TurboTax Accused of Scamming ‘Billions’ From Taxpayers: What to Know
TurboTax, a leading tax preparation software, has recently come under fire amid accusations of scamming billions of dollars from unsuspecting taxpayers. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of the allegations and discuss essential information that every taxpayer should know.
Background on TurboTax:
Developed by Intuit, TurboTax is a widely-used software that assists taxpayers in filing their federal and state income tax returns. The software simplifies the process by guiding users through a series of questions about their financial situation and automatically calculating their tax liability or refund.
The accusations against TurboTax emerged when a class-action lawsuit was filed, claiming that the company deliberately deceived lower-income taxpayers into paying for its tax preparation services. According to the suit, TurboTax should have made its services free for those eligible under the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Free File program.
Free File Program:
The Free File program is an agreement between the IRS and leading tax preparation companies to provide free tax filing services to millions of eligible taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $72,000 or less (in 2021). These services are designed to aid low-income taxpayers and ensure they receive all the benefits they’re entitled to.
How TurboTax Allegedly Duped Taxpayers:
The class action lawsuit accuses TurboTax of adopting deceptive marketing practices to make its free services more difficult for consumers to access. The company allegedly concealed its Free File link on search engines to deceive qualifying taxpayers into paying for unnecessary premium products.
Moreover, the lawsuit claims that TurboTax misled customers by promoting a “Free Edition” product which, in reality, was not part of the IRS-approved Free File program. This bait-and-switch tactic reportedly tricked qualifying taxpayers into purchasing premium services when they should have been provided for free.
If the accusations against TurboTax are proven true in court, the company may face severe
financial and reputational repercussions. This ruling can set a precedent for other tax preparation companies that may have engaged in similar misleading practices.
What Taxpayers Should Look Out For:
Taxpayers should be cautious when choosing tax preparation software and must familiarize themselves with the IRS guidelines on free tax filing. When selecting a tax filing service, individuals must:
1. Verify their eligibility for the Free File program.
2. Double-check whether a software’s free version complies with the IRS Free File guidelines.
3. Be cautious of marketing and promotion tactics that may be too good to be true.
As the legal battle unfolds, it is crucial for taxpayers to stay informed about their rights and options. Inquiring about the Free File program’s availability and diligently researching tax preparation services will help prevent falling victim to such deceptive practices in the future.