FTC Sues Intuit for Its Deceptive TurboTax free Filing Campaign Federal Trade Commission

If you make less than $36,000 a year (or $69,000 if you’re in the military) and TurboTax is telling you it costs money to file, you are probably using the wrong version of TurboTax. TurboTax Free Edition is free for people who are filing very simple returns only. We went back to TurboTax.com https://turbo-tax.org/ and clicked on “FREE Guaranteed.” This time, we went through the process as a Walgreens cashier without health insurance, entering personal information and giving the company lots of sensitive data. We clicked and were relieved to see that filing for free was guaranteed.

If your tax needs take you beyond what TurboTax Deluxe can handle, instead of upgrading to TurboTax Premier or Self-Employed, you should seriously consider hiring a tax professional or getting live help from an IRS-certified volunteer, if you qualify. TurboTax also offers a service that has a CPA or other tax professional complete your return and file it for you; this currently starts at $209 for simple federal returns. We didn’t test this service, so we can’t comment on its reliability. Since tax time can be stressful for even the most organized people, in our testing we favored tax-preparation software that offered reassuring guidance throughout the filing process.

H&R Block Free Online vs. TurboTax Free Edition: Get More FREE with Block

Information about software developers will be published as it becomes available for tax year 2022. TurboTax Live, a paid service, gives you unlimited live tax advice via video chat. You can also have a CPA or enrolled agent review your return before you file. https://turbo-tax.org/turbotax-freedom-edition-2020/ Intuit increased its monthly online ad spending noticeably between January 2019 and January 2020, according to search analytics firm Ahrefs. Intuit places its ads strategically in searches for “IRS” and “free file,” among thousands of related search terms.

Turbotax Freedom Edition 2020

Most consumers will receive between $29 and $30, the site says, although some individuals who filed for all three of the years covered by the settlement could get about $85, the New York attorney general said. Besides having an outdated interface, FileYourTaxes.com charges $45 to file a printed federal return, even if you have a simple return. Lastly, MyFreeTaxes says TaxSlayer offers chat, email, and phone support. But during testing, the help dashboard never disclosed how we could seek live assistance, and it directed us back to the portal page we were already on or produced a blank page. But your mileage may vary, of course, and it can take work to find a good accountant or tax pro.

How Can We Protect Reproductive Freedom in the United States?

She has covered topics including when to hire a tax pro, the biggest deductions you should claim, and what to do to make the audit process less stressful. She’s also one of the 34% of Americans who actually enjoy doing their taxes. Kaitlyn Wells is a senior staff writer covering the intersection of home office, productivity, and technology. Previously, she focused on pets and personal style for Wirecutter. She’s also written about personal finance topics for The Simple Dollar, MarketWatch, MSNMoney, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Regardless of whether you’re using the MyFreeTaxes version or TaxSlayer’s own offering, the software is less user-friendly than our picks.

Melanie Pinola previously covered all things home office as a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. She has contributed to print and online publications such as The New York Times, Lifehacker, and PCWorld, specializing in tech, productivity, and lifestyle/family topics. She’s thrilled when those topics intersect—and when she gets to write about them in her PJs.

TurboTax’s human tax help

For more, check out how to keep your money safe from Zelle scams and what to do if your tax refund hasn’t arrived. If you missed the tax deadline this year, here’s what you should do next. Kaitlyn Wells is a senior staff writer who advocates for greater work flexibility by showing you how to work smarter remotely without losing yourself. She’s never met a pet she didn’t like, although she can’t say the same thing about productivity apps. Her first picture book, A Family Looks Like Love, follows a pup who learns that love, rather than how you look, is what makes a family.

Section II provides a broad overview of the history of TurboTax Free Edition and free tax preparation software generally. Section III then explores the benefits of providing a government sponsored free tax filing software. Finally, Section IV concludes by arguing that the IRS should provide free tax filing software to all Americans, eliminating the market for TurboTax Free Edition entirely.

TurboTax is an online tax filing service used by millions of customers every year to electronically file their taxes. Based on an agreement with the IRS, any taxpayer whose adjusted gross income is $66,000 or less is eligible to use online tax preparation software to prepare and file their tax returns for free for the 2018 tax season. TurboTax is the best online tax software because of its thorough and intelligent interview process. As a result, companies like Intuit, whose TurboTax is the top tax prep software, continue to confuse some customers who seek free tax prep into paying.

  • This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research.
  • You might think TurboTax has a similar offer — but when you compare the federal forms available between H&R Block Free Online vs. TurboTax Free Edition, TurboTax’s list doesn’t stack up.
  • The software points out when some selections are uncommon, to help you avoid checking the wrong boxes; for example, when we entered a dependent, H&R Block told us it’s uncommon to report that the child has an individual taxpayer identification number.
  • The text in the bill codifying the Free File program has long been sought by lobbyists for Intuit.
  • Plus, for the right person, who knows the right questions to ask about their return, a service like this one could be a smart middle-ground option between DIY filing and hiring a tax pro.
  • By comparison, Drysdale said, the TurboTax Free File landing page uses “free” 19 times.

However, the company vowed not to give up on free tax filing options. TurboTax said it processed 17 million free tax filings last season; of that, only 3 million came through the Free File program. Taxpayers are matched with a pro based on the question they have, and you can request a new tax pro if you’re not satisfied with the one assigned to you. According to TurboTax, its pros are either tax experts or TurboTax employees who have gone through vetting and internal training. Once you’re connected with your pro, you’ll also get to see their credentials.

Read this before you buy tax prep software

The free TurboTax Live Basic offer — which comes with live, on-demand expert help — lasts through March 31. TurboTax gives everyone free audit support from a tax pro to help you understand what’s going on if you get that dreaded letter about your 2022, 2021 or 2020 tax return; if TurboTax can’t connect you with a pro, you’ll get a refund. If you want someone to represent you in front of the IRS, you’ll need TurboTax’s audit defense product, called MAX. It runs an extra $49 and includes features such as identity theft monitoring, loss insurance and restoration help. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research.

Get advice and answers as you go, with a final expert review before you file.

What Is IRS Free File?

Intuit must submit a compliance report one year after entering the settlement to report whether and how the company is in compliance with every section of the agreement.46Id. They must also maintain all the types of records originally requested in the FTC complaint.47Id. Whether it’s a question of advertising or SEO, the result seems to be that some low-income taxpayers who qualify to file for free are still paying for TurboTax this tax season — even after the change in the agreement with the IRS. Lyle Hill, a warehouse worker in Georgia with an adjusted gross income of $10,390 last year, said he was looking to file his taxes for free, but he got confused and ended up paying $120 to file his federal and state taxes through Free Edition. Intuit, he added, declined to refund his fees when he subsequently told the company he’d been steered into a paid option when he’d wanted the free one. Alvyn Velazquez, a student in New York, recounted a similar journey that ended with him paying $120 after going through the Free Edition portal.

Turbotax Freedom Edition 2020

However, H&R Block Free Online includes more tax forms than the TurboTax Free Edition, meaning people can file more situations for free with H&R Block Online. If your personal situation is more complex, and you do need to upgrade, we’ll clearly explain the reason. Get started filing your simple returns with H&R Block Free Online today. If you’ve filed with TurboTax before, you’ll be able to transfer the data across to the Freedom Edition. And if you’re working for a participating employer you’ll have no problems getting your W-2 information with TurboTax. Keep in mind that E-6 to E-10 taxpayers don’t qualify for a totally free tax service.

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