FTC Sues Intuit for Misleading TurboTax ‘free tax filing’ Ads
Today, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Intuit, the maker of tax preparation software TurboTax, over deceptive advertising campaigns pitching free tax filing products that millions couldn’t use.
As the consumer protection watchdog explained, Intuit allegedly pushed supposedly “free” products in a years-long ad campaign, misleading Americans that they could use TurboTax to file their taxes for free.
The ads used to promote Intuit’s free TurboTax filing have been shown during major events in the US, including the Super Bowl and the 2022 NCAA Basketball Tournament.
However, as the FTC says, roughly two-thirds of all tax filers in the US could not use the TurboTax free product advertised by the accounting and tax software provider in 2020.
“The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against Intuit Inc., the maker of the popular TurboTax tax filing software, by issuing an administrative complaint against the company for deceiving consumers with bogus advertisements pitching ‘free’ tax filing that millions of consumers could not use,” the FTC said.
“In addition, to prevent ongoing harm to consumers rushing to file their taxes, the Commission also filed a federal district court complaint asking a court to order Intuit to halt its deceptive advertising immediately.”
Because of the purportedly deceptive ads from Intuit, many Americans attempted to file their taxes for free using TurboTax over the years, only to find that it was all just a waste of time.
The Commission has filed a complaint asking a federal court to order Intuit to immediately halt its false advertising campaign.
It also has authorized the filing of a separate administrative complaint alleging that Intuit’s practices are illegal as they violate the FTC Act.
“TurboTax is bombarding consumers with ads for ‘free’ tax filing services, and then hitting them with charges when it’s time to file,” said the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Samuel Levine.
“We are asking a court to immediately halt this bait-and-switch, and to protect taxpayers at the peak of filing season.”
The FTC says Americans with adjusted gross incomes of $73,000 or less can use several products available through the IRS Free File Program to file federal tax returns and state tax returns entirely for free.