Claiming your software is free free free will get you sued sued sued

Sued^50, aamof.

taxing text

clicky clicky → ← clicky clicky

tl;dr If I voluntarily and knowingly bought turbotax, can I get anything back?

[tan]Perhaps I will try to get something back from them on their 100% guaranteed accuracy pledge. Far more pissed at PA than at turbotax. I made timely quarterly estimated tax payments, fourth one shortly before 1/15/2022. I thought they were enough that I would owe no penalty (definitely NOT the safe harbor for no penalty, but enough of the tax for the year that I would owe nothing.)

In early Feb 2022, turbotax was suggesting I would owe a penalty for underpayment. (turns out that was due to incomplete data entry and I had paid enough estimated tax OK). So in early Feb I made an additional payment of estimated tax. Expected there would still be a penalty for it being slightly late, but less than if I waited to pay it until April 15.

So in April I file the return. By then with that Feb estimated tax payment I was getting a refund (but not without the Feb payment).

Saturday I get a notice of penalty for failure to pay the tax due for the year. They haven’t included the Feb payment. I ask why: they say the last date for estimated tax payments for 2021 is Jan 15. So the Feb estimated tax payment counts as a TY 2022 estimated tax payment. I send a couple more questions, but they say my only recourse is to pay the full amount they say I owe (the underpayment plus the penalty) and after that file an appeal. I will, but so incredibly stupid.

(There’s a good chance that some of the stupidity is mine. I paid the estimated tax online and might carelessly have told them it was a TY 2022 payment. But they never asserted that in any of our e-mails. They insist an estimated payment made in Feb 2022 cannot be for TX 2021.)

(So if Turbotax guarantees an error-free return, and lets me enter an estimated tax payment with a payment date after 1/15/2022, has Turbotax goofed? But I remain far more upset with PA than Turbotax)[/tan]

Personal Attorney?
Port Authority?


All these “free games” with in-game purchases should be sued too.

The mistake here is probably yours. I forgot to make an estimated payment in January as well. When I went to make the payment in February, there wasn’t an option to pay for 2021. I was fortunate that I missed the cutoff for the underpayment penalty.

Personal gripe here, I have no withholdings on my earnings. Yet every year I owe the Feds extra money. It pisses me off that their formula for taxing me is that bad. It used to bother me less but this year almost all of our income was reported on our W-2s and has withholdings for both the feds and the state. I just don’t get it.


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I am trying to follow the A and B here. Do you have withholdings or not?

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I know this doesn’t help you for 2021, but if you’re ever in this situation again, go online and print out an estimated tax voucher for the year that just ended and mail your payment in with your SSN and “4Qyyyy estimate” in the memo line.

They’re NOT going to say no to that. Yeah, you’d be subject to interest from January 15 until the date you mailed it in, but that’s less than if you wait until April to pay.

If TurboTax refuses to accept the February date then lie to TurboTax and say you paid it 1/15. It’s unlikely anyone will shake you down over a few weeks of interest… how much was the 4Q estimate anyway?

Or better yet, ditch TurboTax. How incredibly dumb to not allow late estimated payments. :woman_facepalming:

Another option if you really want to go through TurboTax would be to file an extension. You can always make a payment with your extension and you can file the extension right up until the filing deadline.

It’d be slightly crazy, but there’s no real reason you couldn’t file an extension in February with a payment and then actually file your taxes (now due October 15) in March.

The problem with that, which makes it inferior to a late estimated payment, is that the extension payment might be considered an April 15 payment in terms of interest. That is, I have no clue what TurboTax would do with that, but our software doesn’t have a mechanism to add a date to an extension payment, which is different from an estimated payment. Extension payments all get treated as being made on the original filing deadline (dumb, but true). We do have a mechanism to suppress the interest calculation though, and we can certainly put any date we want on estimated payments. (Heck we can credit you today with an estimated payment for, say, 4Q2019 if we really wanted to, and then we can file your 2019 return in July and you’ll save two months of interest.)


It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that you have paid sufficient tax by each of the quarterly due dates, whether through withholdings or estimated payments.

Your employer should calculate your withholdings based on your W-4, but there’s several issues with that:

  1. Your W-4 needs to be reasonably accurate.

  2. If you have a working spouse you may want to withhold at the single rate because your employer isn’t going to take your spouse’s earnings into account even though that will affect what you owe by driving your income into a higher tax bracket.

  3. If you haven’t updated your W-4 post-TCJA then your employer has no hope of withholding the right amount. TCJA changed so much that an old W-4 is virtually irrelevant. IMO Congress should have required employers to get new W-4s for 100% of their employees when TCJA passed… but that would have highlighted just how radical the changes were and I don’t think Congress necessarily wanted to do that.

But yeah, your first sentence doesn’t jive with the rest of your post. Do you mean that you don’t claim allowances on your W-4 that would reduce your withholdings?

I think I used the wrong terms. What I meant was that taxes are taken out of my earnings by the organizations that issue us our W-2s every year. I’ve had W-2s in the past where that wasn’t the case. Our W-4s are both filled out, for every organization where we had one, with the number that reduces the tax they take out set at 0. From my perspective, this means that my income is being taxed at the source and they should be taking out the maximum amount of tax. So my gripe is that even though 97% of our income is from our primary jobs, we still owe extra at the end of the year even though we should already be paying the highest tax amount for whatever calculations determine how much is taken from our paychecks.

Also, it was on the IRS website that I couldn’t make the payment for 2021 after Jan 15, not TurboTax. In the past we’ve had some uncommon income sources and larger capital gains that we needed to pay tax on and that is what I’d pay. Normally I’d do it in like December so that we’d get a refund instead of owe more tax but I usually guessed to low. Like we would owe $3,500 but I’d guess $3,000. We end up owing the feds almost every year but the state typically refunds us about the same amount that we owe the feds. I find the whole process annoying and a waste of time.

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And you have one/both of your employers withhold additional amounts to reflect the higher tax brackets of the second income I assume?

Two things:

  1. Paper voucher and check via snail mail will work for a late estimate. I didn’t realize the IRS won’t let you do that on their website though. That’s dumb. They should let you file an extension and make the extension payment online though. If you do that… I’d tell TurboTax it was an estimated payment.

  2. We have a graduated tax system, so the more money you make, the more you pay in taxes. If you & your spouse each work only one job at a time then saying “married but withhold at the higher single rate” should get you close. If your W-4s both have zero allowances but say “married” then your taxes are being withheld as if your spouse didn’t work at all, which will be too little tax withheld.

Even “married but withhold at the single rate” will result in too little Additional Medicare tax withheld if your joint income is materially over $250,000. But that’s only 0.9%.

If you have multiple jobs simultaneously then you’re going to have to go the route of having extra taken out, or making quarterly estimated payments as no employer could possibly figure that out.

But in your case, checking that both w-4s are “married but withhold at the single rate” is probably good enough.

FWIW, this is called an “allowance”.

BTW, this is an artifact from the time when women quit their jobs upon getting married. Unless they were doing something like working to put their husband through college / graduate school. But it used to be that two income households, especially for middle class & higher, were quite rare. When that was the norm, this was a quite logical way of doing things.

Now that it’s not the norm, “married” shouldn’t be an option on the W-4. It should be relabeled “married with a non-working spouse”.

That would lead to less confusion.

Actually, it depends on how high your income is. If you guys are both in the stratosphere this still won’t be enough either due to the marriage penalty in the higher income brackets, phase out of the standard deduction, the aforementioned Additional Medicare, Net Investment Income Tax if there are stock options, and more.

So in that case you’ll still have to either have extra withheld or make estimated payments.

This is a fallacy. There is no highest amount.

I’ve found marginal tax rates that were several hundred thousand percent. Admittedly the really crazy marginal rates tend to hit the low income folks, but still… there’s SO much variation.

That’s my gripe. I shouldn’t have to do that. I should just have the tax taken out of my paycheck and I’m done. I understand why it doesn’t work that way, it’s still stupid. And then I get penalized because the tax code is too complicated to figure out what I owe when I make it.

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First step is to see if your W-4s say “married” or “married but withhold at the single rate”. That might solve all your problems right there. (Although as I said, if you’re really in the stratosphere even that won’t work, but it’ll get you closer if they currently say “married”.)

If you’re confident that both W-4s say 0 allowances and 0 dependents then I can probably tell you whether you’re being withheld at the married or the single rate just by looking at your W-2s, pay stubs, or you could just tell me the federal taxable wages and federal withholdings.

So if you’re comfortable sharing that info with me (and it’s totally fine if you don’t want a random internet stranger knowing that info - I won’t be offended) feel free to send me a PM with the relevant info and personally identifiable information blotted out to your level of comfort.

Pay stub info I’d also need to know the pay period (weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, etc).

Or you could try to figure it out yourself by looking up the withholding tables.

And again, if you have more than one job at the same time, there’s no getting around the need to have additional withheld. But it sounds like you & your wife each have 1 job, so I think that’s not an issue if I understand correctly.

No, maybe I phrased it badly above. I think Turbotax behaves exactly as I think it should, exactly right in a sane tax world. Turbo tax has no problem with an 2021 PA estimated tax payment in Feb 2022, and includes that payment in my total estimated payments for tax year 2021.

That’s just totally different from what PA is claiming. PA claims that payment is impossible. An estimated tax payment made after Jan 15 2021 MUST be for TY 2022. So they say I did not pay as much estimated tax as I claimed to have paid, and thus did not pay enough total tax for 2021.

You think? Note this screen print for the instructions for paying 2022 estimated taxes

Read literally (which may or may not be the intent) a payment of under $15,000 may be made by check but is subject to a 3% penalty. Perhaps they intend that to apply only to the payments over $15,000 but that isn’t what they say.

The 2021 instructions don’t have a similar statement, nor do they say anything about estimated tax payments not being accepted after Jan 15.

Not much dollars at stake her. That estimated payment was under $1000. The total amount I had to pay now was under $200, which around $20 penalty and interest. (The estimated payment being larger than what I had to pay now is because with that payment I was getting a 2021 refund, which I told them to apply as a 2022 estimated tax payment.)