November 22, 2020

Turbotax Free Edition

Turbotax Free Edition if you're an American you've probably heard of TurboTax buy into it you've probably even used it yourself or know someone who has it's, an online tax filing service that allows Americans to quickly and easily file their taxes and based on their advertising and product names you would assume that it's free to use. Every year during tax season TurboTax spends millions of dollars in advertising to let you know that their. Product is free free free free free free free free free free free free free free are free free free that's right TurboTax free is free free, free free free when I see this commercial, I logically think oh cool TurboTax is free but the realities that TurboTax makes free filing as difficult as legally possible and as a result has essentially. Scammed millions of Americans out of billions of dollars before I go any further I want to give a shout out to. The podcast reply all. Episode 144 dark pattern this episode is the inspiration in God for this video and you should definitely check it out to hear more about this story and from the Pro Publica reporter who broke, it Justin Elliot I'm gonna leave a link down below to the podcast, and Justin's multiple articles covering this topic before we get into turbo tax we need to rewind a little bit. And get some background information about online tax filing in the United States in 2003 the IRS, made a big announcement that American taxpayers would finally be able to file their taxes online and, for free the original plan was to have a free to file service on the IRS website but instead the IRS decided that they were going to. Outsource this job to a bunch of corporations they picked 17 different companies and told them you're. Going to build a service that allows American citizens to file their taxes online and for free in return for these companies creating tax filing software the IRS agreed that it would. Not make its own service for a certain number of years it seemed like a great win-win-win situation for the, US government the tax found companies and the American taxpayers it wasn't that simple despite the fact that this agreement.

Designated a massive number of citizens as qualified for free to file these companies took advantage of that, situation for their own game the biggest and most profitable of these companies is Intuit Intuit has dozens of programs that it offers for, tax filing and the standard one and the one that is always being advertised is turbo tax free turbo tax, free allows free filing only if you have simple taxes and make under the income cap of $34,000, a year. Or are active-duty military who made less than sixty six thousand dollars a year a 2015 look at data from the Social Security Administration showed that roughly 51 percent of Americans made less than thirty thousand a.

Year meaning that more than half of American citizens are able to file for free the.

Way that turbo tax free tricks almost all of these people, into paying at least something for the service is through the language of simple taxes according to TurboTax simple taxes mean a, w-2 form only things like student loan payments freelance work and child support mean that your taxes are not simple, and you have to pay for one of their deluxe or premium services costing you usually anywhere from $60 to $200 by law though Intuit is required to provide a free tax, filing service for everyone who made under thirty four, thousand and all active-duty military who made under sixty six thousand in order to do this Intuit has turbo tax. Free file and freedom to different products that allow you to actually file for free if you are under, the income cap regardless of how complicated your taxes might be so it seems simple, right if you're under the income cap and want to file for free then you can just use TurboTax free to file or freedom and then you can file for free but that's. Where pro public has report comes in according to Justin Elliot from Pro Publica.

Into it made it basically impossible to find or use free file slash, freedom firstly the standard product turbo tax free sounds like it would be the free service but as mentioned before it's not. Secondly free file and freedom were hidden on Google search results through the inclusion of a robot txt file a text file is basically a way to tell Google to not index. A certain page and therefore not return it as a result during a search when Justin was doing his reporting he found, that searches for turbo tax free or freedom did not return anything that would actually lead to the free to file programs, going even further if someone was able to somehow find the free file or, freedom pages into it made it very difficult and confusing to navigate from there as Justin, reports if you were able to find the page there would be two buttons that you could then push one was a blue button that said start for free and, the other was. An orange button that said see if you qualify above the two buttons was the qualifying text such as active duty military below the, income cap etc but the average person who might eventually stumble upon this actually free service would probably just barge right ahead and click the start for free button which would then, take the user to the TurboTax free product aka the regular product that ended up almost always costing money. As Justin explains in his article this is an example of a dark pattern and intentionally confusing, and manipulating tactic that websites and apps use to trick you. Into paying them money it's not illegal but the morality of it is definitely at least a bit grey. In response to Justin's reporting in – it had a few things to say the main response was from the CEO who essentially said we aren't scamming people we. Are trying to educate them on the best possible tax.

Product for them and that just so happens to almost always be a product where they have to pay us he also said hiding pages in Google is common business, practice and shouldn't be considered a big deal finally he reiterated that turbo tax was better for Americans than the IRS having its own free service. That all Americans can use needless to say this response did not go over very well and. Many people called to, demand refunds for the services they paid for at first TurboTax complied in issued refunds to people who should have, been able to use free file or freedom but soon they created a.

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