Kimberly White/Getty Images Anyone making less than $66,000 a year can file their taxes for free. Oftentimes, that’s easier said than done.Intuit, which makes TurboTax, makes it difficult for people to find the free option, according to ProPublica. Instead, searches on terms such as “irs free file taxes” steer potential tax filers to for-pay versions of its service, according to the publication. Intuit, along with H&R Block, has lobbied for years to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from building its own free online tax filing system because it would compete with their products, according to ProPublica. Members of Congress pushed to prevent the IRS from offering free online filing as recently as this month, the publication reported.The IRS has agreed not to make online tax filing free as long as tax-preparation companies, who have formed an industry group called the Free File Alliance, provide free services to taxpayers making less than $66,000. Locating Intuit’s free service, however, requires a lot of work, according to ProPublica. ProPublica went to Intuit’s TurboTax website and clicked on the “FREE Guaranteed” option but was tagged as a potential paying customer. The reason: Intuit doesn’t offer its free version from its website, ProPublica said.ProPublica discovered the free version for filers with less than $66,000 in income is called the Freedom Edition. Once the publication had that information, a Google search brought up the right result. But the Intuit site still tried to channel ProPublica back to a for-pay version, it said. Clicking on a link titled “Start for Free” on the page led to a for-pay version of TurboTax, while clicking on “See If You Qualify” led to the actual free filing option.TurboTax also offers a product called Free Edition, a no-cost version for users with simple filings. Eligibility for Free Edition isn’t based on income, but rather on filing circumstance, such as W2, standard deduction and child tax credits.TurboTax spokesman Rick Heineman said pricing for TurboTax products is listed on the company’s Products & Pricing page. “This information is made clear to customers before they begin to file,” he wrote. TurboTax Free File Program, which is on a page whose URL reads https://turbotax.intuit.com/taxfreedom/, is the Intuit product used as part of the income-based IRS Free File. Heineman said the TurboTax Free File Program “contains no cross-marketing or selling of ancillary products or services.” Comments Tags 4 Share your voice Software
Share “All the pieces are coming together” for St. Vincent and the Grenadines Kathryn Folliott TORONTO — With Mandarin Oriental just announcing its official debut on Canouan in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, news of another new resort for the island chain, from a well-known brand, is expected be made public within the next few weeks.St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Cecil McKie, in Toronto this week to meet with industry partners and media this week, said “all the pieces are coming together” and construction on the new-build resort, on the main island of St. Vincent, should begin within the next three months.Interest in the Caribbean destination, always something of an off-the-beaten-track gem, has ramped up with the debut of the new Argyle International Airport. Open since February 2017, the airport is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ years-long plan to attract international flights and – slowly but surely – boost its status as a tourism hotspot.Lift out of Canada for the 2018-19 winter season includes flights with Air Canada Rouge, with year-round nonstop Toronto to St. Vincent flights ramping up to twice weekly on Thursdays and Sundays in high winter season. ACV’s just-released Sun Collection 2018-19 brochure offers seven hotels in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.From the U.S., carriers servicing St. Vincent and the Grenadines include American Airlines out of Miami starting Dec. 15, and Caribbean Airlines ex New York (JFK).“We’re getting there slowly but surely,” says Glen Beache, CEO, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority. “We’ve done well for our first year of operations [with Argyle International Airport]. We need to have the room stock too.”Glen Beache, CEO, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority; Shelley John, Director of Sales, Canada for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Cecil McKieBeache adds: “I’ve never seen so much interest paid to St. Vincent and the Grenadines as I have now, with the new airport.”More news: CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionWhile the destination is keen on attracting new hotel development, the first priority, as Beache notes, is “to keep the hotels full and give everybody the best experience possible.”St. Vincent and the Grenadines isn’t exclusively an upscale destination, but with islands like Mustique and Canouan, it’s easy for travellers – and travel agents – to make that assumption. “I think in the past it was marketed [as a luxury destination] and I think that was a mistake,” says Beache. The goal now is to go in the direction of four-star resorts.Some of the most popular resorts on the islands and cays – there are 32 in all, but only nine are inhabited – are Palm Island Resort, Petit St. Vincent and Buccament Bay Resort.The ‘new’ Mandarin Oriental, Canouan is in fact the former Pink Sands Club, Canouan. Mandarin Oriental announced the rebranding and an