FTC Files Complaint Against Intuit

FTC Files Complaint Against Intuit
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The Federal Trade Commission announced at the end of March that they will be taking action against Intuit Inc, whose products include software such as TurboTax, Mint, and QuickBooks, for what they are calling "deceptive" advertising practices.

According to an Administrative Complaint filed against the company, "Much of Intuit’s advertising for TurboTax conveys the message that consumers can file their taxes for free using TurboTax, even going so far as to air commercials in which almost every word spoken is the word 'free.'"

However, TurboTax is only free depending on which tax forms the filer needs. Until 2021, there had been a service offered for free online. However, this was because it was a public-private initiative with the IRS, whose goals were to convenience low-income consumers. That service has since been terminated.

According to the FTC, Intuit has still offered what they call "TurboTax Free Edition," which in actuality is a "freemium" model. This means that some users might go through all of the motions to fill out their tax forms online, only to be asked to upgrade to the paid version to actually file them.

One example of this is if the filer required a 1099 form for work in the gig economy, they would be prompted to upgrade.

According to the FTC, they are asking a court on the federal level "to put an immediate halt to Intuit's false advertising."