Tax season is a time most Michiganders dread. Amidst the hustle, H&R Block's seemingly generous offer of a "free" online tax product grabs attention. It seems to have caught the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) attention, which has now warned Michigan taxpayers: "What seems free may come at a significant cost".

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In a consumer alert issued by the FTC, the government watchdog states H&R Block's free offering applies only to a "simple return", a term that's ambiguous and subject o H&R Blocks descretion. Many Michigan residents have not qualified for the free version only after investing time in inputting their details. What now?

FTC Warns Michigan of H&R Blocks' High-Pressure Sales Tactics

Tax Consultants Prepare For New Tax Guidelines
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Once you've invested your time, H&R Block now begins nudging you towards their paid products, creating a potential financial pitfall. According to the FTC release, choosing an upgrade is easy, but navigating to less expensive plans will erase all of the previously entered data.

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So according to the FTC, H&R Block is luring you in with the promise of free tax prep, having you invest time by inputting a good chunk of data, only to say you can't have free tax prep, you'll have to pay for it, and if you don't buy the good plans, you have to start at the beginning.

H&R Block Reports Earnings
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Needless to say, this appears fairly underhanded, and the FTC agrees, viewing these practices as manipulative, trapping users into paying for more than they need or abandoning their returns altogether. It's a tax season nightmare that Michigan residents must know about.

Related: SCAM ALERT: IRS Warns Michigan Imposters Offering 'False Refunds'

Is this H&R Block tactic illegal? The FTC suggests that it may be and has issued an administrative complaint against the tax preparation company. If you encounter these practices, report them to the FTC at

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