TurboTax “Free” is Not Free for Most, FTC Finds


According to a new ruling from the Federal Trade Commission, “free” doesn’t always means free, especially when it comes to TurboTax.

In early 2022, the FTC took action against Intuit, the company that owns TurboTax. The FTC said that TurboTax’s “file FREE” claims misled people because most people didn’t qualify for “$0 to file.” Except they only found that out well after they spent a lot of time putting all their info into the system.

As a result, the FTC ordered Intuit to stop making false “free” claims.

While keeping in mind that free for somebody doesn’t always mean free for you, here’s where to find some real free help on your taxes:

  • If your adjusted gross income was $79,000 or less, the IRS Free File Program has free guided tax prep software for your federal taxes. Use this tool to find an IRS Free File trusted partner.
  • For servicemembers or veterans, MilTax is the Department of Defense’s free filing program. There, you can check eligibility, including for family members and survivors. Or start with the FAQs to learn more.
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is an IRS program that helps people who make $64,000 or less, have a disability, or who don’t feel comfortable speaking English. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) helps people 60 and older.
  • Keep an eye on this tax season’s IRS’s Free File Fillable Forms, opening any day now, to check eligibility and get online versions of your federal tax forms, but no guidance.
  • This year, the IRS is launching a Direct File pilot. If you’re eligible and choose to participate in the pilot, you can electronically file your 2023 federal tax return for free directly with the IRS.

Find your state tax agency to find out what help might be available with tax returns in your state.

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