Intuit Inc.’s promotion of some of its tax preparation services as free was found to be deceptive in a legal case brought by the Federal Trade Commission, according to the company.
(Bloomberg) — Intuit Inc.’s promotion of some of its tax preparation services as free was found to be deceptive in a legal case brought by the Federal Trade Commission, according to the company.
The agency sought a court order barring Intuit’s advertising, saying its TurboTax program lures customers with a “free” product that millions of consumers couldn’t use for their specialized tax returns. An administrative law judge on Friday sided with the FTC in an order sealed from public view. Intuit said it will appeal the ruling.
Millions of Americans file their taxes each year using TurboTax software and online services. It’s free for those with simple tax returns. Intuit has charged taxpayers when they’re required to report additional information, such as donations or income from stocks or rentals.
Last year, Intuit agreed to pay $141 million to settle claims with various US states that the company relied on deceptive marketing to trick consumers into buying TurboTax products that should have been free.
As part of the agreement, state attorneys general said Intuit agreed to reform its business practices.
Intuit said in a statement that “no one should be surprised” by Friday’s ruling because it came from a judge employed by the agency.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” the company said. “It’s a flawed system and a groundless ruling.”
Intuit said it “has always been clear, fair, and transparent with our customers and we remain committed to providing free tax preparation.”
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