If you buy an expensive product at a discount, is it still a discount? What if you can buy the same product at pretty much the same price everywhere else without a coupon or a special link? Is it still a discount?
I’m talking about the “discounted” TurboTax offered through financial institutions like Vanguard or Fidelity.
Vanguard prominently features a TurboTax discount on the homepage.
Why do they do that? To help their customers save some money through a negotiated deal? Nah. The only logical reason would be that TurboTax/Intuit pays them for sending customers.
I wouldn’t mind letting Vanguard or Fidelity earn the marketing dollars from TurboTax if customers actually get a discount. When you think you are getting a 25% discount, you actually just get pretty much the same price you get everywhere else. That price is also substantially higher than the price on a comparable product from its closest competitor.
I looked at prices for TurboTax Deluxe plus one state return (prices as of Feb. 19, 2014):
|Online @ TurboTax.com||$30||$37||$67|
|Online via Vanguard or Fidelity||$20||$37||$57|
|Download @ TurboTax.com||$60||included||$60|
|Download via Vanguard or Fidelity||$50||included||$50|
|Download from Amazon||$50||included||$50|
|CD from Walmart||$50||included||$50|
|CD from OfficeMax||$50||included||$50|
|H&R Block Deluxe + State from Amazon||$29||included||$29|
You can buy TurboTax Deluxe + State from Amazon, Walmart, or OfficeMax for the same $50 price as you buy with the discount through Vanguard or Fidelity. Online actually costs more. Meanwhile you can buy the competing product H&R Block Deluxe + State from Amazon for $29. Sometimes you can buy it on sale under $25.
Only Flagship customers with $1 million or more at Vanguard used to get a true deal. They got TurboTax Deluxe + State for free. For 2015 tax year and forward, even Flagship customers don’t get a deal any more. See Vanguard ends customer discounts for TurboTax products.
[Photo credit: Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski]