Up to 78 Million Taxpayers Will Be Able to File For Free

The Treasury Department has signed an agreement with Free File Alliance, LLC, an organization representing a consortium of tax software companies, to enable as many as 78 million taxpayers to file taxes online at no cost.

Beginning in January 2003, tax software companies who decide to join the consortium will each offer free tax filing services for up to 10% of US taxpayers. Each software company is entitled to set its own rules for determining which taxpayers qualify for the free services. Depending on the number of taxpayers who participate and the requirements for those who avail themselves of the free services, it is estimated that the program will benefit at least 60% of the nation's taxpayers.


What's your view, is this a good move? AccountingWEB wants you to voice your opinion on the merits of this new IRS initiative. (Comments will appear below within 24 hours.)


In exchange for providing the free services, which have already been offered in years past by major tax software companies such as Intuit (maker of TurboTax software) and H&R Block (maker of TaxCut software), there will be links to the participating companies on the IRS Web site and the FirstGov Web site.

"This represents an important step forward for taxpayers and our e-filing efforts," said IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti. "This will give millions of taxpayers free access to preparation and e-filing."

Several consumer groups have objected to the program, suggesting that by encouraging taxpayers to use the free services, the government is providing the members of the e-filing consortium with a captive audience to whom they can offer other fee-based services.

The IRS favors the program over the alternative of developing its own tax software and competing with the tax preparation companies.

"We are one step closer to allowing millions of taxpayers free electronic filing of their tax returns," said Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. Congress has mandated that the IRS find a way to have 80% of the nation's tax returns filed electronically by 2007.

You may like these other stories...

Few tax rules are as long standing and as stringently enforced by the Internal Revenue Service as the agency's blanket prohibition of deductions for the costs of commuting between home and work. The IRS classifies these...
IRS must take oath on Lerner emails: judgeMackenzie Weinger of Politico reported on Thursday that a federal judge ordered the IRS to explain under oath how it lost emails connected to Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official at the...
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday morning that would permanently extend the bonus depreciation tax break for businesses.The measure, HR 4718, which was crafted by Representative Pat...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 16
Hand off work to others with finesse and success. Kristen Rampe, CPA will share how to ensure delegated work is properly handled from start to finish in this content-rich one hour webinar.
Jul 17
This webcast will cover the preparation of the statement of cash flows and focus on accounting and disclosure policies for other important issues described below.
Jul 23
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.