Customers who recently submitted TurboTax forms but were qualified for the Internal Revenue Service’s Free File program will soon get money as part of a multistate settlement with TurboTax’s parent company, Intuit.
According to a press release Thursday from the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office, eligible customers include those who paid to file federal income tax returns through TurboTax for the tax years 2016, 2017, and 2018.
The $141 million settlement, announced a year ago, came in the wake of a 2019 ProPublica report that showed Intuit had steered low-income taxpayers toward its fee-based products after promising them access to no-cost tax filing services — in part by using advertisements that promised “free, free, free” filings.
“Frequently ‘free’ didn’t mean free at all,” ProPublica reported. “Many who started in TurboTax Free Edition found that if their return required certain commonplace tax forms, they would have to upgrade to a paid edition in order to file.”
According to the settlement terms, qualified clients would immediately receive a check in the mail without having to register a claim. According to the press release, most will earn between $29 and $30.
“By requiring consumers to pay for tax-return services that should have been available for free, Intuit cheated taxpayers out of their hard-earned money,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry said in a statement.
“Intuit’s deceptive practices and aggressive advertising campaign were unnecessary and illegal; especially when the IRS offers free tax-return services for eligible consumers.”
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