I get really annoyed by the TurboTax commercials that say "we found John Doe an extra $2,863." That's just not right. It's the difference between an accurate return and inaccurate return.
These commercials have an impact. I have one 1040 client who insists on doing his 1040 by hand because he insists that it is easier for me that way (it's not but I think you knew that). He brought his information in two nights ago, and by his estimation he has a Federal refund of $3,000 coming his way. We sat there talking about different matters, and he kept saying "Well I've got the $3,000 coming back" and I kept saying "Don't get married to that number."
I did most of the return the next morning before heading to field work at a client. The refund is more like $3,500. I talked to my client and told him how things were looking and he said "Well done, Joel. You got me an extra $500."
No I didn't. All I did was prepare an accurate return. All he did was prepare an inaccurate return.
Intuit first convinced everyone they could be an accountant. Remember those commercials for QuickBooks? "Can you write a check? Then you can use QuickBooks." Now with TurboTax they have everyone thinking that TurboTax finds them all of this extra money.
If only Intuit would use its powers for good.