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TurboTax's Timothy tweaks

Remember Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's confirmation hearing troubles when it was revealed that he didn't pay self-employment tax on some of his earnings? That tax screw-up helped him make my decade in taxes list (#5).

Remember, too, when Geithner told the Senate Finance Committee that he screwed up while using TurboTax? We all know it's a poor craftsman who blames his tools, and Geithner did tell the confirmation panel that any mistakes he made were his own.

But apparently TurboTax doesn't want any more guilt by association, at least in cases like the Treasury Secretary's. The popular tax program has tweaked its help question list for folks who, like Geithner did, have income from foreign sources.

Mary O'Keefe, who pens Bed buffaloes in your tax code (and thanks to TaxProf and Tax Update Blog for tipping me to her post), notes that the new edition of TurboTax "help" option for W-2 data has added a question that should make things easier for future Treasury Secretary wannabes.

First, courtesy Mary's screen shots, take a look at the previous edition:

Turbotax help screen last year

Now check out the 2009 version and its added question:

Turbotax help screen revised post Tim

And just in case that's not enough, the latest TurboTax edition offers this added explanation for affected filers, be they Cabinet appointees or just folks in Geithner's situation:

Turbo tax help_TimG tweak

Now if TurboTax could just figure out a way to get cabinet appointees to fully grasp nanny tax implications!

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bry from turbotax blog

Straightforward questions helps taxpayer to properly fill up the forms for filing their returns plus the IRS post a new sample of draft used by taxpayers to calculate their returns. that's why next tax season everything will be fine.

Julie Miller

Julie from TurboTax here. Yes indeed! TurboTax 2009 does includes a new interview question to provide more guidance to taxpayers who work for a foreign government or an international organization. This is one of many annual updates and enhancements that are routinely included in the software to make it easier for all customers, regardless of their tax situation, to fulfill their tax obligations. Every year, we use feedback from customers, government, partners and other stakeholders as key inputs to TurboTax product development. When an issue or a question is highlighted through any of these channels, we take it very seriously, as demonstrated by the continuous enhancements we make to the product year-over-year. And of course, we'll see what we can do about the Nanny tax next!
Hope this helps

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