The company behind TurboTax will pay $141 million to customers across the United States who were deceived by misleading promises of free tax-filing services, with $3.75 million going to Washington state taxpayers.
The investigation into Intuit began in 2019, after ProPublica reported the company used deceptive tactics to steer low-income tax filers away from the free tax services for which they qualified and toward its own paid products, according to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
The more than 121,000 Washingtonians who paid to use TurboTax when they were eligible to e-file for free will receive restitution payments of about $30 each, according to the state attorney general’s office.
Washington residents who paid to use TurboTax between 2016 and 2018 and believe they are due a refund don’t need to do anything, according to the attorney general’s office.
A claims administrator will reach out to impacted Washington taxpayers, a statement from Ferguson’s office said.
Under the terms of a settlement signed by the attorneys general of all 50 states, Mountain View, California-based Intuit will suspend TurboTax’s “free, free, free” ad campaign.
In addition to the restitution to Washington taxpayers, the resolution, to be filed in King County Superior Court, requires the company to promptly notify consumers when they are eligible to file for free through the Internal Revenue Service, as well as to clearly disclose the limitations on who is eligible to use its own free tax-filing software.
“I will continue holding corporate interests accountable when they deceive Washingtonians into paying millions of dollars for a free service,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Intuit’s deceptively earned profits will return to hardworking Washington families to help pay for groceries, car payments and other needs.”
For more information on who is eligible to electronically file their tax return for free through the IRS, visit https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.