Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free (www.propublica.org)

Using lobbying, the revolving door and “dark pattern” customer tricks, Intuit fended off the government’s attempts to make tax filing free and easy, and created its multi-billion-dollar franchise.

Last fall, Intuit’s longtime CEO Brad Smith embarked on a farewell tour of the company’s offices around the world. Smith had presided over 11 years of explosive growth, a period when Intuit had secured its place in the Silicon Valley pantheon, and the tour was like a long party.

In Ontario, employees wore T-shirts with Smith’s quasi-spiritual sayings: “Do whatever makes your heart beat fastest” and “Repetition doesn’t ruin the prayer.” In Bangalore, India, workers put on Smith face masks as they posed for selfies with the man himself. Fittingly, the tour culminated in San Diego, the home of TurboTax, the software that transformed the company’s fortunes. There, Smith arrived at his party in a DeLorean, and as he walked a red carpet, cheering employees waved “Brad is Rad” signs. To Smith’s delight, his favorite rock star, Gene Simmons of Kiss, emerged. The two posed for pictures, Simmons clad in black and the beaming CEO flashing the “rock on” hand sign.

Intuit began in the 1980s as an accounting software company focused on helping people with their bookkeeping. Over time, the company, like the other giants of Big Tech, cultivated an image of being not just good at what it did, but good, period. In a recent Super Bowl ad, Intuit portrayed itself as a gentle robot that liberates small-business owners from paperwork. The company stresses values above all, urging employees to “deliver awesome” and pursue “integrity without compromise.”

What do you think?

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Butt Head
9 months ago

Who cares it’s still cheaper than paying $400 to ppl to do it for you

Luke
9 months ago

The government can actually calculate the true amount you owe or owed, it’s the tax industry like turbo tax, hr block, etc, that makes it difficult for an average citizen to access so that they have a business

dogged
9 months ago

While it bites to have to pay to file taxes, I shudder at having a free government site for filing taxes rather than a private company. For some reason, the government can never create a reliable, working website. This is why capitalism works my friends!

Stormtrooper
9 months ago

I Did Mine Through Turbo Tax Last Year. Ima Do it Again This Year.

Waller
9 months ago

TurboTax is okay in my book. I’ve used them for 4 years now and am satisfied with the service. TurboTax is free enough, but sometimes I pay them anyways because of how simple they’ve made it for me to file.

flourish
9 months ago

They’ve been doing this scam forever…

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