Thousands of taxpayers who use TurboTax and other Intuit software can once again file their Minnesota returns with the state’s blessing, now that Minnesota Department of Revenue officials are cautiously optimistic the company has resolved chronic software errors.
The department announced Monday that Intuit’s frantic effort to fix software bugs that had bungled campaign contributions, education deductions and other tax issues had apparently paid off. The company also has pledged to pay any tax preparation expenses for those who have to file amended returns as a result of the problems.
“We would have liked to see the changes made sooner, but [Intuit] has been cooperating very well, working through the weekend to fix the problems,” Terri Steenblock, assistant revenue commissioner, said Monday. “Sometime this week, we will be able to know if everything is working and completed and in place.”
The tone was a departure from Friday afternoon, when the department alarmed Minnesota taxpayers by warning them not to use TurboTax because of persistent and “completely unacceptable” mistakes.
The state first became aware of problems with TurboTax and other Intuit products about two weeks ago when Intuit notified the department it was holding back about 11,000 returns until the company could adapt the Minnesota tax-return software to recent federal tax-law changes.
Later, the department received complaints from taxpayers about errors they found in their completed returns, including political contributions designated for the wrong party and the education credit not having been applied to multiple dependents.
On Friday, the Revenue Department issued its statement warning taxpayers away from Turbotax, Lacerte, Intuit online and ProSeries software, after the company couldn’t assure the state that all the problems had been resolved.
The state identified 13 issues with the various software products, which affected 14,000 taxpayers out of more than 1 million state income-tax filers so far this year.
Steenblock described the two most egregious problems as the political contributions mix-up and an error that provided property tax refunds by check when direct deposit was indicated, thus delaying those refunds.
Intuit, based in Mountain View, Calif., worked through the weekend to resolve the issues, according to company spokeswoman Julie Miller.
“Intuit released fixes [Monday] to resolve programming errors in our consumer and professional tax products and is communicating directly with affected customers. ... We’ve had all hands on deck to address these issues and reassure the state and our customers that our Minnesota state products are accurate and complete,” said Bob Meighan, an Intuit vice president.
For the most part, if taxpayers prepared their taxes with the software and have already filed electronically, the state believes it can correct any problems with the returns, Steenblock said.
Taxpayers who mailed in their tax forms probably will need to file an amended return.
“Intuit will issue refunds to affected Minnesota state TurboTax customers for the full amount of their tax preparation fees,” Meighan said. “Nothing is more important to us than delivering an accurate return to our customers and building the trust and confidence professional preparers and taxpayers have in Intuit.”.