FTC sues TurboTax owner Intuit for advertising tax software as ‘free’

(If you need help filing your taxes professionally visit ingramtaxes.com)

KEY POINTS

The FTC filed a complaint with both an administrative and federal lawsuit against the tax software company Intuit on Monday, both involving alleged deceptive marketing practices.
TurboTax has a free version. The FTC claims this is “bait and switch” because most users are charged when they file their tax returns.
The company says the arguments are “simply not credible.” TurboTax was part of the IRS Free File program until last year. The FTC sued Intuit on Monday and claims that it has deceived customers by marketing TurboTax as free and charging most people when they file their taxes. Around 56 million people filed their taxes with TurboTax in 2021, according to an Intuit shareholder presentation in January. Those individuals filed 54 million W-2 and 40 million 1099 tax forms, the company said.


The Federal Trade Commission sued Fast Intuit Inc. in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, asking for an immediate halt to its “false advertising” as taxpayers rush to meet the April 18 deadline to file their overdue tax returns.
The agency also issued a parallel administrative complaint on Monday. That proceeding will determine whether Intuit’s conduct violated the FTC Act, the lawsuit said. Intuit is deceiving customers by advertising that they can file their taxes for free online using TurboTax, when in reality, this service isn’t available to most users. The FTC has taken legal action and requested that the court stop this misleading advertising immediately. This is especially important as tax season peaks.

“TurboTax is bombarding consumers with ads for ‘free’ tax filing services, and then hitting them with charges when it’s time to file,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a written statement.
Kerry McLean, executive vice president and general counsel of Intuit, said the agency’s arguments “aren’t credible.” Almost 100 million Americans have filed their taxes for free with TurboTax in the last eight years, McLean said. The firm’s most recent advertising campaign led more than 17 million taxpayers to file for free in 2021, up from 11 million in 2018 before the campaign launched, McLean added. “This lawsuit is unfortunate, but we are confident in the merits of our case,” said McLean in a written statement. “Our free advertising campaigns have raised awareness of free tax prep services and led more Americans to file their taxes for free.”

Filing for ‘free’

TurboTax users can file their taxes for free if they have a “simple” tax return, as defined by Intuit, according to the FTC complaint. The definition of a “simple return” changes from year to year; for tax-year 2021, Intuit refers to a simple return as one that can be filed on a Form 1040 with limited attached schedules. If users don’t have a simple return, they must upgrade to a paid version of the tax service, which is what the FTC alleges. “In truth, TurboTax is only free for some users, based on the tax forms they need,” according to the FTC lawsuit. “For many others, Intuit tells them, after they have invested time and effort gathering and inputting into TurboTax their sensitive personal and financial information to prepare their tax returns, that they cannot continue for free.” About two-thirds of American taxpayers are ineligible to file their taxes using TurboTax’s free service, according to the FTC. TurboTax was a member of IRS’ Free File program in 2002 until last year. This is part of the IRS’ mission to provide low-income Americans with access to tax filings without undue effort or cost.

TurboTax made that service available to taxpayers with $39,000 or less in adjusted gross income according to the FTC’s complaint. The threshold was higher for active-duty members of the military. Intuit insists that TurboTax adheres to IRS requirements and points out that the legal complaint is inaccurate in this regard. “The fact that Intuit complied with the rules and regulations of one government agency, but is now being targeted by another, demonstrates a significant disconnect,” McLean said. “The FTC’s ruling may make it harder for companies to enter into public-private partnerships with the government and benefit consumers.” A spokesperson for the FTC declined to comment for this story in time for publication. An IRS spokesperson was unable to provide comment by press time.

6 Tips for First-Time Tax Filers

Filing your taxes for the first time can be intimidating. There’s a good chance you’ve heard people complain about having to file their taxes in the past, so it’s normal to be feeling a little apprehensive.


It’s easy! Don’t stress. Filing your taxes for the first time may seem complicated at first, but it doesn’t have to be. With simple tax filing basics, you can start benefiting from the thousands of dollars in tax credits and deductions available to you.


