UTAH (ABC4) — The Utah Division of Consumer Protection has reportedly secured more than $1.37 million from the owner of TurboTax, Intuit Inc., for consumers who have been deceived into paying for tax services that should have been free.
Consumers who qualify for the settlement money will automatically receive notices and a check by mail. Officials said individuals should expect to receive a direct payment of about $29 for each year they were deceived into paying for their services.
Following a multistate agreement, Intuit has agreed to pay $141 million in restitution to consumers across the country who were deceived into paying for tax services that were supposed to be free. Utah has secured a total of $1,376,844 from Intuit to pay back deceived consumers.
“Intuit tricked people into paying to file their taxes instead of directing them towards the federally supported free tax services. This settlement is a reminder to all that those who perpetrate deceptive practices will be held accountable,” said Executive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce Margaret Busse.
Intuit will reportedly provide restitution to consumers who began using Turbox Tax’s Free Edition to file taxes for 2016 through 2018 and were told they had to pay to file even though they could have filed for free through the IRS Free File program.
“We are pleased with the settlement,” said Division of Consumer Protection Director Katherine Hart. “Settlement checks are in the mail, and impacted consumers should see them soon.”
Additionally, Intuit will suspend its “free, free, free” ad campaign, which advertises free tax services to consumers who ultimately were tricked into paying for the services.
According to the Utah Department of Commerce, Intuit has also agreed to reform some of its business practices, including:
- Refraining from making misrepresentations in connection with promoting or offering any online tax preparation products
- Enhancing disclosures in its advertising and marketing of free products
- Designing its products to better inform users whether they will be eligible to file their taxes for free
- Refraining from requiring consumers to start their tax filing over if they exit one of Intuit’s paid products to use a free product instead
All 50 states and the District of Columbia joined this agreement. The multi-state investigation was led by New York and Tennessee with support from the attorneys general of Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.