, 2008 at 9:47 am
(14) RRR says:

“Turbo Thief”
I have been a TT user for 15 years and a beta tester several times. The product itself is pretty good but the greed at Intuit is unbearable. In 2005, TT eliminated the free e-file coupon and raised the price. Now in 2008, TT again raises the price, charges for 1 e-file (weather you use it or not) and limits the number of returns to only 1. At half the current price, the product would be expensive. Now the cost is outright obscene. I couldn’t possible recommend TurboTax anymore.

I have read all the negative recommendations and blog posts here on Amazon and think Larry sums them all up.. “A name change is in order for this product now. It should be called ‘Turbo-Thievery’.”

November 29, 2008 at 10:51 pm
(15) Rusty says:

Once again you seem to be totally out of touch with real consumers. How could you possibly be promoting Turbo tax and the fake free efile, when we all know its a scam. Is there ever any independant research before you promote a product? Looks like you just print the PR fom Intuit.

November 30, 2008 at 3:11 pm
(16) MAC III says:

I have used Turbo Tax since it first came out–probably at least 10 or 12 years. I do my return, my widowed mother in law and my two college kids. I never efile.

I was surprised at the price jump for Turbo Tax Deluxe to $59 from around $35 but I could live with that. So as I looked at that I saw the $10 per extra return and couldn’t believe it. And if you print a planning draft or two…. I could be over $100 in no time–and I don’t efile.

Turbo Tax better withdraw the $10 extra fee and be happy with their 40% base price increase. I would say they better get their announcement out by Dec. 15 and in the Holiday Ads.

And as mentioned they hide this $10 pricing. I really thought they learned their lesson when they prevented you from using TT on more than one computer several years ago. But this is crazy. Intuit will spend more on the first month of defending the class action that will be sure to be filed for hiding this pricing–most people haven’t even thought about it and won’t figure out the problem until April 14.

If some genius at Intuit decided to try this, see what happens, and decided they can always turn it off if the customers complain, they should be fired.

After Dec. 15 I will buy Tax Cut if the $10 issue is not resolved. I have never tried Tax Cut before and have been a loyal TT user for over a decade, but this is it. Great job marketing for Tax Cut by Intuit–I never would have tried it but for this.

November 30, 2008 at 4:18 pm
(17) Shelley says:

Rusty: Did you bother to read my blog post? I posted my update acknowledging free e-filing issue 5 days before your comment accusing me of being a shill for Intuit PR. Furthermore, my original post of 9/24/2008, which appears below my updated post from 11/24/2008, discloses how the IRS does not charge a fee to e-file while tax software generally does. I received a notice that TurboTax was removing e-file fees and I reported on this accordingly. I thought this would be great for TurboTax customers, until I was told of the price increase and printing constraints. I do not have access to pricing plans for the software I cover while it is still in beta phase (I rarely even get to see the software during the beta phase), as was the case in September with TurboTax.


November 30, 2008 at 4:23 pm
(18) MAC III says:

Here’s the pricing info from the TT website. Note the five print state limit if you buy TT State (not sure this applies to buying it with Deluxe) but only one print limit on federal. Per the fee discussion below, the $10 per return is suppose to buy you federal, state and fed efiling, so the five limit for state means nothing if they don’t give you five federal returns. Extra state efiles after one are $17.95. For those of us who don’t efile, it will be interesting when after the first return is done they lock you up until you get out the credit card. Should be interesting on April 15. If they don’t bump the federal to five and leave the state at five, I’ll be going to Tax Cut.

2008 TurboTax Pay Per Return
Updated: 11/26/2008Article ID: 6156

Every year, we increase the value of TurboTax by including features and services our customers want and use most. We’ve done this in the past with things like ItsDeductible and audit support. Rather than charge separately, we now include them in the product at an overall lower price than what you would have otherwise paid separately.

That’s true this year with the inclusion of federal e-filing in our desktop products. Most of our customers now e-file and these changes will result in a savings of a few dollars.

Pay Per Return

If you complete more than one desktop return, you get all the ease and benefits of TurboTax, including state return preparation and federal e-file, for only $9.95. If you efiled more than one return last year, you’ll save even more – what was $17.95 is now only $9.95.

You can still prepare multiple returns for family members, either using the desktop product, or if you prefer, TurboTax Online Free Edition. It’s is ideal for simple returns and offers free federal tax preparation and efiling, too.

Here’s how Pay Per Return works.

TurboTax Desktop
Buying TurboTax Fed (Desktop) gives you the ability to create one (1) federal return to either print or efile.
You can use TurboTax CD/Download to prepare additional returns. Each additional federal return costs $9.95 whether you print or efile. For additional returns, you pay only when you are done preparing each return and are ready to print or efile.
TurboTax State
Buying TurboTax State software gives you the ability to create and print up to five (5) returns.
If you choose to e-file your state return, the fee for that is $17.95 per return.

November 30, 2008 at 7:07 pm
(19) Rusty says:

I read you 9/24 review a day or two after you first posted it. I had to laugh because Bob Meighan had just announced the changes on 9/25 during beta. Obviously, you were not in the loop about the price impacts but you went ahead and wrote how great this was for consumers.
Beta was over on 10/13 but it took you until 11/24 to correct your first report and only then after readers alerted you.

November 30, 2008 at 9:42 pm
(20) Shelley says:

Rusty, it would have been great to hear from you about the price points you knew about when you first read my blog post in September. I understand, however, that if you were on the beta team as you suggest you were, you were required not to disclose any information until TurboTax released in November. Since I was not on the beta team, I had no way of seeing this coming and frankly, neither did any of the many others – including The Wall Street Journal – who reported on the e-file fee being “dropped”.

I still not understand the tone of your posts, but thank you for taking the time to speak up and make this discussion lively.

