I have used Turbo Tax before and just paid their fees. My wife, on the other hand, questioned the fees and the amounts.
In their so-called "Free" Federal e-file, the company is misleading. Although it IS free to file your return, you will run into additional fees no matter who you are or the amount of the return. The online service NEVER warns you that your income is about the amount entitling you to a free filing, and you are never told that you will not be able to print out a decent copy of your return, cause additional expense of time, paper, and ink.
Your return will save to a .pdf file, which you can look at on the computer, but you MAY NOT print a paper copy of it until you pay a fee to Turbo Tax. Trying to print BEFORE they charge your credit card (or you agree to an additional "Bank Fee" to process your return and help you get YOUR money) the file is coded in such a way that if you attempt to print a copy black streaks will occur in your printout.
I spoke to a representative from Turbo Tax, her name was Shantrel or something like that. She confirmed my suspicion that the .pdf file is deliberately encoded in such a way that black streaks will appear if you attempt to print the file. She stated that this is so that taxpayers will either (A) purchase the retail product, (B) pay the fees online, (C) pay a tax preparer to do the return and file it for you, or (D) make you hunt down paper forms to file by mail. A different representative, you would not give me his name, stated "It's to keep dishonest people like you from ripping us off" and then he hung up the phone.
I spoke with an agent from the Internal Revenue Service, Tax Law Division. He stated that if your AGI [Adjusted Gross Income] is over a certain amount, (see www.irs.gov for the numbers) you are not entitled to a free e-file. He admitted it is kind of unfair, but it would take an act of Congress to change the rules. He also stated that he had heard of this from other taxpayers, but there was nothing that could be done.
Calls to three CPA's and three enrolled agents were also made. Two of the six had heard of this happening (one admitted that one such taxpayer had come to him to have his return filed for just this reason) but four of them stated that IN THEIR OPINION this was unethical for Turbo Tax to do, but that there was nothing that they were aware of in the law that prevented this computer coding. They stated that Turbo Tax abides by the letter of the law, since the .pdf will display on your screen and allow you to review the paperwork in that fashion. But they all stated that this is no different than their own practice, where they will show you your return, BUT NOT ALLOW YOU to take a paper copy to file by mail or do the e-file for you until you have paid their fees.
One CPA admitted that if the taxpayer did not wish to pay the fee, that the preparer would take the paper copy of the return, hand the taxpayer back their records and tell them to tave a good day.
So it come down to this: The ripoff here is that you are NOT INFORMED OF ALL THE FEES from Intuit/Turbo Tax...fees to print out a paper copy of your return, fees to a bank (possibly owned by them) in order to "transfer your money to your account" (on a paper return, the government does this for free) and also the fees for a state return (these are mentioned on the retail box, but not until you are a half hour into the online version) so use Turbo Tax at your own risk!