Does TurboTax Owe You Money? 4.4M Customers Are About to Get a Check

A woman types on her computer with a Turbo Tax booklet next to her.
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Did you use TurboTax to file your federal tax return a few years ago? If you did, they might owe you money.

TurboTax is about to pay $141 million to 4.4 million people across the U.S. to settle a case in which it was accused of cheating low-income Americans. Checks will be mailed starting this week and will continue through May.

Who’s eligible to get paid? Low-income consumers who were eligible for free federally supported tax services but who got deceived into paying TurboTax to file their federal returns in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 tax years, said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

If you think you’re eligible for a payout, you don’t have to do anything. People who are eligible for the payments will be notified by an email from Rust Consulting, the settlement fund’s administrator.

Most eligible consumers are expected to receive between $29 and $30, according to the settlement’s website.

Speaking of settlements… if you’ve had a Facebook account during the last 16 years, you’re eligible for a payout from a $725 million class-action lawsuit. Here’s what you need to do.

A Settlement in All 50 States

The checks are going out because of a settlement reached in May 2022 between TurboTax’s parent company, Intuit, and all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

“TurboTax’s predatory and deceptive marketing cheated millions of low-income Americans who were trying to fulfill their legal duties to file their taxes,” said James, whose office spearheaded the investigation. “Today we are righting that wrong and putting money back into the pockets of hardworking taxpayers who should have never paid to file their taxes.”

The company is accused of knowingly misleading customers who were eligible to file taxes for free through an IRS partner program but got “tricked” into paying TurboTax, James said.

TurboTax blocked its landing page for its IRS Free File Program, a public-private partnership with the IRS, from showing up on Google. Because TurboTax and other companies agreed to participate in that program, the IRS had agreed not to offer its own free electronic tax services, according to the Washington Post.

According to James, the settlement also stemmed from a 2019 ProPublica investigation that found Intuit knowingly deceived its customers into thinking they were getting free products before charging them, sometimes through its “free, free, free” ad campaign.

When asked for comment, Intuit referred The Associated Press and the Washington Post to its statement from May 2022, when the settlement was reached.

“As part of the agreement, Intuit admitted no wrongdoing, agreed to pay $141 million to put this matter behind it, and made certain commitments regarding its advertising practices,” the statement read.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.