back to article FTC presses ahead in its war on 'free' Turbo Tax

The FTC is pressing ahead with its allegations of false advertising against Turbo Tax maker Intuit after a brief pause in proceedings. In May, Intuit asked [PDF] the American consumer watchdog to call off its legal action. This was the same month the biz agreed to pay out $141 million to settle a separate lawsuit brought by US …

  1. elDog

    After Intuit installed a root-kit on my Windows system may years ago

    I stopped using any of their software. Unfortunately Quickbooks is pervasive in the SMB world so it's hard to tell my QB customers I won't do business with them.

    Oh, just to be fair, Sony also installed a root-kit. I won't use their software on my PCs. (Love their cameras, tho.)

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: After Intuit installed a root-kit on my Windows system may years ago

      the fact that all QuickBooks software is subscription now makes it even less appealing - if one can make Fuligo septica less appealing.

    2. PRR Bronze badge

      Re: After Intuit installed a root-kit on my Windows system may years ago

      > Intuit installed a root-kit on my Windows system many years ago

      We still remember that, don't we?

      Coming up on 20 years now!

      As laggardly as HRBlock has got, there's still no way Intuit comes in my house.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They are scum.

    They know as soon as you enter your tax id (ssn) whether you can use the free version of the software. Allowing any user to continue after that point should be considered fraud.

    If this can be the first company to experience a 'corporate death penalty,' I won't shed a single tear.

  3. prh99

    Of course the IRS could fill out the tax returns for most Americans making third party tax filing services largely unnecessary and save millions of people the yearly hassle and expense, but Congress being the corrupt money grubbing sh*t heads they are, decided in favor of tax prep lobbyists.

    1. Fred Daggy Bronze badge

      I would replace "could" with "should". Who knows, perhaps an easy to use system would actually make it easier to be honest and MORE taxes would be collected? Some people will lie no matter what. Honest people should not be punished for being honest, eg a million hoops just to do the right thing.

    2. nautica Bronze badge

      "There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress.

      --Mark Twain

    3. imanidiot Silver badge

      The idea this far has been that by allowing third parties like Intuit to offer filing software the IRS can save a whole bunch of money and the best available product will be the one that wins out through simple market function. The reality is of course that through lobbying and massive advertising campaigns TurboTax has basically claimed the market and few have even tried competing. And due to this near monopoly position, they've been getting more and more brazen in their manipulation and shake-down tactics.

      "Nice tax filing you got there. Would be a shame if something were to "happen" to it, wouldn't it? Ofcourse, you could pay me 'an Guido here to make sure it all works out! We'd be happy to help. No need to type it all in again. Just one payment or 12 easy installments"

      --> Make all Intuit execs walk the plank like the pirates/robbers they are-->

    4. katrinab Silver badge

      And where it can't, you should be able to file it on the IRS website.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I am not a massive fan of the UK's HMRC but at least i don't need to purchased 3rd party software to be able to submit my tax return. I guess in the land of the free you could at least submit the cost of purchasing the software as an expense when filing your taxes.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      You can, the cost of filing taxes is a deductible expense - if you itemize your deductions.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Of course, after the last increase to the standard deduction, for many people itemization doesn't result in a larger deduction.

        I miss itemizing, actually. It was a bit of fun watching the numbers change after I added each item, and a good reason to go through and do any filing and organizing of financial records that I'd been procrastinating on. But I recognize that it's not actually a good taxation mechanism.

  5. Bearshark

    Intuit deserves all that they get. They're a horrible company. My accountant curses Quick Books every time I pay him a visit. I stopped using turbo tax when I tried to open a previous year's .tax file with the most current version of TT and it couldn't. They have a paid service for that. That was inconvenient since I was being audited at the time. Intuit can go to hell.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Yes, TurboTax's ever-changing tax-file format and lack of backward compatibility is an abomination. I have the last several years' versions installed Just In Case, even though I have all my paperwork as both PDF and paper.

      This year, when I went to get TurboTax 2021 (reluctantly, but, hey, the returns have to be prepared somehow), it took hours to figure out how to buy and download the installable version. Intuit really, really, really wanted everyone to use the web version. Utter bastards.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd be good with a "no-fault" settlement...

    if it included a full refund for every single person who started their tax return by clicking the "FREE!!!" link, and then ended up having to pay. They could even be nice to Intuit and limit the refunds to tax returns from the last 10 years.

    Yes, that's likely much, much higher than the current value of the company.

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