(WFRV) – A ‘trusted’ online tax-filing service is being forced to pay over $140 million dollars in restitution after a multi-state investigation found that the company was ripping people off for several years.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), the owner of TurboTax, Intuit Inc. deceived customers into paying for tax services that should have been free resulting in the company now having to pay $141 million in restitution to millions of consumers impacted by this deceit.

Of this restitution, Wisconsin will receive $2,370,000 for consumers who were unfairly charged.

“More than 76,000 Wisconsinites ended up paying for tax preparation products that were marketed as being ‘free,’” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “It’s not right for a corporation to use deceptive tactics to profit from folks who are paying their taxes.”

Impacted consumers are expected to receive a $30 check by mail for each year that they were deceived into paying for filing services.

Consumers eligible for this refund are those who used TurboTax’s Free Edition for tax years 2016 through 2018 and were told that they had to pay to file even though they were eligible to file for free using the version of TurboTax offered as part of the IRS Free File program.

In addition, Inuit has also agreed to reform its business practices to better reflect its company’s offerings and practices.

Company changes include:

  • Refraining from making misrepresentations in connection with promoting or offering any online tax preparation products
  • Enhancing disclosures in its advertising and marketing of free products
  • Designing its products to better inform users whether they will be eligible to file their taxes for free
  • Refraining from requiring consumers to start their tax filing over if they exit one of Intuit’s paid products to use a free product instead