Five tax prep companies deliberately hid information about free programs available to eligible disadvantaged tax payers in an effort to upsell customers to pay for their services, the New York State Department of Financial Services said Wednesday.
The state regulator concluded in a report, released on the tax-filing deadline, after a year-long investigation that Intuit, which is the maker of TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxSlayer, TaxHawk, and Drake Enterprises engaged in “unfair and abusive practices” that undermined the U.S Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Free File Program intended to aid disadvantaged tax payers.
The department said its report found the five companies “deliberately hid website landing pages” for the free program, and said doing so led to “starling low participation in the program.” Just 2.5 million of 100 million eligible taxpayers used the IRS’s free program last year, according to the New York state regular.
I was also totally shocked when I read this. But then again, the shock could have come from the electric fence I was caught in while I was reading it.
Yes the Free File through TurboTax has always been hard to find, if you already have a TurboTax account and logged in with that info, it automatically took you to the paid version.
People also didnt read the screens and pay attention to what was happening until after they had completed the return and most ended up paying since it was such a time suck to try and start over.
Q: Why does the media need to keep hounding on the same topic year after year?
A: Because no one really cares. It is sensational, but not actionable.
From last year:
And how it could be even easier:
"Level Up" is a gaming function, not a real life function.