Blaming TurboTax?!

In Accounting & Finances, Business, Taxes on October 1, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: ,

Want to Use TurboTax as a Scapegoat?: It Won’t Work

Everybody knows that you shouldn’t blame other people – or things – for your own mistakes. Everybody except Bartlett apparently, who tried to blame TurboTax for her under reported income.

First, Bartlett under reported her taxable pension distributions not by $101, not $10,001, but by $101,998! Then she got caught. Then she went to court and tried to get out of it, by arguing that she used the TurboTax software program to prepare her taxes, so it must be the software’s fault. Well, the court did not buy “that” argument.  Tax Court Judge Julian Jacobs ruled against her, stating that the errors “were not computational…but were the result of Bartlett systematically under reporting her income.” (Bartlett v. Commissioner, T.C., No. 22669-10, T.C. Memo. 2012-254, 9/4/12.)

In other words, Bartlett couldn’t blame her “bad math” on a computer program: the software is only as good as the information entered into it. Garbage in, garbage out….. As a result, Bartlett was hit with a deficiency of $43,668 and an accuracy-related penalty of $8,734.

Maybe Bartlett just wasn’t good with numbers. More likely, she wanted to cheat the system and tried to get smart when she got caught. Either way, the moral of the story is to double-check your numbers if you’re using a tax program – or better yet, just hire a professional tax preparer to file for you.

On the Money, Sufen Wang, Wang Solutions

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