Intuit Gets U.S. Government Inquiries Over Tax Filing SoftwareBrian Womack
Intuit Inc., maker of tax-preparation software TurboTax, said that it has received information requests from the U.S. government following its decision to temporarily halt state tax filing due to fraudulent activity.
Intuit said that it’s cooperating with inquiries from regulatory authorities, including Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice, the company said in a statement Friday.
The government’s involvement -- which Intuit said it had expected -- steps up the scrutiny on the company’s TurboTax business, which is used by U.S. consumers to file their annual tax returns. Intuit first disclosed the suspicious activity in February, and has been working to reassure users that their information is safe. TurboTax is part of Intuit’s consumer tax group, which made $244 million in sales, or 30 percent of total revenue, in the fiscal second quarter that ended in January.
“We understand our important role in this issue as a market leader,” Dave Williams, Intuit’s chief tax officer, said in the statement. “We take it very seriously. So too do the various government authorities who have a stake in the tax prep process. We welcome the opportunity to share information and cooperate with their inquiries.”
U.S. taxpayers are typically issued refunds on national and state taxes already paid, creating an opportunity for crooks to file false claims for the money. Americans are in the middle of the annual tax-filing season ahead of an April 15 deadline.
The Mountain View, California-based software maker company has denied claims that it prioritized the processing of fraudulent state and federal tax refunds at the expense of customers.
Criminals, using stolen identification information, can create a phony TurboTax account in a person’s name to file for a tax refund. In these cases, because the filing fee is deducted from the total amount of the refund request, TurboTax may still receive a payment when the Internal Revenue Service approves the fraudulent return.
Diane Carlini, a spokeswoman for Intuit,declined to comment. Intuit said in the statement that it won’t provide additional details on the inquiries until they’re complete.