The tax software mess continues (for tax year 2015 returns)

Last year, I was was surprised and disappointed when various tax software programs seemed to fail when it came to correctly reconciling the self-employed health insurance deduction with the premium tax credit.  TurboTax seemed to come closest to getting things right, and H&R Block never did figure it out.

I had been an H&R Block user for ages, but got a refund from them and shifted to TurboTax.   This year I stuck with TurboTax… though quite frankly  I am not a fan of the software.

But I did assume that with another year to sort out all the glitches, the software packages would all have it things figured out by the time 2016 rolled around.

However, it seems that my assumption was unwarranted.  Already the glitches are a subject of puzzlement and debate.

So I’m creating this new post as a place for comments concerning the ins and outs of the software.

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11 thoughts on “The tax software mess continues (for tax year 2015 returns)

  1. Well, after a bit of a slow start with TT, it appears that after the Mid Jan update the SEHI section seems to be working. (although my situation is pretty straightforward compared to Douglas’).

    My only problem, (which is the same problem I had last year which caused my refund to be delayed by 8 months!), is an incorrect 1095-A from the Exchange. (Column IIIB all zeroes.) It is strange because they know it is a problem (they tell you in the transmittal letter to go to the web site and get the correct numbers), but won’t print them on the darn 1095-A. Oh well. Hope it doesn’t take 8 months to get my refund this year!

    • Maybe you should just check the box to have the refund applied to your estimated taxes (?). That way you can get the benefit of the money even if IRS lags behind. Of course that all depends on how much your refund is in relation to the amounts you would ordinarily have to pay with the quarterly estimated.

      • Yea, the way it works out for me is my under/over payment is usually pretty small. I do not take any of the ACA premium subsidies during the year and this sort of acts as my estimated taxes. These first two years this has worked out well and my net over/under payment/refund has been very small.

  2. I’ll just say, if your income is bordering the 200% or 300% (and maybe 400%?) Federal Poverty Levels, be careful. I don’t believe any of the sites are doing it right. The deduction they give you is not the sum of the clawback and premiums (and other insurance costs, if you have that). See https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2941800-self-employed-health-insurance-deduction-and-advance-premium-tax-credit-clawback? (Note, dmertz later changes his opinion to the higher clawback and the higher deduction seem to be correct). I suggest making a retirement contribution so you save the extra $500 repayment some sites calculate, get out of that “goofy zone,” and your deduction and repayment numbers make common sense. By the way, if you are looking to use the spreadsheets from last year, update them with the new “applicable figures,” https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8962.pdf page 8.

    • After reading the posts on TT concerning the clawback calculations I am glad to not have to worry about that. Seems crazy complicated.

      Thanks for the heads up about the applicable figures on the spreadsheet. I corrected the one I use but was still having trouble getting it to match my TT calcs. Then I finally figured out I did not update the poverty level value. After doing that it matched TT perfectly. Nice to have a confirmation since these PTC calcs seem to still be a bit “fuzzy”.

  3. Does anyone have an update on H&R Block handling self-employed marketplace health insurance for tax year 2015 by chance? Or anything besides TurboTax?

    They were pretty awful about it last year, with the software simply saying, “Nope, can’t do this. I know you paid money and spent all this time entering your taxes, but now that you’re done, I’ll finally tell you I can’t calculate this and you should go pay one of our tax professionals instead.” Calling them got no sympathy except an offer of a refund the day before taxes were due.

    Feeling like it’s the lesser of two evils since I just confirmed with Intuit that the downloaded TurboTax Mac version still cannot print or save a PDF locally, intead transmitting your data to and from their server first. Seems like keeping one’s data secure on a machine was the main point of downloaded software. I’d left TT behind since Intuit had been a pretty awful company to work with but was going to have to return before learning this.

    If anyone’s found an update on H&R or some other solution, that would be lovely to know.

    Thanks.

    • I am a long time TurboTax user (dowload for Win) but I can understand your concern with the MAC version. Took a while for TT to get it right last year, but seems to be working OK (at least on the more straightforward returns) this year.

      Looking at last years comments, TaxAct seemed to be working for some (at least for simple returns) you may want to look into that.

      Before you buy anything, it may be worth your time to check out the user forums for the software you are considering and seem if there are lots of complaints about how it is figuring the SEHI deduction first!

      Best of luck.

  4. This is my first time using H&R Block Premium software. I usually use Turbo Tax which is more expensive. Found out that H&R only has the 1095-A forms included. NOT THE 1095-B or 1095-C. I called and spoke with a representative for the software and he didn’t know of these forms at all. So I called the H&R local office and told them that these need to be filed, but there is no way to file them electronically. He said it’s not manditory this year. Well now I’m not so sure after reading all this. I guess my next move is to call the IRS directly and see. If anyone else has this issue, let me know.

  5. For the particular problem I described above, olt.com (OnLine Taxes) has agreed that it wasn’t being done properly, and changed their software accordingly. TurboTax has not corrected it yet. (Remember, this is only a problem when your income is right at the 200%, 300% (400%?) boundary of a Federal Poverty Level). I really like olt.com, very responsive and respectful customer service, they let you see all the forms, and free federal filing.

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