May 03 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C . — U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), applauded the recommendations from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to improve the Free File program provided by the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS).
“The IRS Free File program should be easy, accessible, and affordable for eligible Americans. Yet right now, the program is not known by many taxpayers who would greatly benefit from the services it provides,” said Carper. “The IRS should adopt the recommendations in this report by GAO, so that Delawareans and Americans alike can file their taxes easily and without unnecessary fees – which will also result in stronger tax compliance across the country. In light of the challenges that taxpayers faced during the recent filing season, I look forward to continue overseeing this critical issue.”
In June 2020, Senators Carper and Portman (R-Ohio), the former Ranking Member and Chairman of PSI respectively, unveiled a bipartisan report that revealed the majority of Americans eligible for the Free File program do not know it exists or are not taking advantage of it. In response, Senator Carper asked GAO in August of 2020 to conduct a review of the IRS Free File program to provide recommendations to make it more useable, affordable, and accessible for the American people.
The Free File program provides free online tax preparation and filing services to U.S. taxpayers. And while 70 percent of Americans are eligible for the program, only 3 percent use the Free File services. Currently, a group of tax preparation companies have an agreement with the IRS to provide these services, but this agreement is set to expire in 2023. GAO has provided the IRS with three recommendations to improve this program, including adding relevant federal guidelines into the next agreement with the Free File companies, and provide additional options for Free File prior to the expiration the current agreement.
The full report findings from GAO can be found here.