The financial software company behind TurboTax announced Thursday that after October it will no longer participate in the IRS’s free files program. This program offered Americans earning less than $ 78,000 the opportunity to file their federal taxes electronically free of charge.
Intuit has a long and troubled history with the Free File program. In 2019, ProPublica reported that TurboTax intentionally hid its free files webpage from search engines and then announced that some of its paid tax products were “free” (but charged people who used them).
These questionable practices hurt real people. According to a 2020 audit by the Inspector General of the Treasury, “more than 14 million taxpayers have met the criteria for the Free File program and may have paid a fee to electronically file their federal income tax return during the year. the 2019 drop-off season ”.
As ProPublica reported in 2019, TurboTax has led a sustained campaign to prevent eligible Americans from filing their taxes online for free.
In other words, it seems that Intuit makes a point of deceiving taxpayers. But that’s not how Intuit sees it. Rather, the decision to quit the Free File program, according to the company, is to break free from the shackles of free tax filing.
“Without the limitations of the Free File program, Intuit can deliver more financial benefits and empower Americans of all income levels to take control of their finances when they need it most,” the statement read. of the society.
Notably, Bloomberg Tax reported that H&R Block has announced its intention to exit the Free File program in 2020.
Intuit, meanwhile, explained in the most passive and aggressive way possible why he had decided to quit the program.
SEE ALSO: Finally, a bipartisan issue: Accepting lobbyists’ money to block free tax filing software
“The Free File program exceeding its founding goals of electronic filing and free tax preparation, and due to the limitations of the Free File program and conflicting demands from those outside the program, we are unable to continue with the program and provide all of the benefits that can help consumers earn more money, save more and invest for the future, ”says the company.
It looks like Americans will have to find a new way to pay too much for the privilege of filing their taxes online.