Sunday, February 7, 2010

Feeling poor

Turbo Tax has a feature that compares your return to the US averages (for 2007). I was a bit disconcerted to see the average salary and wage income reported to be $420,000 and the average tax paid reported to be $190,000. This seemed quite high and in fact appears to be wrong. According to this (table 1) the correct values are about $60,000 and $8,000. Apparently Turbo Tax was comparing to the top 5% (or so) of returns, not all returns. So my poverty is only relative.


  1. This seems a good opportunity to update a comment of mine in response to last April 15th's blog, "State Income Tax". Once again this year the IRS offers "Free File Fillable Forms" for federal income tax. Starting at the IRS website you can get to a site where you can fill out tax forms online and then electronically file them for free. I decided to give it a try. I did fill out the forms but was sufficiently unhappy with the process that I decided not to file electronically. Instead I am following my recent habit of downloading forms from the IRS website, filling them in on my computer, printing them, and then snail-mailing.

    Sources of my unhappiness included:
    * The promise that the website would "do the math" was limited to their adding up totals and copying numbers from one line to another. I had to decide which of two numbers was the larger, do all calculations requiring work sheets, and compute my tax. In other words, they did most of the easy calculations and left all of the tedious ones to me.
    * They copied one number to the wrong place, thereby converting a gain to a loss. This could not be fixed because, where they think that they can fill in a number, they will not let me do it. Until this bug is fixed electronic filing is precluded.
    * They do not understand a situation requiring a subtotal within a list of items.
    * They round too soon and do not offer the option of not rounding.
    * I could not save a copy of the forms on my computer; I could only print them.
    * The displayed forms do not respond to the scroll ball on my mouse.
    * The format of the forms to be filled in differs somewhat from that of the standard forms.

  2. Thanks for the heads up, noknot-google.

    Fleshed out a bit, this looks like a useful set of bug reports/feature requests. You might consider submitting them (if you can figure out how to do so:-)

  3. It sounds as thoough snail mail may be the answer for you. Have you tried Turbotax? I like, it and have used it for two years. It probably depends on what your tax situation is, though.