WASHINGTON, April 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Some 28% more Americans than last year have taken advantage of a program offered by a public-private partnership that prepares and electronically files tax returns at no cost.
Between Jan. 27, the date the Internal Revenue Service began accepting and processingindividual returns for Tax Year 2019, and April 10, a total of 2.9 million returns were filed under the IRS Free File Program. That compares with 2.3 million such returns filed during the same period a year ago. The IRS reported the new figures in a press release yesterday headlined, "Free File Use Soars."
"This record increase is an encouraging sign," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement.1 "We will work to continue improving this program."
IRS Free File is an 18-year-old partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a group of commercial preparers.2 Alliance members electronically file tax returns at no cost to Americans with incomes in 2019 of $69,000 or less.3
Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance, commented on the new IRS statistics: "This tremendous increase is another validation of the excellent partnership between our members and the IRS. We are working every day to help both the IRS and the millions of Americans who use our services."
Hugo added, "While the IRS does no advertising, the program in the past year has received increased publicity in the media, and that has led to greater awareness and more participation. We are gratified by the response."
Since inception, nearly 57 million returns have been filed under the program.
A 412-page "Independent Assessment of the Free File Program," produced for the IRS last October by the MITRE Corporation, found that the program had resulted in "an estimated $1.6 billion in savings to taxpayers."4
Because of the partnership, said the MITRE report, "The IRS has fulfilled its directive from Treasury and OMB to increase free tax preparation services…with little economic burden to the agency by passing on the hefty cost of program development and implementation to the private sector."
The report added that the File File partnership offers "great consumer choice" and enhances competition within the tax-preparation industry."
In an IRS press release, Commissioner Rettig said, "With the tax deadline extended to July 15, we remind eligible taxpayers who haven't filed to look into the Free File options. Free File online products offer free federal tax return preparation, free electronic filing and free direct deposit of refunds to help get your money faster."
The IRS release also noted that the "Free File Alliance also helped provide people who don't normally file a tax return, and don't plan to for 2019, an easy way to register for Economic Impact Payment."
About Free File Alliance: The Free File Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of industry-leading tax software companies partnered with the IRS to provide free electronic tax services. The Alliance operates "Free File" – a service dedicated to helping 70 percent of American taxpayers prepare and e-file their federal tax returns. It's all online at IRS.gov, and it's all free. Free File Alliance members are: 1040NOW Corp., ezTaxReturn.com, FileYourTaxes, Free Tax Returns, H&R Block, Intuit, OnLine Taxes, TaxACT, TaxHawk, and TaxSlayer.