IRS Will Pilot Free, Direct Tax Filing In 2024

On a related note, the IRS mailed out a survey (a link to survey on their site) about tax filing software and related expenses a few months ago. If you got one, hopefully you ripped them a new one. I’m glad they’re continuing on this path. Now if only they’d get rid of id_dot_me for authentication, I’d be happy as a clam.


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What are your problems with commercial tax preparation software? Every year I buy H&R Block tax software for my family for about $25. That includes preparation of the federal and one state and five free federal E files. After experiencing the design of the treasury direct and IRS websites, I would not trust tax prep software designed by the government.

The state efile fee is a rip off and maybe the government could do something about that.

Here’s a long thread about this on the Bogleheads. One of the points raised is that the government could provide you with the W2 and 1099 information they have. I would still want to enter my own, but I could compare it to the government numbers.

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I get the feeling far too many people (including some here) want the IRS to pre-populate their 1040 with info from 1099s and W2s because they only want to claim the income the IRS knows about.

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Yes, I can see how that might help a little but I’m sure the IRS will CYA that you have to include all income when you sign it.


While TD is clearly outdated and based on paper methods of the 1950s, the IRS website is great. And they know that anything new they create must be at least as good as what people are used to, otherwise it will fail.

My problem is the principle. Since the government requires us to file a return and they already collect most of the information for W-2 employees, the process should be easy, fast, and free. It takes me a few hours to complete mine, but that’s mostly because I don’t trust them and I have my own spreadsheet and I make sure they match. I have had a few issues over the years where either the software screwed up or I simply missed an interview page and spent way too long looking for the solution. In one case there was no interview question and I had to override the form.

I also agree about the efile fee. They should make it free OR send us pre-paid envelopes.


+1 I agree but I don’t do the xls. One year HRBlock put in all our W2s into my name and gave me a SS excess credit. When I repaid it IRS double-credited it and refunded it to me anyway!

Wish we could do an IRS tax bill (like property tax) then we would add deductions/credits or we should be able to import the wage statement from Right now it blocks out names/addresses

Never gonna happen.

If the working class had to pay their income and SS/Medicare taxes like they do property taxes, there would be a revolt akin to Robespierre … la guillotine, la guillotine … ha! ha!


You like needing to send a selfie of yourself to gain access?

Except that taxable income goes way beyond W2s. There’s already far too many problems with the “if it aint reported, it aint taxed” attitude, the last thing they should do is effectively endorse it by pre-filling out returns for people with the info that’s been reported. At least now, people need to pause and consider the consequence of not reporting something they know is taxable but dont think was reported, if you know what was reported then you know what can be ignored without creating issues.

I’m not positive, but I think in general prepaid envelopes dont get postmarked.


I do not, but that’s not what I’m talking about – I used the website before this id_dot_me became required and it was just fine.

Another + here is the pilot program will include state tax filing as well.


Print and mail for a couple bucks?

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I’ll bet the tax industry, led by quicken is lining up dump trucks full of money, steak dinners, and hookers to try to stop this.

Although I imagine relatively complicated returns with schedules C,D,E and a bunch of K-1 are always going to need some sort of software to keep it straight. For various lame reasons, I had to do so purely on paper last year, and it was a complete shit show.


I bet they are. They fought tooth and nail the last time around and won. They splashed enough money around to “convince” the IRS to let them offer that turd of a system that is free file. Well played, out of the 70% of taxpayers eligible for it, as expected only 2% end up filing for free each year. Given that extremely low bar for success, I think it’s worth letting the IRS give a shot to doing this basic free filing themselves. After all it can only get 2% worse than free file.

If the IRS can make something that works for people only with income from W2s and 1099s, there’s little excuse not to have the forms pre-populated. It should be pretty simple and free of errors for this large chunk of the tax base which already has only a 98-99% tax compliance rate. Keep it simple and just leave anything else more complicated than what they can easily pre-populate to the private sector.


Right, we need a two tier system for the simple returns vs let the private sector handle the complex stuff.

I use Amazon credits to buy HRB but still cough up $20 to file state. AZ is one fo the pilot states. I also have Sch. C so I’m OOL

Why cough up $20 when you can print and mail for less than $3?

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Correct descriptions, but incorrect order :smile: The steak dinners come last. No pun intended.

Certified Mail is $4.35 (going up to $4.40 soon), plus > $1 for First Class mail because I have more pages than a single stamp allows. The state return costs even more, since it requires all the federal forms in addition to state forms.


I don’t do certified mail for my state return(s). Just a trip to the, ever so efficient, post office and a picture of the postmark from the, ever so friendly postal worker … before he pulls his un-suppressed UZI.