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Kyle Potter, Associated Press, Published March 08 2013

TurboTax errors could delay Minnesota tax returns

ST. PAUL — Some Minnesotans who used TurboTax and other tax programs may receive their tax returns later than usual this year, state revenue officials said Friday.

The Department of Revenue is sorting out a handful of communication issues with Intuit tax return software — including TurboTax, Lacerte, Intuit online and ProSeries — that have resulted in inaccurate tax information being sent to the state. The problem is limited just to returns this year in Minnesota, a company spokeswoman said.

That includes some Minnesotans who would receive a larger property tax refund than they should actually get, Terri Steenblock, assistant revenue commissioner for individual income taxes, told reporters on a conference call. The errors also have caused problems with writing off educational expenses, with $5 campaign donations, and returns marked for refunds by check rather than direct deposit, among others.

“This is completely unacceptable,” Steenblock said. “We want these issues corrected immediately.”

About 10,000 tax returns will be affected by the programming errors, Intuit spokeswoman Julie Miller said.

She said Intuit has been working with the state to address the issue for the past week. Intuit has already pushed out automatic software updates for the desktop versions of TurboTax and the software used by commercial preparers, she said, and it has made the same fixes to the online version of TurboTax. The company has sent emails and hard-copy letters notifying the affected TurboTax users and commercial preparers,

“We stand behind our satisfaction guarantee and if for any reason a TurboTax customer is not satisfied we will absolutely return their money,” she said.

Anyone using Intuit products for tax returns should file electronically because it's easier to target problems than with paper filings, Steenblock said. But the department also has a list of other safe programs to use listed on its website at http://www.revenue.state.mn.us.

Steenblock encouraged people who have already filed tax returns using Intuit programs to call the company at 1-866-888-4609 to sort out any potential issues.

Miller said the company will go back and test its programming to ensure the errors don't happen for the 2013 filings.