Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bad help can be worse than no help at all

Yesterday we finally filed our income taxes using H&R Block's At Home Deluxe edition.

Overall, it seemed pretty good - Jocelyn had entered most of it a while ago and just wanted me to have a final check.

Unfortunately, after having the program check everything there was a final validation before the filing was submitted to the IRS, and that validation squawked. Apparently, there was an address to the left where there was a zero on the right (for "Other Mortgage Interest", which we didn't have, there was an address entered), and that would just not do. Sort of makes sense, if you didn't want any number on the right, why would you enter stuff on the left? Of course, WE didn't enter anything on the left, the program had done it on our behalf, and wouldn't let us delete it even using the override function.

OK, things don't always go right, so we called their tech support line. Did not have to wait very long even though it must have been a very busy time for tax season. The only problem was their suggestion: the undesirable entry must have been a result of importing the previous year's data, and maybe something having been wrong in the previous year's data that wasn't caught then and that this year would not be allowed - so START ALL OVER AGAIN WITHOUT IMPORTING LAST YEAR'S DATA.

That answer was just so shatteringly unpleasant that it took me a while to continue the conversation, but it came down to that. Just start all over again, shrug, sorry, but there is nothing we can do.

Jocelyn was willing (had no choice really) to type it all in again and asked me just to print what we had out for her so she could laboriously re-enter it. I wanted to go over things first, because this just seemed so unpalatable, and in the process of going over things manually I found a place where Jocelyn had checked a wrong checkbox (suggesting we had other mortgage interest) and after unchecking that everything went through.

So my verdict: their tax package is not bad at all, but their assistance is worse than useless. You are on your own.

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