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Some TurboTax users will soon be getting settlement checks

The software's parent company is accused of steering low-income consumers toward its pay products after promising them access to a no-pay program.
A person looks at Intuit TurboTax software on display at a retailer in Foster City, Calif., on April 18, 2016.
TurboTax software at a retailer in Foster City, Calif..Peter Barreras / AP Images for Turbo Tax Via AP file

Consumers who recently filed tax returns with TurboTax but were eligible for the Internal Revenue Service's Free File program will soon start receiving checks as part of a multistate settlement with TurboTax's parent company, Intuit.

According to a press release Thursday from the Pennsylvania attorney general's office, eligible customers include those who paid to file federal income tax returns through TurboTax for the tax years 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The $141 million settlement, announced a year ago, came in the wake of a 2019 ProPublica report that showed Intuit had steered low-income taxpayers toward its fee-based products after promising them access to no-cost tax filing services — in part by using advertisements that promised "free, free, free" filings.

“Frequently ‘free’ didn’t mean free at all,” ProPublica reported. “Many who started in TurboTax Free Edition found that if their return required certain commonplace tax forms, they would have to upgrade to a paid edition in order to file.”

Per the terms of the settlement, eligible customers will receive a check in the mail automatically, without having to file a claim. Most are expected to receive between $29 and $30, the press release said.

“By requiring consumers to pay for tax-return services that should have been available for free, Intuit cheated taxpayers out of their hard earned money,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry said in a statement.

“Intuit’s deceptive practices and aggressive advertising campaign were unnecessary and illegal; especially when the IRS offers free tax-return services for eligible consumers.”

You can find more information on the settlement program here.