Many Americans who pay the online do-it-yourself tax-preparation giant TurboTax may not even know the company offers a free version of its services, under an agreement with the federal government. Critics say that lack of knowledge is intentional — that after agreeing two decades ago to provide free filing services in exchange for a promise that the federal government wouldn’t offer its own free filing system, the company has downplayed its free service and steered users toward its paid services at every turn.
TurboTax now says it’s getting out of the government’s free-filing agreement entirely. Good. It clears the way for the IRS to do what it should have done long ago, and create its own free government portal for online tax preparation and filing.