The creator of TurboTax Intuit had cold relationship with the tax administration, and is now reducing part of its participation. The hill reports it is Intuit leaving a free IRS file program after participating for nearly 20 years. The company said it was “proud” of its participation, but argued that program restrictions and “conflicting requirements” outside the program left little choice but to leave.
The release would allow Intuit to concentrate on “further innovation” in ways the IRS Free File program did not allow, the company said. Although the company did not elaborate on what those plans were, it claimed it could help taxpayers get a refund sooner, free of charge, while relying on experts and allowing users to rely on their own data.
The company claimed it was still “committed” to a free tax return, but that nearly 90 percent of the returns in the last eight years came from outside the Free File program.
The move comes just a year after the New York State Department of Financial Services revealed that Intuit and four other tax service providers (including H&R Block) were pursuing an “unfair and violent” practice by hiding landing pages for their free login pages in an alleged an attempt to artificially manage a paid application. The IRS also added protection that not only prevented attempts to hide free filing, but gave the IRS the power to create its own free file option.
It is uncertain whether government attacks spurred Intuit’s exit. Regardless of motivation, the move could make it harder for some people to file taxes. About 3 million of Intuit’s 17 million free applications last year went through the IRS Free File. This is a large number of people who will have to either find alternative free solutions or hope that TurboTax will not spend costs.
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