To help you out, we’ve come up with six useful tips to help you crush your first tax season.

  1. Start collecting tax information early
    One of the biggest frustrations of filing your taxes is locating the necessary documents and receipts you received throughout the year. When you suddenly can’t remember where you put the receipt for those medical expenses you had last summer, preparing your taxes quickly becomes a stressful task.
    Taking a little extra time to plan ahead can make your life a lot easier!
    If you haven’t created one yet, make your own simple filing system so that you can keep track of all the important paperwork. If it’s in one place, it will be much easier to find down the road when you need it. Don’t put any other documents in this file or box. You’ll save yourself a lot of sorting later on.
    Starting early, save important receipts for expenses related to tax deductions and credits. If you’re self-employed, be sure to keep all your receipts (both large and small) close during the year.
    Misreporting your business expenses can have a serious impact on your taxes, so it’s important to carefully report every single one of them. Things you may think of as insignificant, such as printer ink and parking meters can have a big impact when you file your tax return! Keep a notebook or consider tracking your business mileage electronically.
    As your tax forms start arriving in January, drop them in your tax file or box immediately. Try not to let them land on the countertop or any other area where they might be misplaced.
  2. Organize your tax documents
    Organizing your tax documents can be done by separating W-2 forms from other income and deductible expenses.
    If you’re self-employed or running your own business, make a list of the income and expenses in your company. It’s also worth noting any possible credits such as the Child Tax Credit.
    To help you stay organized, we have a handy tax preparation checklist you can use to ensure you have all the tax documents you need before you start filing. Once your information is organized, the rest is easy.
  3. Figure out if you are a dependent of someone else
    One of the most important things to consider when filing your taxes is whether you are considered a dependent by someone else.
    Ask yourself: Do your parents or another person pay at least half of your expenses? If so, the IRS generally considers you to be their dependent. This means that they can claim a tax credit or other tax benefit for you. In that case, simply indicate that you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return when you e-file with us.
    It’s important to let the IRS know that you are not being claimed by anyone else on their taxes. If they don’t, your return may be rejected or you may owe them additional taxes. Discuss this with parents or relatives before the tax season begins if possible.

How to Avoid Tax Fraud

Tax-related identity theft is a big problem, and it affects a lot of families. So, if you can’t file your taxes yet, check out our other solutions to help you combat fraud. The IRS has a transcript service that anyone can use to obtain information about their filing histories. It won’t protect them from identity theft, but it will help them if they have been the victim of fraud to know now rather than scraping together what they can now.

An identity protection pin (IP PIN) offers an extra layer of protection against fraud. “People who have had issues with tax fraud in the past are going to be issued an IP PIN,” Burnette says. In the past, the federal government only issued PINs to those who were victims of tax identity theft and those who lived in specific states. But now, anyone can opt into the program. It’s important to keep in mind that as soon as you request a PIN, you’ll need to use one going forward to file taxes.

Protect your identification by filing your taxes before someone else can. You can avoid being a victim of tax identity theft this way. If you are looking for the best tax filing services, we can help. Please get in touch today by texting/calling us at +1 866-824-1440 or email us at info@ingramtaxes.com. Our professional team is available to take care of your needs and make sure you get what is rightfully yours.

Hiring a professional can help save time and money, while also ensuring that your taxes are filed correctly. Here at Ingramtaxes.com, we’re dedicated to helping all our clients receive the best possible results when it comes to tax preparation and filing. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you!

The Benefits of Filing Taxes Early

Taxes aren’t due until April, but there are good reasons not to wait to file your tax return. Millions of Americans must file a tax return every year, but by taking care of the task before the time, you won’t have to stress out over it in April too.

The IRS does recommend that people file as early as possible to get their refund quicker. However, it’s not the only reason to file early! This means more time for double-checking your work, planning payments, and avoiding tax fraud. What’s more, if you owe taxes, you can always file now (and pay later).

You should file your taxes early because filing early wards off tax identity theft. Check these things in this article to learn more about when you can file and what documentation will be needed for you to avoid the risks of tax identity theft.

