Jul 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

TurboTax maker Intuit will leave IRS' Free File program

1040 Individual Income Tax forms for the 2015 tax year

1040 Individual Income Tax forms for the 2015 tax year. Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

TurboTax maker Intuit announced Thursday that it will leave the IRS' Free File program, which has offered free tax filing to millions of Americans for 20 years.

Why it matters: The departures of Free Files' two largest participants — Intuit this year and H&R Block last — leaves the future of the program uncertain, ProPublica reports.

The big picture: The Free File program was founded after the George W. Bush administration proposed that the IRS offer a free online filing option for taxpayers, per ProPublica.

  • "Such an option would have threatened the profits of the burgeoning tax prep software business," ProPublica writes.
  • After lobbying by the companies, the IRS agreed not to develop its own filing portal and instead free versions of tax software was offered to most Americans.

Driving the news: Intuit will end its participation in the Free File program after the end of the current tax season in October, per the company's announcement.

  • "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," per the statement.

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