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FTC: Intuit Can’t Say “Free” 

 Intuit used deceptive advertising in calling some of its TurboTax offerings “Free”, the  Federal Trade Commission said in Final Order this week.

The ruling follows Intuit’s separate legal action accusing rival H&R Block misleading price comparisons.

The FTC’s Final Order prohibits from Intuit from advertising or marketing that says goods or services are free to all. Or Intuit must disclose clearly the percentage of taxpayers that qualify for a free service and if a majority do not quality, Intuit must says so.

The agency voted 3-0 to uphold Chief Administrative Law Judge, D. Michael Chappell’s opinion that Intuit’s actions violate Section 5 of the FTC Act. Intuit has steadfastly denied that itm isled TurboTax users.

Intuit is also prohibited Intuit from misrepresenting facts such as “prices, refund policies or consumers’ ability to claim a tax credit or deduction or to file their taxes online accurately without using TurboTax’s paid service.”

Intuit’s action against Block, filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of California, earlier this month claims Block is wrong in claiming expert an AI help is available for less with Block services than with TurboTax when Intuit’s help is available at no charge.

Intuit also said Block is misleading when it claims its paid DIY products are less expensive that TurboTaxs Live Assisted and that Block misrepresented TurboTax’s TurboTax’s Live Full Service products as starting at $169 when the figure is really $89.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
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