IRS announces Free File launch

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

On Friday, the IRS announced the opening of its Free File program, which provides free electronic filing to qualifying taxpayers, generally those who earned $66,000 or less last year. The program is opening before the regular filing season, which will begin Jan. 28, and is available only through the IRS website at irs.gov/freefile.

After they access the website, taxpayers can use the “Help Me” tool, which asks for information such as their age, income, and state of residence. The tool then matches the taxpayer with one of the 12 software products that are available through the program. The IRS says each taxpayer will usually have several options to choose from. Taxpayers can review all the offers made by the 12 providers if they do not want to use the tool.

Once taxpayers select a product, they will be directed away from IRS.gov to the provider’s website to prepare their return. Taxpayers can also access Free File from their phone or tablet using the IRS2Go app. All active-duty military personnel who made $66,000 or less last year are eligible to use any of the 12 products.

The IRS also announced that it recently entered into new agreements with the 12 providers through Oct. 31, 2021, and that these agreements provide greater consumer protection to taxpayers using the products. Among the new protections is a prohibition on provider companies having any button or link on their Free File landing pages that would take taxpayers to non-Free File programs.

Sally P. Schreiber, J.D., (Sally.Schreiber@aicpa-cima.com) is a Tax Adviser senior editor.

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