Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) announced this week that he has cosponsored the Free File Program Act of 2011. The legislation will ease the filing process for taxpayers by making permanent the IRS Free File Program.
"As we work to reduce government spending, we need to start with efforts like these that take advantage of technology to make the government work more efficiently," Himes said. "The IRS's Free File program makes it that much easier for taxpayers to file their returns hassle-free, with the added bonus of saving our government a significant amount of money."
The Free File Program provides eligible taxpayers with free online individual income tax preparation and electronic filing services. Under the current program, 70 percent of taxpayers are eligible for the free preparation services, including lower income and underserved populations. The Free File Program has saved taxpayers roughly $1 billion and the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars since 2003.
The Free File legislation would also continue to provide the free IRS e-fillable form and free e-filing to all taxpayers. Although the IRS Free File program is almost a decade old, popular, and an important element of the IRS's electronic filing initiative, it could be terminated by the IRS without review and approval by Congress in favor of other electronic filing programs, including programs in which the IRS would control tax preparation and electronic filing services.
Nearly 30 Million Americans Will Have Filed Taxes for Free Under The IRS Free File Program. Since the inception of Free File, 27 million taxpayers have taken advantage of this free program, accessible only on IRS.gov. (E-File, Free File and Other Electronic Options for 2010, IRS, 01/08/2010)
The Free File Program Has Saved Taxpayers Roughly $1 billion and the Federal Government Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Since 2003. (Written Testimony of Douglas Shulman, IRS Commissioner, Ways & Means Committee, 03/31/2011)