(Reuters) – Intuit Inc. agreed to pay $ 141 million in compensation to settle claims from all 50 U.S. states and Washington, DC, that it tricked millions of customers into buying TurboTax products online that the company fraudulently advertised as “free” “.
Wednesday’s settlement resolves allegations that Intuit directed at least 4.4 million customers, many with low incomes, to purchase their tax preparation products even though they were entitled to free electronic registration through the Internal Revenue Service.
The settlement also requires the United States’ largest online taxpayer to stop ads containing slogans such as “TurboTax Free is free. Free free free free.”;
Intuit offers two free versions of TurboTax: an IRS Free File version for low-income earners and military personnel, and a commercial product called TurboTax Free Edition for “easy” returns.
The states said that as of 2016, Intuit directed customers who were eligible for the IRS Free File to use the TurboTax Free Edition, only to later tell them that they had to pay $ 59.99 or more to file because their returns were not easy. .
Intuit withdrew from the IRS Free File program in July last year.
“For years, Intuit has misled the most vulnerable among us to make a profit,” New York Justice Minister Letitia James said in a statement. “Today, every state in the nation holds Intuit accountable.”