December 7, 2008 at 9:15 pm
(21) ron Grabski says:

I will change also. I was ready to buy TT Deluxe but noticed the small print about the additional charge for additonal filings.

So I tried to look up if this was something that was always in effect and somehow did not affect my filing my mom’s and daughters in the past. Now that I find out the charge is an additonal $10, I will try a new product.

December 8, 2008 at 2:56 pm
(22) TurboTax Free At Last says:

The new pricing policy by Intuit for TurboTax 2008 is simply outrageous. And as an added bonus, since I’m a paper filer of 8 returns, the potential for technical glitches trying to get printing rights when the servers are jammed is too horrible to contemplate. As a long-time user of TT Home & Business and TT Business each year, I will be switching to TaxCut Home & Business, thereby buying only one package each year going forward.

I would like to extend warm holiday greetings to Intuit. Thank you for the opportunity to switch to TaxCut and save money. The holiday season is such a joyous time.

December 10, 2008 at 12:37 pm
(23) 2burmdad says:

I’ve been a user (touter) of TTax since day one.

Never have e-filed (too many attachments).

But, I’ve known that I should get with the program, and was pleased to see what appears to have been Shelley’s report a few months ago. As many of you know, Congress and the IRS have desired the software industry to stop charging for e-filing, and it appeared that the TTax commentary in Aug was responsive to it.

But, alas, really, we all must now pay for e-file, and the e-filing is not free. Big whoop, $10-15 built into the pricing instead of $13-17.

As a very experienced tax person, I don’t use all the prompts that the TTax VP extols above. I just use the forms.

Can I learn Tax-Cut real fast? Sure. Can all those I know do the same, and I’ll be quite willing to tutor? You bet.

Funny thing is that I am trying to work TTax into a community tax prep service, and now I probably need to look at HRB-TaxCut. That’s lots of people who will not be introduced to TTax.

December 10, 2008 at 2:39 pm
(24) David James says:


David James at H&R Block TaxCut. I thought your readers would be interested to know that all TaxCut software for 2008 now includes 5 FREE Federal e-files. This with no associated cost increase.

Plus you still have the abiity to print multiple returns too. I will also point out that TaxCut software does import prior year data from TurboTax software.

To compare TaxCut to TurboTax, visit our website: http://digits.hrblock.com/topicsofinterest/efile/truecost.php

December 11, 2008 at 11:16 pm
(25) Bill says:

I’ve used TurboTax since 1992. I dropped it after 2003 (after their printing fiasco), and have been using TaxACT ever since. TaxACT is half of price of TaxCut, and has no limitations whatsoever. Their $19.95 “Ultimate” bundle includes Fed + State + 1 free efiling. Addt’l efilings are only $7.95 each & addt’l state returns only $13.95. The first time you use TaxACT you’ll have to enter everything (TaxACT doesn’t read TurboTax files), but after that it’s fantastic. And most important — they haven’t raised their prices once in the years I’ve been using it. As far as I’m concerned, TaxCut is where TurboTax was a few years ago and it, too, is overpriced. Just my two cents worth.

December 12, 2008 at 12:03 pm
(26) Julie says:

Hi, Julie from TurboTax here. Wanted to make sure you’re all aware that yesterday, we announced that TurboTax desktop customers can prepare and print MULTIPLE returns at NO ADDITIONAL COST – eliminating the $9.95 additional return preparation fee we had at the start of the tax sesaon. We also do include 5 federal e-files at no additional cost. We just want you to know that we heard you and your opinion counts. Thanks

December 15, 2008 at 12:13 am
(27) John says:


Thanks for the update.

I’ve been a TurboTax user for many years. However, I was just about to place my TaxCut order due to the new TurboTax pricing scheme.

Now, I’ll be sticking with TurboTax for at least another year.

December 16, 2008 at 5:27 pm
(28) Julie says:

Thanks John! Glad you’re still a TurboTax customer. Julie from TurboTax

December 18, 2008 at 5:48 pm
(29) Rusty says:

Intuit’s response is a too little too late. All they did was drop the per file fee’s and match the 5 free federal efile offer that TaxCut had extended a week earlier. Turbo Tax did not roll back their $15 price increase over last year. So in the end, Turbotax Premier lists for $89.95 while TaxCut Premium lists for $49.99. Intuit makes such a big deal about how they listen to their customers, but it is now so obvious that they consider customers as revenue stream
to be milked.

January 10, 2009 at 12:05 am
(30) Sam says:

Was getting ready to place my order for TurboTax on Amazon when I got alarm by the rating. After reading through it and understand the whole situation, I’ll be going to TaxCut this year for me and my family. They touch on my nerve in 2003 and now lost my trust with this fiasco. I don’t think there is much difference between the 2 software if at all and here Intuit decides that they want what comes to about doubled what TaxCut is before the change recently. (I need TurboTax Premier due to Capital Loss issue for 2008, Premium from TaxCut does the same but cost less. Then I usually do another federal and state efile for my gf and paper filing for my parents). Greed have it’s limits when you still have a strong competitor, I hope Intuit lost more than 30% of customer this year and really learn a lesson.

January 17, 2009 at 11:29 pm
(31) DavidG says:

So when I got to the bottom line last night, the charge for Fed and State e-file with Turbo Tax Deluxe Online was $65. That’s a $20 increase from last year for me to file a simple 1040a. Makes me wonder if the single form filers are now paying for the multiple form filers. I am, like many here, a long time user of TT, but not this year. To add insult to injury, as I opened up my Quicken 2006 (another Intuit product), I was informed that in April all online services would be deactivated, forcing me to upgrade (only $40 with the $20 discount!). After a little bit of online searching, I was able to e-file both Fed and state for only $10 (my1040a.com).

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