TurboTax isn’t allowed to say it’s ‘free’ anymore

The top-left corner of a laptop screen displaying the TurboTax website.
The TurboTax website on a laptop in an arranged photograph in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, on Friday, September 3rd, 2021.  | Image: Tiffany Hagler-Geard / Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission cracked down on TurboTax, issuing a final order that prohibits the company from calling its services “free” when most customers end up having to upgrade to paid services.

Parent company Intuit had advertised TurboTax as “Free, free free free,” even though a majority of customers were in fact ineligible for free services. The Federal Trade Commission sued TurboTax in 2022 over misleading advertising, and the FTC’s chief administrative law judge announced an initial decision in September saying Intuit “engaged in deceptive advertising in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.”

“The character of the past violations is egregious. For at least six years, Intuit…

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