TurboText Adventure

I realized when I was finishing up my taxes last week that TurboTax is basically boiled down complicated tax forms into a text adventure. They ask you hundreds of questions, you fill in some numbers, and you’re done.

I’ve been using TurboTax online for six years now and I typically work on my taxes in fits and starts. I’ll kick it off in January by importing last year’s info. In February I’ll feed in all my 1099s and W2s to see how awful my tax hit could be. March is mostly totalling up expenses and tracking down receipts. By April, I’m scraping together all the money I owe.

Since I revisit my return a lot, I’m having to jump around in the application and there often isn’t a direct easy way to get to precisely the form you want. I’ve started to almost memorize the game paths.

Thoughts that crossed my mind when I finished my return recently:

I have a home office deduction to total up — I need to enter the Schedule C castle and answer 8 questions correctly to get to the part where I can save money.

Remember: to get past the Big Boss near the end, you have to answer ‘no’ to every audit alert you see. Yes, even the big red flashing ones.

When you first buy a house in the game, they send you into this level that goes on and on, with one brutal question after another, but don’t fret, because at the end you get a bunch of bonus money.

I should write up a complete walkthrough to solve Tax Return 2006 in as few moves as possible.