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Have You Been Taken Advantage of by Tax Filing Programs?

Student loan borrowers and others may have been taken advantage of by online tax filing programs. If you made payments on student loans in 2019, and filed your taxes online, you may have been tricked into paying for products you didn’t need or being charged for filing your taxes when you should have been allowed to file for free.


Recently, ProPublica reported on how online tax filing programs may trick people into paying more to file their taxes than they are legally required to do. Under federal law, online tax filing companies are required to allow filers who meet certain criteria to file their federal taxes online for free. When the tax laws changed this year, the change meant many more filers would be able to file for free, which would cost online tax companies money.


This change hit student loan borrowers in particular. One of the most popular online filing companies is TurboTax. The ProPublica story includes an interview with a borrower who was told by Turbotax that she should upgrade to a paid version, instead of the free version, to allow her to deduct her student loan interest on her taxes. The person did this, but saved only $26 in taxes – and the ‘upgrade’ ended up costing her an additional $151.


Wisconsin law imposes certain obligations on companies that deal with consumers. One of those is the obligation to act in good faith towards consumers, and not to mislead them about their rights and obligations. If you filed your taxes online in 2019 and were charged for doing so, you should contact Attorney Briane Pagel at Lawton & Cates to see if you can get a refund of your money, and possibly even collect damages from the company that charged you. There is no charge for the consultation.

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