Is This Military Discount BS? You Decide.

military discount

Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, created and promoted a “military discount” that misleads the military and actually charges service members who are eligible to file for free.

TurboTax, according to multiple news outlets and misled military families into filing their taxes with them “for free”, when in actuality, the military member/family ends up paying anywhere from $60 to over $100 to file.

“In the commercial version of TurboTax that includes the “military discount,” customers are charged based on the tax forms they file. One military family used a form to claim a retirement savings credit that TurboTax required a paid upgrade to file. If they’d started from the TurboTax Free File landing page instead of the military page, they would have been able to file for free.”  — ProPublica Article: TurboTax Uses A “Military Discount” to Trick Troops Into Paying to File Their Taxes

The family mentioned above is an active duty military family that makes under the $66,000 income threshold to file for free. This family Googled “tax preparation military free” and, recalled in an interview, TurboTax was the first link that popped up, promising “free military taxes.”

Intuit Deliberately Hid TurboTax Free File

On top of the aforementioned deceptive activity, Intuit deliberately hid their TurboTax Free File Program from Google. So, when people Google something similar to, “free tax filing TurboTax” the Free File Program does not come up because Intuit added an HTML tag to the Free File page that tells Google to not populate that page on searches.

The Big Problem: Free Tax Filing & The IRS

The IRS recently agreed to not offer it’s own free online tax filing system to eligible Americans because companies like H&R Block and Intuit pleaded against it. (The Senate is still considering this bill, The Taxpayer First Act.)

The only reason the IRS agreed not to implement their own system is because Intuit & H&R Block agreed to offer Free File options to families with lower incomes. However, both companies are hiding their Free File page from Google.

I’m Eligible to File For Free. How Do I Do It?

Start from the IRS’s Free File Page . Do not start at the TurboTax Military Discounts page. (We are purposefully not including a link to the military discounts page.)


About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.