Tax Payer Options Improved-

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service today announced an agreement with the Free File Alliance, which will strengthen and expand taxpayer options for those who choose to use the free online software program during the 2019 filing season.

The agreement updates several areas designed to make the free file program more taxpayer-friendly while strengthening consumer safety in many areas.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Retig said, "The free file program is a great example of a public-private partnership and a clear success since its creation 16 years ago." "But more needs to be done to improve this important program, and these new changes will strengthen the free file and give taxpayers another reason to consider this valuable software option."

Since the program's inception 16 years ago, taxpayers have filed more than 53 million free federal tax returns. The IRS estimates this means saving more than $ 1.6 billion for taxpayers, using a conservative $ 30 per return preparation fee.

The program also offers a free file fill form, a fillable version of Form 1040 that is best suited for taxpayers experienced in preparing returns by hand and who need limited assistance. The Fillable Forms program, which is available to anyone regardless of income, will be available for those completing their tax year 2018 returns in the 2019 tax season.

The salient features of the new agreement reached on the free file program include many features designed to make the program more taxpayer by fine-tuning this guideline. Free file partners should follow when presenting information related to taxpayers on their website and information related to prior and future communications. Users. Key features include:

Removing the "value-add" button from free file partner landing pages. Free file members will remove any buttons or links on their free file landing pages that will lead taxpayers to non-free file programs. The change is designed to reduce confusion, emphasize and clarify to taxpayers what the free file program includes.

If they are not eligible for an offer, taxpayers will automatically return to the IRS free file page. To use the free file, taxpayers must use to join the company offering the free file. If the taxpayer does not qualify for the free filing option on a particular member site, the new agreement requires companies to send it directly back to the taxpayer for IRS.GO to see if they Others are eligible for free file offers.

Returning taxpayers' first option should be free file. If the taxpayer returns to a free file member's website the following year after using the free program, the first option would be to use the free file option after logging into their account, before receiving any other offers from the company.

Follow-up emails for taxpayers who used free file last year would welcome them back to the free file service. This change will strengthen the rules for sending emails to prior year taxpayers / customers, reminding them of the availability of free file. To help increase program participation, Free File members will email prior year participants about the continued availability of the free file prior to the start of the filing season. The email may not contain information about any non-free file service or product or any marketing or soliciting, except to provide free or paid state tax proposals.

Emphasis on the in-place review process. Both the IRS and the third party review each free file option prior to filing season to ensure that the program's standards are adhered to by free file members. The new agreement now reaffirms this long-term requirement, which always includes an unannounced review during the filing season.

"These steps will help save taxpayers and make a good program even better," Retig said. "The IRS is committed to improving the free file program and is a great option for taxpayers to consider when they are preparing their tax."