How a typo nearly cost me $3000 dollars

Here’s a delightful tale about my adventures in taxation last year. It’s about 450 words and a quick read. As with any post I write about typos, I’m sure there’s at least one.

I love Turbo Tax. Our taxes are relatively simple and don’t require the services of an expert. Some might say these are famous last words, and last tax season, they nearly were.

After a relatively brief and painless session at the computer, our taxes were done. If you’re familiar with Turbo Tax, it helpfully displays the amount you owe the Feds and State at the top of the screen. If you’re lucky, the number is green and you get a refund! In the spot for State, however, there was a red number. A BIG red number, one that was far larger than it should have been.

cursing-squirrelComparing my results to the previous year, there was a $3,000 discrepancy. And it wasn’t in our favor.

I went back through every single page of my new returns. And again. And again. And again.

The numbers were right. As God as my witness, they were right!

Now, I’ll step away for a moment to explain how I couldn’t possibly be at fault here. I’ve been professionally proofreading documents for nearly 20 years. It’s been my responsibility to catch those errors that people have overlooked. I have all sorts of methodologies at my disposal for catching typos and such.

So clearly – OBVIOUSLY – there’s something wrong with Turbo Tax.

That’s all there was to it. Somehow, a withholding on the Federal form wasn’t calculating in the State form. My software was dun broked.

By now, it was after 1:00 am. I tried using Turbo Tax’s help center, both in the app and online. I Googled for other Minnesotans complaining about the same issue—surely, I wasn’t the only one.

And there it was. For the love of all that’s good and just in the world, there it was. My entry of “MN” now read “MO”. My Minnesota form wasn’t pulling the withholding because I only had Missouri withholdings. Now, whether this was the result of a global conspiracy against me or an accidental press of the down arrow key, I’ll never know. My friend in Geek Squad would have referred to this as an ID-10-T error (remove the hyphens to get the joke).



The rest, as the cliché says, is history. I fixed the problem and successfully submitted my returns. Phew.

Good triumphs over evil! Well, not really. Actually, it was a humbling reminder that, no matter how careful you are, no matter how many times your review a document, it never hurts to give it one last review.

And then one more.


© Michael Wallevand, June 2018


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