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Treasury Department: More Taxpayers Using Free Direct File Pilot

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Apr 8, 2024


The IRS’s free Direct File pilot program has experienced increasing use in the dozen states where it is currently available, Accounting Today reported.

"In the three weeks since IRS Direct File launched, we've seen steadily increasing interest from taxpayers in using this new free tool," said a Treasury official in an email to Accounting Today late last week. "In each week since Direct File launched, we've seen growth over the previous week. Sunday, March 31 was our best day ever for Direct File usage, until Monday, April 1, which far surpassed it—setting new records for visitors to Direct File, new users, and returns accepted. As more people hear about Direct File, more people are eager to use it to file their taxes."

Taxpayers using Direct File have claimed more than $30 million in refunds and saved millions in estimated filing fees, Treasury said. California, Texas, Florida and New York have the highest number of accepted returns to date.

The Treasury and the IRS have also been surveying users of Direct File a little over two weeks ago, and so far the response from taxpayers has been tremendously strong, according to the Treasury. "When given the opportunity, taxpayers want to tell the IRS about their experience with Direct File," said the Treasury official. 

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo and chief implementation officer for the Inflation Reduction Act Laurel Blatchford held a virtual roundtable last week with six taxpayers from California, New York, Texas, and Washington who have filed their taxes using Direct File, the Treasury Department said.

The taxpayers relayed that Direct File was straightforward to use, and they valued features that allowed them to learn more about different tax situations, credits, and deductions. They also said that filing directly with the IRS gave them confidence, they were able to quickly fix mistakes, and they were able to get their taxes filed accurately.   

The tax preparation industry has objected to the program.

"Direct File is not free tax preparation, but rather a thinly veiled scheme where billions of taxpayer dollars will be unnecessarily used to pay for something already completely free of charge today," TurboTax maker Intuit spokesperson Tania Mercado wrote in an email to Accounting Today last month. "Today 100 percent of Americans—regardless of their income level or tax complexity—can file their federal and state taxes completely free of charge. Whether people are simple filers like those eligible for IRS Direct File, or complex filers with gig work and investments that IRS Direct File excludes, there is a filing option available today so every American can easily and accurately file their taxes with confidence."

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