Intuit fixes TurboTax software after 'unacceptable' glitches affect 10,000 customers

The problems were confined to returns filed in the state of Minnesota, according to a spokeswoman

Some U.S. taxpayers may have to wait a bit longer than usual to get their refunds, due to problems that recently cropped up with Intuit's tax-preparation software.

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Revenue said state taxpayers shouldn't use Intuit's products to file their returns due to a number of "unacceptable" errors that could "jeopardize the accuracy" of returns and delay refunds.

In an update released Monday, the department listed nearly 15 problems that had cropped up with several Intuit tax programs, including TurboTax, Lacerte and ProSeries. The problems were associated with a marriage credit, property tax refunds and state campaign fund contributions, among other areas.

Intuit has released a series of fixes to resolve the programming errors, the vendor said Monday.

Intuit "is communicating directly with affected customers who file returns in the state of Minnesota," Intuit vice president Bob Meighan said in a statement. "We've had all hands on deck to address these issues."

In addition, Intuit "will issue refunds to affected Minnesota state TurboTax customers for the full amount of their tax preparation fees," Meighan added. "Nothing is more important to us than delivering an accurate return to our customers."

In some cases, the state will be able to correct affected returns but in others, customers will be required to file amended returns, according to the Minnesota DOR.

Some 10,000 customers were affected by the issues, Intuit spokeswoman Julie Miller said via email Tuesday. These include consumers who use TurboTax and professional tax preparers who use Lacerte and ProSeries, she added.

The programming errors "are unique" to Minnesota, Miller said. "We're not experiencing these issues in other states or in the federal return."

Intuit's quick move to fix the problems, as well as to cover affected customers' preparation fees, reflects a sensitivity to the stiff competition it faces from a wide variety of other tax-preparation service providers, such as H&R Block.

That company is even seeking to block Intuit from airing a number of television ads on grounds they are unfairly disparaging to H&R Block's business and employees.

The U.S. tax code's vast complexity, with an ever-evolving federal code and many variations among the nation's 50 states, keeps all tax software vendors on their toes each year updating their applications to handle changes, making occasional glitches seem inevitable.

This isn't the first time problems with Intuit's tax software made headlines. In 2011, a snafu resulted in some Ohio taxpayers getting letters that erroneously indicated they'd be receiving gigantic refunds.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
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