Saturday, April 02, 2011

TurboTax, Quick Tax and Stock Trade Tracker

I have been a user of QuickTax for years, and for 2010 taxes it is now called TurboTax.

If you buy the Platinum version it allows you to record all your stock buys and sells in a separate program called Stock Trade Tracker, or STT.

Every year I struggle to remember how to import the info from STT up into QuickTax, and I have just struggled to get it into TurboTax. But now I remember. I will write it here so I can find it next year...

It looks like it should be easy, but it is not.

First, if you are on the EasyStep screen that asks you for T5 information, don't try to use Stock Trade Tracker to provide it. STT does not produce T5 forms. Move along. The chance to enter Capital Gains and Losses comes later. Why does Turbotax even hint that STT is useful for T5s?

When you do eventually come to the Easy Step that looks for Capital Gains and losses, it will give you a screen that looks almost the same as the one asking for T5 info. But now, click on the link that opens STT. Then go to Reports and select Capital Gains. Then pick Last Year. Make sure it is what you want. For example, if you have TFSA trades in there, take them out. If you have RRSP trades in there, take them out.

Assuming it is the right info, go back to TurboTax and follow the instructions. It works fine.

What DOESN'T work fine is the glib assurance in the TurboTax help screens that the process is as easy as clicking one button. No, you have to work through several steps of opening STT and picking your report. Judging from the frustrated and unanswered comments in the margins, TurboTax has an opportunity, shall we say, for an improvement in customer service.

UPDATE Jan 30 2012
It appears that TurboTax has dropped STT entirely. For me this is a real pain, as the computer drive that held my old QuickTax applications has crashed. I have my backed up data files, but I was counting on another copy of STT on TurboTax 2011. Now I am going to hunt for the box with the old app disks in it, which is not the end of the world.

But I don't like their suggestion, as noted in the link above, to sum the amounts from your trades and import the total into TurboTax. I like to have the trades themselves, and in the event of an audit we can go through them all and see if anything was missed or double counted. Pffft.