TurboTax is setting the “free” filing page to “noindex” in the web code, making it much harder for people trying to find the page. Without a direct link, it would be VERY hard to find that page searching the internet. Shady.
Justin Elliott, ProPublica:
We found that Intuit’s smaller competitor in the market, H&R Block, also hid its H&R Block Free File product from Google using the same sort of code. An H&R Block spokeswoman said: “We are proud that we have helped millions of Americans file their returns under the Free File Alliance program. … Our Free File Alliance offering, like all other alliance partners, is presented in the IRS site and easily reachable through the IRS, on HRBlock.com, and also by googling ‘FFA H&R Block.’”
But the Google results for that search do not directly link to H&R Block’s Free File landing page.
There are other ways to access all of these companies’ free filing options; the IRS provides a list of links. But it’s not unreasonable to expect people to search “free tax filing software”, and I cannot think of a non-sleazy reason why these pages would be hidden from search engines.