Company Will Fight Untrue Accusations Against its Free Tax Preparation Advertising Practices
Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU), the global technology platform that makes TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint, Credit Karma and Mailchimp, announced that it will vigorously challenge a complaint filed today in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In its filing, the FTC inaccurately alleges Intuit’s advertising practices directed consumers who were eligible for free tax filing software from TurboTax or the IRS Free File Program to the company’s paid tax preparation products. The facts say otherwise.
“The FTC’s arguments are simply not credible. Far from steering taxpayers away from free tax preparation offerings, our free advertising campaigns have led to more Americans filing their taxes for free than ever before and have been central to raising awareness of free tax prep,” said Kerry McLean, executive vice president and general counsel of Intuit. “Over the past eight years, TurboTax products have helped nearly 100 million Americans file their taxes for free, and our most recent free advertising campaign has only accelerated the use of TurboTax free offerings, driving approximately 60% growth from 11 million free filers in 2018 before the campaign launched to more than 17 million free filers in 2021.”
In fact, Intuit has always supported consumers filing for free as a founding member of the IRS Free File program and in our other practices. The FTC’s complaint fails to acknowledge the reality that Intuit was, at all times, in compliance with the IRS requirements.
“The fact that Intuit complied with the rules and regulations of one government agency, but is now being targeted by another, demonstrates a significant disconnect. With the FTC’s action, companies will be much less willing to enter into public-private partnerships with the government that benefit consumers,” said McLean.
Intuit continually sought and continues to seek ways to increase the number of taxpayers that file using its free tax preparation products. Last tax season alone, Intuit delivered 17 million free tax filings, the most in the industry. Intuit helped the IRS Free File organization far exceed its stated goals of making free tax preparation available to 70% of filers. Today, free tax preparation is currently available to 100% of American taxpayers. That program, created and governed by the IRS, established marketing requirements for all participants. As a longtime advocate for tax simplification and taxpayer access to free tax preparation, the facts of the case do not support the FTC’s claims.
“While it is disappointing that the FTC chose to file this lawsuit, we look forward to presenting the facts in court and are confident in the merits of our position,” said McLean.
In its decision to file a claim against Intuit, the FTC commissioners were not unanimous.
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Derrick L. Plummer