Intuit is done doing you favors.
The financial software company behind TurboTax announced Thursday that, after October, it will no longer participate in the IRS’s Free File program. That program offered Americans making less than $78,000 the opportunity to e-file their federal taxes, free of charge.
Intuit has a long and troubled history with the Free File program. In 2019, ProPublica reported that TurboTax intentionally hid its Free File webpage from search engines — and then advertised some of its paid tax products as “free” (but charged people who used them).
These questionable practices hurt real people. According to a 2020 audit by the Treasury Inspector General, “more than 14 million taxpayers met the Free File program criteria and may have paid a fee to e-file their Federal tax return in the 2019 Filing Season.”
As ProPublica reported in 2019, TurboTax waged a sustained campaign to stop eligible Americans from filing their taxes online for free.
In other words, it sure seems like Intuit makes it its business to screw over taxpayers. But that’s not how Intuit sees it. Rather, according to company, the decision to drop out of the Free File program is all about breaking free of the shackles of free tax filing.
“Without the limitations of the Free File program, Intuit can provide more financial benefits and empower Americans of all income levels to take control of their finances at a time they need it most,” reads the company’s statement.
Notably, Bloomberg Tax reported that H&R Block announced its intention to leave the Free File program in 2020.
Intuit, meanwhile, further explained in the most passive aggressive manner possible why it decided to leave the program.
“With the Free File program surpassing its founding goals of e-file and free tax preparation, and due to the limitations of the Free File program and conflicting demands from those outside the program, we are not able to continue in the program and deliver all of the benefits that can help consumers make more money, save more, and invest for the future,” claims the company.
It looks like Americans will have to find a new way to overpay for the privilege of filing their taxes online.