Arizona AG’s office gets $3.1M for consumers from TurboTax
May 6, 2022, 12:00 PM
(Photo by Rafael Henrique/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich on Wednesday announced his office has secured $3.1 million from Intuit Inc., the operator of TurboTax, for misleading consumers into paying for tax services that were advertised as free.
The company will pay $141 million to customers across the United States after all 50 attorneys general and the District of Columbia signed a settlement, further demanding the suspension of TurboTax’s “free, free, free” ad campaign, the attorney general’s office said in a press release. More than 4 million customers will be paid in restitution.
Direct payments of around $30 for each year that consumers were misled into paying for the filing service are expected to be delivered, with impacted consumers automatically receiving notices and a check in the mail.
“None of us may be able to escape death and taxes, but I will always fight deceptive advertising,” Brnovich said in the release. “You cannot turn around and charge folks for services that were advertised as free.”
A multistate investigation showed that Intuit had bid on paid search advertisements to point those searching for the IRS Free File product to its TurboTax “freemium” product, while also intentionally blockings its IRS Free File landing page from search engine results throughout the 2019 tax filing season.
Through aggressive marketing tactics and ad campaigns, the “TurboTax Free edition” had been pushed toward taxpayers, when the product was ultimately free for about one-third of nationwide taxpayers. Meanwhile, the IRS Free File product was free for an estimated 70% of taxpayers.
In a blog post, Intuit stated, “As part of the agreement, Intuit admitted no wrongdoing, agreed to pay $141 million to put this matter behind it, and made certain commitments regarding its advertising practices.
The company expects minimal impact to its business after implementing the remaining changes moving forward.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.