The owner of TurboTax, Intuit Inc., has agreed to pay more than $1 million restitution to about 36,000 Arkansans who were deceived by the company.
The settlement is the result of a multi-state investigation that found Intuit charged customers for the TurboTax service that it had advertised as free. Intuit will pay $141 million in restitution to millions of consumers across the nation who were unfairly charged, according to a news release from Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Consumers are expected to receive a direct payment of approximately $30 for each year that they were deceived into paying for filing services. Impacted consumers will automatically receive notices and a check by mail.
“Intuit deliberately deceived consumers in to paying for their Turbo Tax service that was actually supposed to be free,” Rutledge said. “Intuit profited from its lies to Arkansans, and now with this settlement, Intuit will pay over $1 million to Arkansans for its fraud.”
In addition to the restitution to customers, Intuit must suspend TurboTax’s “free, free, free” ad campaign and agreed to reform its business practices, including:
• Refrain from making misrepresentations in its promotion or offering any online tax preparation products;
• Enhance disclosures in its advertising and marketing of free products;
• Design its products to better inform users whether they will be eligible to file their taxes for free; and
• Refrain from requiring consumers to start their tax filing over if they exit one of Intuit’s paid products to use a free product instead.