At his confirmation hearing in the Senate Finance Committee today, Timothy Geithner, the nominee for Treasury Secretary, said he used Turbo Tax to file his taxes during the time that he worked at the International Monetary Fund.
In reporting on the hearing, the The Hill newspaper notes, "TurboTax is considered the gold standard of reliability among accountants," citing a Texas CPA who says so. But the story goes on to say that Mr. Geithner's mistake--not paying Social Security or Medicare while classified as "self-employed,"--is a common one at the IMF.
So it's man vs. machine in the quest to determine who really is to blame for Mr. Geithner's $34,000 snafu. One clue is Turbo Tax's Web site. The online tax preparation site offers free tax-prep software for users who want basic services.
But there are other options. The "Deluxe" version of Turbo Tax offers a chance to "maximize your deductions." Then there's "Premier," for those with rental property and other investments. The cost: about $30 for the "Deluxe" version and $50 for "Premier."
If the program really did fail Mr. Geithner to the extent he claims it did, let's hope he didn't shell out any cash for the extra bells and whistles.