IRS to Let Some File Taxes for Free in New Pilot Program. Here’s Who’s Eligible in 13 States.

  • The IRS is rolling out its pilot of a free direct tax filing program.
  • Taxpayers across 13 states might be eligible to try out the new program.
  • It’s part of the IRS’s continued efforts to make tax filing simpler and more cost-effective.

The IRS is rolling out its own free direct tax filing pilot program — and some taxpayers will be able to use it as soon as the 2024 tax filing season.

The IRS’s ambitious plans for using the billions it got from the Inflation Reduction Act funding include developing a free, direct filing tool for taxpayers. The Act set aside $15 million for the Treasury Department to look into the viability of such a site, which would rival paid services like TurboTax and H&R Block. Now, a pilot program is about to become a reality for some across 13 states.

“This is a critical step forward for this innovative effort that will test the feasibility of providing taxpayers a new option to file their returns for free directly with the IRS,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a press release.

These are the states where eligible taxpayers could be able to use the pilot program in 2024:

  • Arizona

  • California

  • Massachusetts

  • New York

  • Alaska

  • Florida

  • New Hampshire

  • Nevada

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Washington

  • Wyoming

Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New York, all of which have their own state income taxes, are working with the IRS to incorporate their state taxes into that program. Similarly, Washington is incorporating its Working Families Tax Credit program into the pilot.

Who will be able to direct file for free?

Even in those states, eligible taxpayers will likely need to have fairly straightforward filing situations. Exact eligibility has not been determined yet, but the IRS anticipates that filers who report W-2 wages, or claim credits like the Child Tax Credit, will likely be eligible.

For instance, people reporting W-2 income, Social Security or unemployment benefits, or interest of $1,500 or under will likely be eligible.

Similarly, those claiming credits like the CTC and Earned Income Tax Credit should also likely be covered — and those with a standard deduction, alongside student loan interest and educator expenses, should also likely be able to participate.

How will it work?

The IRS said that the online program will be an interview-based program available in Spanish and English, and mobile friendly — key aspects for lower-income filers, who have historically found themselves shut out of potential credits due to not having access to desktop computers.

The Treasury has not yet provided a web address to access the program, but provided these screenshots to show how it will look:

direct filing pilot program screenshot

Courtesy of the Treasury Department

direct file pilot program screenshot showing checklist

Courtesy of the Treasury Department

direct file program screenshot showing living expenses

Courtesy of the Treasury Department

Of course, the program is only a limited pilot. IRS Commissioner Werfel said in a press release that the IRS will work closely with the pilot states to “help us gather important information about the future direction of the Direct File program.” But it does bring the US closer to the Treasury Department’s goal of making filing faster, easier, and inexpensive.

“Tax filing should be simple: I recently came across a statistic it takes an average American 13 hours to file a tax return,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said during a 2022 visit to an IRS facility in Maryland. “Compare that with Sweden. Some taxpayers can file simply by replying to a text message. We can and must do better.”

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart