San Francisco (awp/afp) – A US platform used to file tax returns will have to reimburse 4.4 million people it charged for a free service, the New York Attorney General announced on Wednesday.
In all, the online financial services specialist Intuit “will have to pay $141 million in damages to the millions of consumers who have been unfairly billed” by the TurboTax platform, summarizes a press release. According to the investigation by prosecutor Letitia James, Intuit directed these taxpayers to a paid TurboTax service, when they were eligible to complete their return and send it for free, between 2016 and 2018.
The magistrate also accuses the company of abusing the term “free” in its advertisements to mislead users. The agreement with Intuit “should serve as a wake-up call for companies large and small: deceptive marketing techniques are illegal,” the prosecutor said in the statement.
In a statement released last Thursday, Intuit said it did not acknowledge the accusations. “Far from driving taxpayers away from free tax preparation offers, our advertising campaigns have led more Americans to file their tax returns for free than ever before,” said Kerry McLean, executive vice president of the Californian group.