IRS Should Make Direct File Permanent, Available Nationwide, More Than 250 Groups Said

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The IRS should make Direct File permanent and available nationwide in the years ahead, said 256 groups — including many members of the Coalition for Free and Fair Filing — in a letter sent today to IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The signatories, which include organizations from all 50 states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, congratulated the two officials on the successes of the Direct File pilot program in its first year.

“The Direct File pilot was designed to test whether this approach to free, public, electronic tax filing could work,” the letter reads. “There can be no doubt that the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ It is time to make Direct File a permanent fixture of the American tax system.”

“The product made available this year was user-friendly and human-centered, and treated taxpayers with the dignity they deserve,” the groups noted. “The complimentary feedback was pervasive, and the reviews universally positive. One taxpayer called it ‘the most convenient way I’ve ever filed taxes.’ Direct File’s mobile-first design and bilingual functionality and live chat support powerfully demonstrated your team’s commitment to accessibility. Thanks to your scaled rollout and iterative approach, Direct File launched smoothly and without incident. And the state filing integrations — identified in the Direct File report as a principal area to test in the pilot — were also successful.”

In the letter, the groups called for quickly expanding Direct File to more states and streamlining the filing process by pre-populating tax filing forms with data the IRS already has on filers. The groups also called for the IRS to expand the program to cover a broader range of tax situations, such as gig work and other scenarios that apply to a large number of low- and middle-income Americans who are most likely to need access to free and convenient tax filing.

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The Coalition for Free and Fair Filing supports the Internal Revenue Service’s efforts to create a free online direct tax filing tool. The group’s mission is to ensure all U.S. taxpayers can easily file tax returns and get the tax credits they deserve by safeguarding and expanding the IRS Direct File program. The coalition is composed of organizations committed to racial and economic justice, consumer protection, the advancement of civic technology and the promotion of equity in tax administration.

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