Benefits of Filing Taxes Early

There are several reasons to complete tax returns early rather than waiting until Tax Day:
• More accurate returns potentially resulting in larger refunds.• Less competition for appointments with tax preparers.• More time to plan for tax payments.• Less chance of tax fraud.

The opportunity to get an earlier refund often prompts people to file during the early stages of the tax year. Rob Burnette, CEO and financial advisor with Outlook Financial Center says, “You used to be able to get a federal refund in 10 days”. Now, the IRS estimates that most people will receive refunds within 21 days after filing. The deadlines depend on how long it takes for your return to be processed by the IRS though, so be sure to stay aware of this if you’re expecting a refund.

Filing early can give you a larger refund. That’s because people who file at the last minute might miss out on deductions or credits. “You don’t know if you have itemized deductions until you add them up.” says Patrick Collabella, Associate Professor of Accounting and Taxation at St. John’s University in Queens, New York City.

If you start your taxes early, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on and more time to get answers from the government. For example, if they don’t provide answers to your questions, you can inquire about it later. Starting early also means that even if a return is filed late there is still time to make up for it by paying off what’s owed.

How to Find a Reputable Tax Preparer Near You | Ingram Taxes

You may want more personalized help filing your tax return this year, and you have a wide range of options and resources.

A tax expert can make sure you get all the tax breaks you deserve, especially in a year where your tax situation may be very different than it had been in the past. Many tax professionals can also help you with tax planning that can save you money in the future.

What Kind of Tax Preparer Do You Need?

When choosing between tax preparers, one of the key factors to consider is their level of experience. They usually have different tiers of services, with some completing just your federal and state returns with little or no additional help offered. But if you had a few different jobs during the year, did some freelance work, started your own business or had other complicated tax situations, then you may need more help. If you’re not really sure what expenses are deductible, an accountant would be able to help you. They might find tax breaks applicable to your business that aren’t even clear to the IRS.

Anyone with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number can prepare federal tax returns. But you should consider the level of their experience and qualifications. Enrolled agents, CPAs and attorneys can represent clients before the IRS in audits, payment issues and appeals. The Annual Filing Season Program helps other tax preparers who have completed a specific amount of continuing education to prepare for the tax season. There are also PTIN holders who haven’t completed these certifications and, as a result, they can prepare tax returns but can’t represent clients in front of the IRS. The IRS Directory is the best way to find quality tax preparers near you. Tax season is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to find one! Before you hire a tax preparer, ask family and friends for their opinions on who they’ve worked with in the past. Make sure to also do some research from reputable websites on the company that has been recommended to see if there are any complaints. If everything looks promising, you can then contact them for more details on their services.

Make sure your tax preparer can meet your needs. Do you just need them to file your return, or would you like them to help you with anything else? If you’re just starting out in business, for example, it might be helpful to work with a tax specialist – such as an enrolled agent or Certified Public Accountant – who can let you know about future deductions and tax-planning strategies. If you’re nearing retirement and have a lot of money in your tax-deferred retirement savings plans, it can be a good idea to meet with a qualified advisor who’s also skilled in financial planning and tax preparation. This way you can get professional advice about the most tax efficient way to withdraw from your savings.

Ask questions about the return so you understand what they’ve done and the credits and deductions they’ve taken, which can help you know how to take the tax breaks in the future. “A good tax preparer will explain each step of the process with a taxpayer and allow them to ask questions.” 

Inquire about their back-up support if you have any questions in the future. Avoid tax preparers who only operate a few months a year and will not be there after an IRS audit. In addition to protecting your data, you want to find a tax professional who can help you year-round in case you need to amend a return or if the IRS comes back with questions.

Conclusion: As you can see, there are many benefits to hiring a tax preparer. 

