Tax Season

TurboTax is a crappy piece of software.

This is the most depressing time of the year. It's not just because I have anxiety from possibly owing money by not withholding enough tax, it is mostly TurboTax.

I cannot believe how often it crashes, despite having to update itself nearly every time I launch it. Importing forms from Bank of America? Crash. Every time. What is worse is that everything I had imported were gone. I appreciate it must be complicated, but that is not helping me to trust the software? And they are raising the cost every year, ostensibly because I need a different "edition."

I think it is important to learn from other people's mistakes. So I learned valuable lessons that perhaps apply to more than software engineering:

  • If you asked someone for input, and they took the time to answer, don't ask again. Remember the answer. Save the entire document before your application crashes, if you can't deal with remembering the last 30 seconds.
  • Breaking up a product so that you can make more money by selling functionalities is not cool. What? How many people bought TurboTax only to file for federal income taxes and not state?
  • Having to click an additional button to continue importing data is a poor experience. Putting a "skip import" button on the next screen after you ask people to type in their credentials and deal with a browser windows is stupid. Clearly for some institutions you are able to bypass the browser altogether? It is almost cruel to force user to go through the task again because of poorly placed UI buttons.
  • Having an Intuit account that doesn't seem to have any benefits is extra work for user to create a throw-away e-mail account. Who are you selling my information to?
  • How is it that a critical financial software crashes the way it does? Even if the input cannot be validated you don't have to crash? If the user takes the time to explain what didn't work and what he was doing just before the crash, he is trying to help you and most importantly your other customers. Don't squander this goodwill by not acknowledging the feedback and not addressing the problem. True story: the Bank of America import crash happened last year.

I know Intuit makes a ton of money by selling software that many people use. Some government agency ought to look at how crappy TurboTax can make people depressed. It is not right. 😏