extensive renovation back in October 2017, and just this week Mandarin Oriental announced that the resort’s transformation was officially complete.More news: Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterMore rooms are on the way at Black Sands Resort, now under construction on St. Vincent with 40 villas and a 200-room hotel.Meanwhile agents should be on the lookout for more hotel news from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, says McKie. “We welcome discussions with anyone with interests in our islands. The government has offered to partner with investors. We have an open door policy.”The islands also have plenty of draws for visitors, including a full list of festivals and events, kicking off at the beginning of the year with the Bequia Music Fest. In the summer Vincy Mas “is the hottest Carnival in the Caribbean, and the safest,” says McKie.Shelley John, Director of Sales, Canada for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Office, says travel agents can hear all the news from the islands at upcoming roadshow events in St. Catharines, Oakville, Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal, taking place Sept. 24 – 28.For more details see discoversvg.com. Tags: St. Vincent and the Grenadines << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, July 26, 2018 Posted by About Latest Posts Kathryn FolliottEditor at TravelweekKathryn is Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 1995. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Hong Kong, Jerusalem, the Swiss Alps and the Galapagos Islands among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Kathryn Folliott (see all) “They need to go where the bucks are”: Agents on ACTA partnership – April 18, 2019 As the cost of doing business climbs, host agencies, retail groups say they have options – April 4, 2019 As of 2021 Europe-bound clients will need to apply online for a visa waiver and pay a fee – April 3, 2019
Tuesday, August 28, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by TORONTO — It’s a sign of the times that news services have taken to compiling lists of fake news items, in an effort to weed out the real stories from the not-so-real.Wire news service The Associated Press says it’s dedicated to fact-checking misinformation that is shared widely online, and alerting users with roundups of fake news. Recently that roundup included WestJet.Not that the airline had done anything wrong. On the contrary, AP was drawing attention to an online ticket scam involving WestJet that the airline has been pushing back against for years with consumer warning advisories and blog posts.It’s the age-old Facebook-based free ticket scam, using WestJet’s branding.“THE FACTS: WestJet Airlines is not giving out two free tickets to celebrate its birthday despite an offer circulating on social media,” says AP.The scam asks users to fill out a survey to receive a pair of 332 remaining tickets. Afterward, users are asked to share the ad and type “Thanks for tickets #Westjet!” in the comments field. It then says users can click the ‘Claim Now’ button to enter their personal details.More news: Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsThe advertisement “is not a legitimate offer,” says WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell. Bell said more information about dealing with scams is available on the airline’s advisory page.The ‘Not Real News’ roundup with the WestJet item came out in recent days but the scam has been circulating for years. “I don’t understand why Facebook allows these scammers to freely post their frauds,” says one post on WestJet’s advisory blog. Here’s why WestJet landed on the Not Real News list With files from The Associated Press Travelweek Group Tags: Facebook, WestJet Share
Content security specialist Civolution has joined CDN provider Akamai’s NetAlliance partner programme for digital media solution partners. Civolution’s NexGuard pay TV technology will be integrated with the Akamai cloud platform to support over-the-top video content delivery for premium consumer video-on-demand and business-to-business activities.‘’This is about creating value, for the movie and pay TV industries by providing early-window content at a premium rate, and for consumers, who will now be able to access and watch a recently released movie in their home theatre,’’ said Alex Terpstra, CEO, Civolution. “We are very pleased to join Akamai’s NetAlliance partner programme. Our forensic watermarking integration with the Akamai HD Network is an important step toward enabling new offering of premium VOD for OTT delivery.’’
The Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) has agreed a multi-year contract for Ku-band capacity on the Eutelsat 21B satellite that provides reach over the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.The ASBU will use the capacity for broadcast content exchanges between member broadcasters in a region extending from Morocco to Bahrain and from the Mediterranean to Yemen, Sudan and Mauritania. It will also use it to extend its footprint into Europe.“Eutelsat 21B with its best coverage both in elevation and performance provides ASBU as a gateway between North Africa, Middle East and Europe to our programme exchange centre in Algiers for distribution,” said ASBU director general, Salaheddine Maaoui.The ASBU includes 30 active broadcaster members and 25 associate members and provides a platform for radio and television exchanges of news, programming and sports across the Arab world.