TurboTax specifically targeted students and the unemployed

TurboTax, facing lower revenues following the passage of President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law, decided to start targeting lower-income individuals with paid versions of tax filing software it used to offer for free, according to an investigation from ProPublica.

The move helped TurboTax parent company Intuit offset potential losses from the tax law, which doubled the standard deduction, or the amount you can subtract from your income before income tax sets in, and therefore made a number of users of its Deluxe version eligible for its free one.

In a ploy to keep steady the number of Deluxe users paying for its service, ProPublica reports that TurboTax began moving forms it used to offer in its free version that primarily helped low-income individuals file taxes into its paid Deluxe tier. That way, those people would have to upgrade to properly file taxes once they had already been lured onto TurboTax’s website with the promise of a free filing service.

In Intuit’s third-quarter earnings results announced in May, which included TurboTax revenue from April when US Tax Day occurs, the company’s “tuned product lineup, adjusted for the new tax legislation,” helped it increase its revenue by 10 percent, ProPublica reports. The company’s CEO, Sasan Goodarzi, told investors on a call following the earnings release, “We are big supporters of tax simplification. We believe that it enables consumers to take more control over their financial life.”

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