Warning: I’ve always believed that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are risks associated with this deal, the main one being that Amazon.com will go under before we have a chance to spend our refund. If that happens, you will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that I got burned right along with any of you who take this offer.
If you use TurboTax for your taxes and have a refund coming, here’s an easy way to make an extra ten percent instantly. My guess is that not everyone will qualify for this offer, but it’s something to watch for. You can choose to receive part of your tax refund in the form of an Amazon.com gift card — with the face amount equal to ten percent more than the amount of your refund you use this way. Intuit joins Amazon so you can earn 10 percent on your tax refund. And it’s ten percent today, not ten percent per year.
Background: TurboTax and Me
I’ve been using TurboTax for my taxes since the years before Intuit bought it. To give you some idea, several returns were printed with a dot-matrix printer. Yes, TurboTax is that old. And I’ve used it every single year. Without TurboTax our tax situation would be hopeless.
This year, due to a combination of somewhat lower income and about the same expenses, we’re getting a fair-sized refund. I was approaching the finish line (or, in this case, the electronic filing line). Much to my surprise, I saw this offer:
Don’t get excited. This is a dummy tax return put together with hypothetical numbers that guaranteed a refund. After consulting with my lovely wife, I accepted the deal. And, sure enough, I was promised that if I let Amazon keep $x of my tax refund they would give me a gift card for 1.10 x $x. Example:
(If you can’t read those tiny screen shots, click here for a pdf file that shows both of them clearly.)
What Does It Mean?
There is one risk to this deal: if Amazon declares bankruptcy, my gift card will be worth nothing. And I have to wonder why Amazon is offering this deal. Cash flow problems? Unable to borrow in the financial markets? At the very least, this needs investigation by somebody with more time on their hands than me.