Turbotax has a Free File threshold of only $36,000. All the other software providers have a $69,000 threshold. How does Turbotax get away with a $36,000 threshold when all the providers are subject to the same agreement with the IRS?
IRS Free File Program - https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/
To qualify for free 2019 federal and state tax returns with the Free File Program, you'll need to meet at least one of these requirements:
- A maximum 2019 adjusted gross income (AGI) of $36,000; or
- You qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); or
- You served as active duty military (including Reservists and National Guard) with a maximum 2019 AGI of $69,000 (you'll also need a military-issued W-2).
They all have an agreement to provide a Free File option ... they have never all had to be the same so each company can set their own restrictions. In fact a couple of years ago, the forced upgrade situation was eliminated ... this was when you start with say TT in the FF system and find you no longer qualify you are brought back to the FF selections to pick a different FF option ... you could not be forced into a paid TT program.
The above is what TurboTax says (36,000). But irs.gov says you can free file if your AGI is less than 69,000 for everyone, not just military. So why is TurboTax not letting EVERYONE with an AGI less than 69,000 to file for free? Why is TurboTax's AGI limit so much lower than the IRS's limit? IRS says it's supposed to be free if your AGI is less than $69K.
Actually--here is what the IRS says: