14 million Americans were able to pay for tax-preparation services they received for free

14 million Americans were able to pay for tax-preparation services they received for free

According to a recent US government report, tax preparation companies have barred millions of Americans from using an Internal Revenue Service program that allows people to file their taxes for free, a recent US government survey has concluded.

Most taxpayers qualify to submit their return for free under an IRS-sponsored program known as the Free File. But at least five of the tax-commercial commercial taxpayer companies that agreed to provide free software under the program used the code to hide free services from online services, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has found. Audit.

Federal Watchdog saw free file program last spring after nonprofit Newsroom Propublica Published That TurboTax Parent Intuit, H&R Block, and other tax-prep companies are working tirelessly on services provided to low-income customers that could be made free of charge.

The IRS said it would give 70% of Americans a free file program created in 2003 File their taxes for free. (This year, people earning less than $ 000,000 are eligible.) But the process of using free files is unclear and complicated, “the Office of the Inspector General observed.

The only sure way to file a taxpayer for free is through the IRS website, irs.gov/freefile. Yet the IRS agreement with commercial tax preparers does not mention that requirement, and most taxpayers do not know about it.

Last year, 104 million taxpayers met the free file use criteria, but only 2.5 million used it, the audit found. About a third or 35 million have submitted their tax returns through a commercial site. Through a follow-up survey with a sample of these taxpayers, Surveillance estimates that 14 million people pay a fee to submit their taxes when they qualify for the free file.

A flowchart A detailed flowchart shows how many clicks a person has to successfully complete a return via a free file.

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration


Most taxpayers may be unaware of the program because there are no free files available online. The IRS has not advertised the program since May 27. About 5% of low-income taxpayers contacted a follow-up survey telling TIGTA they did not know about the offer or its presence.

“[T]”The audit is over” does not provide sufficient oversight to ensure that the IRS Free File program is operating arbitrarily. “Moreover, taxpayers are not aware of protection …. and there is no mechanism for raising concerns.”

The IRS proposes a number of changes, including free file publications and regular checks to whether tax-preparation companies are complying with the program.

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