The FTC has accused Intuit of misleadingly promoting free tax returns

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) – The US Federal Trade Commission on Monday asked a court to issue an order stopping Intuit (INTU.O), the owner of TurboTax tax preparation software, from using a misleading method for free tax returns to advertise if this is required by many people numbers.

In the lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, the FTC, which enforces antitrust and false advertising laws, said it already had an internal administrative proceeding on the matter.

The complaint states that ads for TurboTax repeatedly emphasize that the service is free.

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“In truth, TurboTax is only free for some users based on the tax forms they need. For many others, after investing the time and effort in gathering and entering their sensitive personal and financial information into TurboTax to prepare their tax returnees, Intuit tells them they cannot move on for free; they need to upgrade to a paid TurboTax service,” the complaint said.

Intuit said it will vigorously fight the FTC complaint and said it has been trying to increase the number of people using its free services.

“While it is disappointing that the FTC has decided to file this lawsuit, we look forward to presenting the facts in court and believe in the merits of our position,” said Kerry McLean, Intuit executive vice president, in an explanation.

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Reporting by Diane Bartz; Edited by Leslie Adler and Kenneth Maxwell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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