When you’re done filing your own taxes, you may find yourself making the same mistakes year after year. Hiring a professional can help save time and money, while also ensuring that your taxes are filed correctly. Here at IngramTaxes.com, we’re dedicated to helping all our clients receive the best possible results when it comes to tax preparation and filing.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you! If you are looking for the best tax filing services, we can help. Get in touch by texting/calling us at +1 866-824-1440 or email us at info@ingramtaxes.com. Our professional team is available to take care of your needs and make sure you get what is rightfully yours.

Tax Prep Checklist: Collect These Forms Before Filing Your Taxes

It’s best to get organized and gather your tax documents early this year, both because you’ll likely receive your refund sooner and you’ll avoid the stress of scrambling at the last minute. Whether you’re looking for a tax professional or doing it yourself, this is the information and documents you’ll need to gather. W-2s are issued by employers by Jan. 31. If you are self-employed, that deadline also applies to 1099 forms. Here are more details on some of the most common tax forms you may need to gather.

• W-2: If you work for an employer, you can expect to receive a W-2, which shows how much you earned last year and how much was deducted for taxes and any other withholding.

• 1099-NEC: You can expect to receive this 1099 form if you work as a freelancer or if you did contract work in 2021.

• 1099-K: Some freelancers and gig workers for companies like Uber, Lyft or Airbnb should look out for this form. 1099-Ks report income that passes through third-party networks, such as PayPal or debit cards or credit card processors. • Other 1099 forms: If you earned interest from savings or investments, you may receive a 1099-INT form. You could also receive a 1099-DIV, which reports dividends and distributions from investments.

• 1098: Those who own a home and pay mortgage interest will receive Form 1098 from their mortgage lender. It will show the amount of mortgage interest a homeowner paid and can deduct. It may also show the property taxes paid over the year as well any points paid, both of which are tax-deductible.

• 1098-E: This is a form that records tax-deductible student loan interest payments over $600. If you paid less than $600, you may not receive a 1098-E, but if you find out what amount of interest you paid, you can deduct it.

• 1098-T: The 1098-T can be used to help you calculate and claim educational tax credits and deductions. It reports tuition costs and related education expenses that you may have paid last year.

Of course, the federal government and your employer won’t send you all your tax paperwork. Make note of these other documents you’ll need as you start preparing your taxes.

• Supporting information for tax deductions and credits: If you plan to take advantage of tax deductions and tax credits, you’ll want to have the documents that ensure you qualify. This could include documentation or receipts related to childcare, medical expenses and job search costs, depending on the credit or deduction you’re claiming. If you’re claiming a mileage tax deduction, for example, you’ll want to have a log including dates, destinations and reasons for travel.

• Social Security numbers for family members: Make sure you have your accurate Social Security number as well as that of your spouse and dependents. If you had a baby in 2021, make sure you have a Social Security number to claim child tax credits.

• Contribution information: Remember to collect documentation on retirement plan contributions that are tax-deductible. If you contributed to a 529 plan in 2021 and your state offers a tax benefit, you’ll want to keep that information on hand for your state, but not federal, taxes.

• Charitable donations: Gather any receipts for charitable contributions you made during the year. You don’t need to send these to the IRS, but in case of an audit, you’ll want to prove that you contributed what you claimed.

Correspondence From the IRS Taxpayers should have on hand two letters from the IRS. One was sent fairly recently, the other possibly a while ago. Look out for Letter 6419 and Letter 6475. The first letter, Letter 6419 was mailed by the IRS in late December and early January to taxpayers who received the advance child tax credits. This form will be important for both reconciling and receiving all eligible 2021 child tax credits. Using the information in this letter should help reduce tax-preparation errors and processing delays. The second letter from the IRS is Letter 6475. This letter lists the amount of the third economic impact payment, which was sent to recipients between March and December of 2021. This letter will start arriving in mailboxes in late January. While most eligible households have already received these payments, this letter will include important information that should help taxpayers accurately file their tax returns in a timely fashion. ​

We hope these tips have been helpful! If there is anything else we can do for you, please let us know by emailing us at info@ingramtaxes.com or calling/texting us at +1 866-824-1440. The IRS has a lot of information available to help you with your personal tax filing, but it takes some time to understand the process. If you are looking for assistance to file your taxes and make sure that you get all the deductions that you deserve, contact us today at Ingramtaxes.com.

