Investigation and pending class action suit against a group of income tax software companies that are part of a cartel known as the Free File Alliance LLC, which includes H & R Block and Intuit. The investigation alleges that cartel members unlawfully charged millions of U.S. taxpayers excessive e-filing fees. Certain tax payers are charged to electronically file their tax returns and this investigation asserts that the fees charged are not "Fair and uniform" as required by law.
The Free File Alliance contracted with the IRS to provide free electronic filing for low income citizens in exchange for the exclusive right to charge a "fair and uniform" fee to other citizens. The agreement the IRS made with the cartel was supposed to provide free e-filing of tax returns to 70% of Americans. In fact, only 3.8 million taxpayers filed their returns for free in 2006. In 2007, only families with adjusted gross income of less than $52,000 qualified for free filing. The member companies of the File Free Alliance received a huge windfall, using profit to drive price, pawning to consumers other software products and even offering consumers high interest rate loans to get advance payment. This investigation seeks return of these profits to US taxpayers.
Name (Stock Symbol)
H&R Block, Inc. (HRB)
H&R Block, Inc. primarily is a tax preparation company, but also offers investment products and services.
Intuit Inc. (INTU)
Intuit Inc. provides management, tax and online banking software and services.
Free File Alliance
The Free File Alliance is a free federal tax preparation and electronic filing program developed through a public-private partnership between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Free File Alliance LLC, a group of private sector tax software companies.
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