IRS EVALUATING A DIRECT FILE OPTION FOR TAXPAYERS:
Note from the Editor: We are aware of the discussions surrounding this action by the IRS, however, it is a mandate by Congress through the Inflation Reduction Act. Through Tax Tidbits and the Federal Tax Alert we will provide updates to the program proposed by the IRS.
The Internal Revenue Service has submitted a report to Congress evaluating a Direct File option for taxpayers and is taking steps to begin a pilot project for the 2024 filing season following a directive from the Treasury Department.
The report to Congress, required by the Inflation Reduction Act, evaluated the feasibility of providing taxpayers with the option of a free, voluntary, IRS-run electronic filing system, commonly referred to as "Direct File."
The report finds that many taxpayers are interested in using a free IRS-provided tool to prepare and file taxes, and that the agency is technically capable of delivering a Direct File program. It also concludes that effective execution of a Direct File program would require sustained budget investment and careful management of the potential program's operational complexity.
The report focuses on three areas: taxpayer opinions, cost and feasibility. The report also includes an analysis conducted by an independent third party, as required by the statute. The report also lays out the potential benefits and challenges associated with the IRS implementing a Direct File program.
"The IRS is committed to delivering significantly improved services by providing taxpayers with tools, information and assistance to make it easier to comply with their tax filing obligations. Direct File – used by numerous tax jurisdictions around the world – has long been discussed as an option for improving the customer experience for taxpayers in the U.S.," said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. "The IRS review looked at the potential operational and administrative requirements of such a system. Ultimately, the results show there is taxpayer interest in an optional Direct file program and such a program is technically feasible. Any path forward should start with a limited pilot to assess operational factors described in this study."