How Intuit and H&R Block may have tricked low-income Americans into paying to file their taxes

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Show Notes

(01:43) It looks like Intuit and H&R Block have been employing some super-shady marketing tactics for years to charge people who should otherwise have qualified to file their taxes for free. Here’s everything you need to know about the ProPublica “Free File” investigation. For more, be sure to read “Here's How TurboTax Just Tricked You into Paying to File Your Taxes,” and "TurboTax Deliberately Hid Its Free File Page from Search Engines”. You can get background on the 16-year-old IRS Free File Alliance on the IRS website. Check out the official TurboTax response here and read the text of Intuit’s agreement with the IRS to understand why this matters.

(7:22) It gets worse — former Intuit and H&R Block employees detail how both companies worked to prevent low-income taxpayers from utilizing the Free File program, despite their commitment to the IRS to promote their truly free offerings. Now the scandal has entered the Presidential campaign — Elizabeth Warren called for agencies to investigate the matter. With the political fallout, the fate of the Taxpayer First Act, which would have enshrined the Free File Alliance permanently into law, is now in question.

(15:21) To contain the damage, Intuit has started buying up a number of negative or offensive domain names containing their trademarks. Meanwhile, at least one TurboTax customer service agent called the whole thing “fake news.”

(18:39) Rich Preece of Intuit joins Friday Night Live on Facebook to talk the future of the QuickBooks Live with Bookkeeping test, including a go-live date in June. Meanwhile, Intuit is raising prices for QuickBooks (again).

(25:56) Divvy, which has set out to revolutionize expense management (for free), just raised $200 million in a Series C round. Listen to find out what they plan to do with that money.

(29:45) Over in the alternative lending space, OnDeck’s charge-offs are rising.

(31:33) Sholto MacPherson details how NetSuite’s new analytics tool shows how ERPs can win versus ecosystems when it comes to reporting.

(34:46) Here’s some practical advice on SaaS marketing.

(35:58) Learn why Amazon bet (almost) a billion dollars on certainty.

(37:10) Helm asks, “What the Heck is an Advisor?

(38:30) Here’s why accidents like the Notre-Dame fire happen.

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