ProPublica has long detailed how Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and other companies have worked against making tax preparation easier and less costly.
State attorneys general just reached a $141 million settlement with the Silicon Valley juggernaut. Victims will receive up to $90 each.
Using lobbying, the revolving door and “dark pattern” customer tricks, Intuit fended off the government’s attempts to make tax filing free and easy, and created its multi-billion-dollar franchise.
Following an investigation sparked by ProPublica’s coverage, the Federal Trade Commission is asking a federal court for a restraining order barring Intuit from marketing TurboTax as “free.”
One reporter spent 2021 freelancing, giving her just the kind of low-paying tax mess that TurboTax’s innovative services or the IRS Free File program should be able to help with. Her foray into “easy” tax prep tools proved otherwise.
TurboTax Maker Intuit Faces Tens of Millions in Fees in a Groundbreaking Legal Battle Over Consumer Fraud
In addition to the unusual mass arbitration Intuit is fighting, federal regulators and state prosecutors are still investigating the company, which made $2 billion dollars last year.
The company’s decision throws the future of the Free File program, which was created as an alternative to an IRS free tax filing system, into doubt.
The probe, spurred by ProPublica reporting, centers on whether Intuit tricked customers into paying for tax filing when they should have been able to file for free.
The antitrust probe comes after ProPublica detailed how the takeover could reduce competition in the tax prep business.
The investigation, which is ongoing, came after a ProPublica series showed that millions of Americans were coerced into paying for tax filing they should get for free.
Millions of Americans have spent billions on TurboTax and other tax prep that they shouldn’t have. The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations recommends the IRS advertise the free filing option.
Millions of Americans Might Not Get Stimulus Checks. Some Might Be Tricked Into Paying TurboTax to Get Theirs.
Congress gave the IRS the job of sending out coronavirus rescue checks. But the underfunded agency is struggling, while for-profit companies like Intuit have started circling, hoping to convert Americans in need into paying customers.
“Allowing a near-monopolist to eliminate a maverick competitor poses obvious risks of harm,” said one former DOJ lawyer of Intuit’s proposed Credit Karma acquisition. “It’s hard to imagine any reason why this should be allowed.”
Intuit has amped up its misleading digital advertising in the wake of a new IRS agreement that bars tax prep companies from burying the agency’s Free File program.
TurboTax and Others Charged at Least 14 Million Americans for Tax Prep That Should Have Been Free, Audit Finds
Tax software companies made around $1 billion in revenue by charging people who were eligible to file for free.
The changes come after ProPublica’s reporting showed how TurboTax maker Intuit tricked customers into paying for tax prep they could have gotten for free.
ProPublica revealed that TurboTax maker Intuit charged millions of Americans for tax filing services they were eligible to receive for free. Now multiple state attorneys general have opened investigations into the company.
After ProPublica sued the IRS, the agency released emails that show it has allowed the tax preparation industry to write the rules.
IRS-Funded Review Confirms TurboTax Hid Free Filing From Search Engines, but Says There’s No Need for Major Changes
An outside firm echoed ProPublica’s reporting but defended the oversight of the tax-prep program meant to help millions of Americans file their taxes for nothing.
Trump’s Tax Law Threatened TurboTax’s Profits. So the Company Started Charging the Disabled, the Unemployed and Students.
The move by TurboTax maker Intuit to charge more lower-income customers has helped boost revenue.
The change comes after ProPublica highlighted the deceptive marketing practices of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and other major tax prep companies.
Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, created and promoted a “military discount” that charges service members who are eligible to file for free.
The video obtained by ProPublica shows the CEO defending the company as committed to “integrity without compromise.”