Reader Elijah is glad he gave his taxes a manual check before sending them off. Despite accidentally inflating his cross-country moving expenses from $1,635 to $1,635,335, TurboTax’s audit check said Elijah’s return was “green” — meaning that he was at low risk for an audit. Now, Elijah’s wondering: If $2,000 error on his tax return wouldn’t put him at risk of an audit, what would?
During the Tax year 2007 I got married, and also moved to a new state. This added a few extra levels to my tax returns, so I decided to buy a copy of TurboTax to speed the process.
I entered all of the data for myself and my wife, and on the last step the software ran through a process to see if I was in danger of an audit. After checking all my stuff it gave me a “Green” rating, meaning that I was at very low risk of an audit. It also told me that my wife and I would get approx $4,000 as a return. I was pretty stoked.
Before I eFiled I printed off the return to check it over manually and boy, was I glad I did. When you get to the “Moving Expenses” page within TurboTax you have 3 boxes to enter individual expenses. We had a freight company, which cost $1,635 and hotel stays which were $335. What I hade done without noticing was miss the TAB between boxes, so my tax return showed a moving expense of $1,635,335. I can not, for the life of me, figure out why the software wouldn’t have some sort of upper limit for deductions that would catch something like this, or why it seemed to think a 7 figure deduction wouldn’t get me audited. After correcting the error my return was calculated to be about $2000.
Between that and all the last minute online filing fees I think I will take my tax preparations to a reputable accountant next year, rather then trusting lackluster software.
Whatever you choose to do, remember, tax prep fees are tax deductible.