For nearly 20 years, Intuit has been a proud member of the Free File program, helping millions of Americans prepare and electronically file their tax returns for free. Today, over 90% of all taxpayers e-file their taxes and free tax preparation is currently available to 100% of American taxpayers through a combination of commercial, philanthropic, and IRS sponsored methods. We are proud that Intuit’s participation in the Free File program has helped the organization exceed its charter of increasing electronic filing to 80% and making free tax preparation available to 70% of filers.
With the Free File program surpassing its founding goals of e-file and free tax preparation, and due to the limitations of the Free File program and conflicting demands from those outside the program, we are not able to continue in the program and deliver all of the benefits that can help consumers make more money, save more, and invest for the future. Thus, Intuit has elected to not renew its participation in the Free File program following the conclusion of this tax season in October. This decision will allow us to focus on further innovating in ways not allowable under the current Free File guidelines and to better serve the complete financial health of all Americans through all of our products and services, in tax preparation and beyond.
Intuit’s goal is to democratize financial services that are usually only available to the wealthy by providing all Americans access to opportunities to improve their finances. Yet the Free File program is designed to focus solely on tax preparation and e-filing with strict requirements for user experiences. That leaves a huge gap for millions of Americans when they file their taxes and receive their tax refund, which is for many their biggest check of the year.
We are committed to helping our customers solve their biggest financial challenges, and that means we need to focus on helping them not only get their biggest refund, but beyond tax preparation so they can increase savings, increase income, pay down debt and have faster access to their money. We can help more customers get access to their refund faster at no cost, to tap into expert resources at will, to choose to use their own data to better budget, save and invest – all of which we cannot effectively do as part of the Free File program.
Without the limitations of the Free File program, Intuit can provide more financial benefits and empower Americans of all income levels to take control of their finances at a time they need it most. This includes:
- Instilling confidence in tax filers by removing obstacles in tax preparation by importing data beyond the tax return;
- Delivering access to tax and finance experts for personalized support free of charge or at a portion of the cost elsewhere;
- Using AI models to proactively intervene with customers when they may be making a mistake or appear confused;
- With customer consent, direct depositing refunds into free, high yield accounts so they can save more and invest to make their money work for them; and
- Extending completely free refund advances to help those in need make ends meet and enable financial benefits like lowering debt.
As a company, we are committed to helping Americans solve their biggest financial challenges, including a goal of doubling the household savings rate for customers on Intuit’s platform. We have already helped our customers by advancing TurboTax filers $450 million in refunds completely free of charge over the last four years so they can get the money they need, when they need it. We have assisted low-income filers obtain more than $10 billion in Earned Income Tax Credit in tax year 2020 alone; saved Mint users $1 million per month in overdraft fees; saved Credit Karma members nearly $3,000 in interest over the life of their auto loan; helped employees get paid two-times faster through QuickBooks Payments; and supported businesses that have used QuickBooks survive beyond their fifth year at a rate of 60%, compared to the national average of only 50%. There is no question that we can only help solve more consumer financial problems by accelerating our innovation to deliver more benefits like these without the restraints of the Free File program.
Intuit remains committed to free tax filing. With more free tax filings than all other tax prep software companies combined, Intuit is the industry leader in free tax preparation. Last tax season, Intuit delivered 17 million free tax filings, including approximately 3 million through Free File, and nearly 100 million free filings over the past 8 years with nearly 90% of those free tax filings coming outside of the Free File program. Moving forward, Intuit is committed to continuing to offer free tax preparation while accelerating innovation to address all of consumers’ financial problems.
We are obsessed with helping millions of Americans looking to take charge of their finances so they can prosper. Intuit’s AI-driven expert platform makes it simple for consumers to make better financial decisions, helping them not only receive their maximum refund but empowering them by putting control in their hands so they can make smart money decisions and realize their financial dreams.
Focusing on innovative technologies will enable us to help our customers and all Americans manage their finances themselves, beyond the tax return, so they can increase savings, increase income, pay down debt, and have faster access to their money.