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New promotion of US-run electronic tax filing system for everyone, free of charge

Washington – It’s that time of year when thousands of taxpayers are sitting down to file their income tax returns before Tuesday’s filing deadline. They often pay to use software from private companies such as Intuit or H&R Block.

Nearly a quarter of Americans wait until the last minute file a tax.

there may be New free option in the futureThe IRS has been tasked with finding ways to create a government-run, electronic, free-file tax filing system for everyone. But that is unacceptable for big tax preparation companies.

This idea has been long debated and hotly debated. Congress is now directing the IRS to report on how such a system works.

The order came as part of an $80 billion infusion of money into tax authorities over the next decade, known as the Democratic Party’s primary climate and health care initiative. Inflation control lawor Signed by President Joe Biden last summer. The IRS reported that he was given nine months and he was given $15 million, how such a program would be implemented and how much it would cost.

Next month, the IRS will release It’s the first in a series of reports exploring how that’s done.

The potential of Washington’s electronic free file system has been applauded for years by some taxpayer advocates who have said it reflects good governance and serves taxpayers well. expressed skepticism of the IRS acting as both tax collector and tax preparer, arguing that the new service could create a power imbalance between taxpayers and governments. doing.

IRS spokesperson Robert Marvin said in an email that the primary goal of the study was to “find ways to make tax filing as easy as possible.”

“It’s important for Americans to have the best choice for them when preparing their taxes, with tax professionals, tax software, or free options,” he said.

But if the program bears fruit, large tax preparation firms could lose millions of dollars. Last year, more than 60 million taxpayers were served between TurboTax’s parent company Intuit and H&R Block.

Tens of millions of dollars have been spent to influence policy makers on this issue, and lobbying data shows that big tax firms in particular are spending a lot.

According to one analysis, Intuit, H&R Block, and other advocates of private companies and large tax preparation businesses, as well as proponents of electronic free files, have engaged in lobbying activities such as “free files” since 2006. reportedly spent $39.3 million. It is important. Federal law does not require domestic lobbyists to itemize costs by specific issue, so the amounts are not limited to freefiles.

Since 2006, Intuit has spent $25.6 million on lobbying, H&R Block about $9.6 million, and conservative Americans calling for tax reform about $3 million.

Intuit spokesman Derrick Plummer said taxpayers: can already file Their taxes are free in the mail, and there are free file programs online for some people.

“A direct electronic file system to the IRS is the solution to the problem, one that will cost taxpayers billions of dollars in unnecessary costs,” he said. “We will continue to defend the American taxpayer and unapologetically advocate against direct electronic file systems to the IRS because it is a bad idea.”

Since 2006, agreement between The IRS and some commercial tax preparation firms known as the Free File Alliance prevented the IRS from creating its own free tax filing system. In exchange, the tax preparation firm agreed to provide a free service to taxpayers under $73,000.

A provision barring the IRS from considering free file systems expired in 2019, but the Free File Alliance agreement, which provides free services to low-income taxpayers, remains in effect.

Ariel Jurow Kleiman, a tax law professor at Loyola Law School and New America Think Tank, was selected by the IRS to conduct a congressional-mandated investigation by the IRS. Jurow-Kleiman said their task was to “assess the feasibility, approach, schedule, cost, organizational design, and capabilities of the IRS to provide a possible direct electronic file system.”

But she’s faced pushback from Republicans who say it doesn’t meet the law’s requirement for an independent third party to assess what it takes to provide a direct file program.

Rep. Jason Smith, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to the IRS in March questioning Jurour Kleiman’s ability to serve as an independent reviewer, arguing that her work would be considered a “extensive system of government administration.” “A clear preference for

Smith, R-Mo. said the selection of Jurow-Kleiman and New America shows that: – Party reviews.

Jurow-Kleiman said Republicans opposed her choice based on an unpublished draft of an article on tax compliance costs, and that none of her writings “address the issues they are evaluating in their feasibility studies.” I haven’t,” he said.

Molly Martin, Strategy Director New Americahas reached out to the IRS for comment, stating that the IRS is “still working on the report.”

“It’s problematic for governments to provide taxes,” said David Williams of the right-leaning nonprofit Taxpayer Protection Alliance.

“Taxpayers want the largest possible refund, but it’s not the IRS’ job to ask filers for the largest refund,” he said. “While we are concerned about that conflict of interest, we are also really concerned about the IRS’ ability to do this.”

For Gabriel Zucker, who helped create a tool to help families access advance child tax credits during the pandemic, setting up a free file program is possible. “This is a really great way for the government to better serve the people,” said Zucker, who is the associate policy director for tax incentives at Code for America.


Associated Press chief election analyst Chad Day contributed to this report

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2023/04/16/new-push-on-us-run-free-electronic-tax-filing-system-for-all/ New promotion of US-run electronic tax filing system for everyone, free of charge

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