The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against TurboTax regarding its claims that it allows users to file their taxes for free.
The FTC filed an injunction Tuesday night in the Northern District of California accusing Intuit, the company behind TurboTax, of deceptively advertising its product through its claims that it is free.
"In truth, TurboTax is only free for some users, based on the tax forms they need," the lawsuit read. "For many others, Intuit tells them, after they have invested time and effort gathering and inputting into TurboTax their sensitive personal and financial information to prepare their tax returns, that they cannot continue for free; they will need to upgrade to a paid TurboTax service."
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The company was also accused of covering up its free programs. Internal emails revealed that Intuit staffers praised "the ability to block" the free version of TurboTax from appearing too high in the search results, according to ProPublica.
The FTC went on to argue that this marketing approach was "deceptive" in nature and requested that the court temporarily restrain Intuit from claiming its product is free and "retain jurisdiction and status quo until an administrative proceeding initiated by the Commission is concluded."
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The FTC has been investigating Intuit since September 2020 over allegations of fraud.
While companies such as Intuit were legally required to offer select free options in the past through the Internal Revenue Service, the company announced in July 2021 that it would no longer be a part of that program.