homepage logo

Checks on the way for Utahns after $141M TurboTax settlement

By Harrison Epstein - Daily Herald | May 10, 2023

Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press

TurboTax products are displayed in a Costco warehouse in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. In a settlement agreement last year, TurboTax’s owner Intuit Inc. was ordered to pay $141 million to low-income consumers who were deceived into paying TurboTax to file their federal returns — despite being eligible for free, federally-supported tax services.

When TurboTax, the tax filing software giant, agreed to a $141 million settlement last year, it was only a matter of time before the money found its way into the pockets of Utahns and other Americans affected by misleading statements about the company’s services.

While the company, owned by Intuit Inc., promoted filing with its system as “free, free, free,” many low-income Americans still paid TurboTax to file their returns across the 2016, 2017 and 2018 tax years. The agreement was signed by attorneys general of all 50 states and includes $1,376,844 coming back to Utah.

According to the Utah Department of Commerce, the state provided a list of impacted consumers who will soon receive a check for $29 for each year affected. The first checks were automatically sent to affected people on Monday.

“Intuit tricked people into paying to file their taxes instead of directing them towards the federally supported free tax services. This settlement is a reminder to all that those who perpetrate deceptive practices will be held accountable,” Executive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce Margaret Busse said in a press release.

The company was forced to halt the “free, free, free” ad campaign in addition to paying out the settlement and other business practice reforms. While the settlement will provide relief to some Utahns, the state’s Division of Consumer Protections urges continued vigilance to see through misleading practices in the future.

“Enforcement actions such as the recent one against Intuit, illustrate how seriously consumer protection agencies take misrepresentations to consumers. When businesses break the law, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection does everything it can to hold them accountable. Still, the best prevention against falling prey to a deception is through consumer education and awareness,” Melanie Hall, communications director for the Utah Department of Commerce, said in an email to the Daily Herald.

Suggestions for how people can avoid scams include being mindful of “bait and switch” strategies and reading terms and conditions before agreeing to them. Complaints of deceptive acts can be filed with the state at https://dcp.utah.gov/.


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)