Gibbs Law Group, a California law firm, has filed a class action lawsuit against TurboTax, accusing the tax prep software company of making its free program difficult to find for low-income individuals.
Jessica Carlson of Cincinnati believes she is one of the taxpayers who were deceived by TurboTax. She filed her taxes through the company this year after finding out that it was free if you made less than $34,000 annually. However, she was billed $90 for TurboTax, which was almost a third of her tax refund.
Carlson said she searched for TurboTax free tax prep on Google, clicked the link to TurboTax.com, entered in her information and W-2 forms for her part-time job. She claims that she ended up in the more expensive version, even though she has a low income.
“It automatically put me in Deluxe,” Carlson said, “and I said I did not make that kind of money.” But having gone that far, she proceeded anyway, gave her credit card, and was promptly billed for $90.
Carlson called TurboTax immediately after she realized she was charged, but they told her she couldn’t get her money back.
“They said, ‘No, we’re sorry, but you should have gone to the IRS website.'”
The non-profit group Pro Publica discovered other people who had to pay for TurboTax, just like Carlson. The group says that many people realize that there’s a good chance you’ll stumble upon the paid version of TurboTax, unless you go through the IRS website.
Rick Heineman of Intuit/TurboTax released the following statement:
“Any suggestion that Intuit does not support the IRS Free File Program is flat wrong. More people have filed their taxes for absolutely free with TurboTax than all other tax prep software companies combined. We are committed to offering Americans the ability to file their taxes for free, and we’re committed to the IRS Free File program. We look forward to working with the IRS and private industry to improve the Free File program and help it continue to grow.”