With Millions of U.S. Families Annually Receiving Free Tax-Filing Services, Private Tax Prep Companies Sign Improved Agreement With the IRS

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Free File Inc. (FFI), a coalition of private-sector companies that provide tax preparation and filing services, at no cost to millions of Americans and at no cost to the federal government each year, has entered into an Addendum to its current agreement with the Internal Revenue Service to update the Free File Program.

The IRS press release can be found here[1].

Tim Hugo, Executive Director of FFI, stated about the Addenum to the MOU, “Constant improvement has been a hallmark of the Free File Program for nearly two decades and we will continue to work with the IRS to improve the Program for the American taxpayers.”

Overall, more than 56 million US taxpayers have benefited from the free service, at a savings to taxpayers of $1.6 billion, since the inception of the Program.

Changes include:

  1. Requiring the FFI members to provide a link to the IRS.gov landing page to return them as early as possible when they are found to be ineligible for an offer. 
  2. Prohibiting FFI members from engaging in practices that would cause a member’s Free File page to be excluded from an organic internet search.
  3. Deploying a statistically valid methodology to randomly select and uniformly survey taxpayers who successfully e-filed a tax return through the Free File program. Said Hugo, “Nearly three million Americans use IRS Free File each year. We want the best data so we can continue to improve the Program.”

A report earlier this year by the MITRE Corp., an independent research firm, found that the “benefits of engaging in the current public-private partnership” were “substantial” for the IRS. If not for the partnership, said the report, the IRS would “sustain prohibitive costs in funding such a program itself” and would be forced to compete with “a highly competitive private sector.”

Contact Elizabeth Heaton, [email protected][2] (202-445-9858)
or James K. Glassman, [email protected][3] (202-344-5777)

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