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IRS Opens Direct File Pilot to More Users and Reports Increased Usage of Free File Program

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Mar 4, 2024

After weeks of testing, the IRS's new government-run website for free tax filing, Direct File, is now open for the rest of this year’s tax season to users in 12 states, The Washington Post and Accounting Today reported. 

The IRS began internal pilot testing of the Direct File system with a group of about 1,200 IRS employees in the states where it will be available this tax season: Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Direct File will now be continuously open, although the site might briefly close if it gets too many users on one day during this first week, the IRS said, according to the Post.

"After successful external testing and evaluation, the Direct File pilot is expanding final testing," said an IRS official, according to Accounting Today. "Starting March 4, Direct File will be available for new users to start their returns 24 hours a day, every day. A message at the top of will indicate that Direct File is open."

The IRS also announced that its Free File program, which is now in its 22nd season, has seen a nearly 10 percent increase in usage so far this tax season.

“Through Feb. 24, 943,000 taxpayers had filed tax returns this tax season through IRS Free File, a 9.7 percent increase from last year’s comparable period when 860,000 tax returns were filed,” the agency stated in its announcement. “The Free File increase occurs as the IRS continues to see a strong start to the 2024 filing season. For the week ending Feb. 23, the IRS had delivered more than 28.9 million refunds to taxpayers worth $92.9 billion. The average refund this year is $3,213, up by 4.3 percent from 2023.

Companies that are participating in IRS Free File, which is limited to taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $79,000, are: 1040Now, Drake (,,, On-Line Taxes, TaxAct, TaxHawk (FreeTaxUSA) and TaxSlayer. For 2024, is also offering an IRS Free File product in Spanish.

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