Intuit's secret campaign to block free tax filing

Intuit has launched a fake grassroots campaign to beat a proposal that would allow some taxpayers to file at no cost

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There's more, but you get the idea. Before I go further, here's what Intuit has to say about this: The company works with many types of groups to support "taxpayer empowerment," and "we feel all points of view deserve to be heard," Intuit spokeswoman Julie Miller tells me. "Return-free minimizes the taxpayers' voice and instead maximizes revenue collection for government," Miller wrote in an email. "That kind of anti-consumer policy does not advance taxpayer rights."

Intuit has every right to spend money on lobbying in defense of its own interests. I don't dispute that. But it should not do so secretly.

Big tech money talks -- against your interests
Large tech companies are using their huge stores of cash to lobby and contribute tens of millions of dollars to candidates running for state and federal office they hope will further their interests -- not ours. In the 2012 election cycle, tech companies contributed $64.5 million to political campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And last year, 10 of the largest U.S. technology companies spent more than $61 million lobbying Washington in 2013, according to an analysis of records filed by Consumer Watchdog earlier this year.

Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft spent some of those millions to influence the government's hand on such antiworkforce issues such as raising the cap on H-1B visas. Cable and broadband providers lobbied to block the spread of community-owned fiber to the home.

By and large, the tech industry is no different than the giants of banking and energy that want to avoid regulation or win approval of key projects. Silicon Valley, though, claims to hold itself to a higher standard and talks endlessly about changing the world through innovation.

But when it comes to losing a little bit of profit, it's amazing how those noble sentiments quickly disappear.

I welcome your comments, tips, and suggestions. Post them here (Add a comment) so that all our readers can share them, or reach me at bill@billsnyder.biz. Follow me on Twitter at BSnyderSF.

This article, "Intuit's secret campaign to block free tax filing," was originally published by InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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