This Is How We Saved Our Tax Client From Owing Taxes On TurboTax

One of our clients, Crystal, decided to go online and try filing her taxes herself.

I mean its FREE right, why not?! 

And even if she didn’t know what she was doing.

She would still give it a shot and hope for the best.

What’s the worst that could happen?

What Crystal didn’t realize (as for a lot of Americans). A high percentage of people who do their taxes online, are doing them inaccurately. 

How do we know? 

Because TurboTax will purposely offer you to upgrade, just so you can do it “accurately.” But for a FEE of course. 

Crystal ended up putting in all her information that she could remember off of the top of her head into TurboTax…

When she got to the final page to see how much money she would get back….

Crystal ended up owing $1347!

But how could she owe? She paid her fair share in taxes..

Confused by the amount, she did some research and came across @Ingramtaxes on Tiktok, and InstagramShe wanted to get some sort of second opinion.

Crystal ended up getting a free estimate with ingramtaxes.com

And low and behold, we realized she was leaving a bunch of MONEY on the table.

Crystal went to college and paid her tuition in 2021! The interest on her college tuition paid, is totally deductible.

As soon as we entered in her new numbers… Her refund went from her owing $1347 to her getting back $4690. All because she did her due diligence and received a free tax refund estimate.

Click here to receive your free tax refund estimate.

What to Know About Filing Taxes

Filing taxes last year was complicated and filled with last-minute changes. This year’s tax-filing season should be easier, but there are still plenty of new issues to deal with if you lost your job, started a new job or freelance work, collected unemployment benefits, had a baby or other life changes in 2021. You may also need to take extra steps when you file your income tax return if you were eligible for extra stimulus funds or advance child tax credits. You may have special issues to deal with this year, even if your taxes are usually simple. However, there were still some other COVID-related benefits that did not continue into 2021. For example, there is currently no tax break on unemployment benefits received in 2021, but we can’t rule out Congress passing a last-minute tax break like they did last year. Meanwhile, some new laws will help filers this year. Among them is the expanded $600 charitable deduction for married couples who don’t itemize and a larger break for child and dependent care expenses.

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There are also some tax benefits to consider when it comes to saving for college, paying for medical care and supporting your local economy. Here’s what you need to know about filing your taxes and making the most of your benefits. How to File Taxes? There are several options for filing your taxes. You can do them yourself, use tax software, go to a tax preparer in person or virtually, or help from a CPA or enrolled agent. There are different levels of support and costs depending on the complexity of your situation. You may be able to file your taxes for free through IRS Free File if your income was below $73,000 in 2021. With this program, several online tax preparation companies partner with the IRS to offer free tax-filing services. See the IRS’ Free File page for more information. Free File opens on Jan. 14, and returns will be submitted to the IRS starting on Jan. 24. When to File Taxes Whether you’re due a refund or owe money to the IRS, you need to make sure you file your taxes before the deadline. It can be challenging to catch up, but there are a few key dates to know for filing your 2020 taxes. The IRS will begin accepting 2021 returns on Jan. 24, 2022. You should wait until you receive your key forms to file, such as your W-2 from your employer and any 1099 forms reporting earnings from other sources, such as interest, dividends, self-employment and unemployment compensation.

Most of these forms must be sent by Jan. 31, although brokerage firms have until Feb. 15 to send some 1099s. You can import your W-2s and 1099s into your tax preparation software if you work with a tax filing service such as TurboTax. Be on the lookout for a letter from the IRS this year reporting how much you were due in the advance payment of the child tax credit and how many qualifying children were used to calculate that payment. This information will help you reconcile the amount of tax credit you received with what you were eligible for. The IRS will send letter 6475 to everyone who received the third round of economic impact payments. This letter is used to help you determine whether you are eligible for a refund of any stimulus money you received. If you did not get all of the third stimulus payment or you had a baby, you may be eligible for more stimulus in the form of a recovery rebate credit, but you’ll need this letter to correctly report the amount of the third stimulus that the IRS issued in 2021 to be able to claim a recovery rebate credit.

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When are Taxes due? If you’re an American citizen living in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas or Virginia, your federal income taxes are due on April 18, 2020. However, you may not need to file until April 19 if you’re also a resident of Maine or Massachusetts. For example, the due date for federal income tax returns is May 16 for residents of certain areas of Colorado affected by the December wildfires. The due date was also extended to May 16 for Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee residents whose addresses are within the FEMA-declared disaster zone from the tornadoes. “States have the option to choose whether to conform to federal due dates,” he says. The earlier you file, the sooner you can get your refund and the less likely that an identity thief will claim it before you do. Most people get their refunds quickly, even if you owe money, but the IRS can’t give you a refund involving the earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit until mid-February.

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The quickest way to get your refund is to file electronically and have your refund deposited directly into your bank account. “Returns should be e-filed whenever possible and payments can be made at irs.gov/payments. We’re currently seeing responses 20 months or more on items mailed to the IRS. Tax season is upon us, and tax filing should be done timely and efficiently. Hiring a professional is one efficient way to file your taxes and learn everything about taxes. It can help save time and money, while also ensuring that your taxes are filed correctly. If you would like more information on this subject or any other business consulting services we offer, please get in touch today by calling/texting us us at +1 866-824-1440 or email us at info@ingramtaxes.com. We look forward to helping you get set up and ready to pay taxes this year!

What Are Tax Professionals and Why You Should Hire One.

If you’re like most Americans, you procrastinate about your taxes until the day before they are due. And if you have a lot of deductions and credits that require itemizing your tax return, it’s likely even worse: You probably put it off until April 15th.

Tax season is upon us. That means one thing for most of us: stress. One of the most stressful parts of tax season is filing your taxes. We don’t know why it’s so hard to file our taxes, but it is. It takes a lot of time, and we must fill out a lot of complicated forms (which can be confusing). When you work for yourself, you must deal with a lot of taxes. If that isn’t something you want to deal with, it’s the time to hire freelance personal tax professionals. A tax professional will be able to give you peace of mind, save you time and get you the most money possible.

 Nothing is more important than protecting your business, yet many small companies and self-employed individuals struggle with the complexity of tax regulations and are unsure of where to turn for help.

However, the good news is that there are professionals who specialize in tax advice for businesses. Hiring a Tax Advisor will save you hours – even days – of frustrating research. When you hire an accountant, they give you peace of mind that you are complying with federal and state laws, and they’ll save you time filling out those complicated forms. You’re going to need someone who is not just a tax professional, but also has experience with small businesses and freelancers. That way they know exactly how to get your taxes done right and in a timely manner. They should be able to give you great advice and specialize in areas relevant to your business.

Tax preparation for individuals and businesses is a complex and confusing task. For most people, it’s something they don’t want to deal with and leave to the professionals. There are many benefits of hiring a tax professional:

– Hiring a professional can save you time filling out all those complicated tax forms

– Hiring a professional will ensure that you’re complying with federal and state laws

– Hiring a professional can reduce errors on your return or filing

– Hiring a professional may improve your chances of getting the most generous refund possible

 With all these reasons, it’s clear why you should hire a tax professional. Don’t let the IRS intimidate you. Hire a tax professional to help you with your taxes. It can be hard to fill out your taxes without help, especially if the instructions are unclear. That’s why many people hire tax professionals to help them file their taxes.

Conclusion: As you can see, there are many benefits to hiring a tax professional. When you’re done filing your own taxes, you may find yourself making the same mistakes year after year. Hiring a professional can help save time and money, while also ensuring that your taxes are filed correctly. Here at IngramTaxes.com, we’re dedicated to helping all our clients receive the best possible results when it comes to tax preparation and filing. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you! If you are looking for the best tax filing services, we can help. Please get in touch today by texting/calling us at +1 866-824-1440 or email us at info@ingramtaxes.com. Our professional team is available to take care of your needs and make sure you get what is rightfully yours.