Florida Tax Review

Article Title

The TurboTax Defense


This Article analyzes the “TurboTax defense” under section 6664(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Article addresses the issue of whether reliance on computer tax software may be permitted as reasonable cause in good faith exempting taxpayers from the accuracy-related penalty of section 6662(a). It suggests (1) the courts have missed an opportunity to clarify when a TurboTax defense is justifiable, (2) the software companies, in conjunction with the IRS, should work together to promote a more equitable, efficient, and effective use of computer tax software, (3) the Treasury should promulgate detailed guidelines or regulations establishing when a TurboTax defense can be used by an individual taxpayer, (4) the IRS should consider offering taxpayers the option of assessing their tax due or refund owing, and (5) the current informal partnership between the software companies and the IRS should be critically assessed to address advances in software technology and increasing taxpayer reliance on commercial tax preparation software.