Tax season can be a daunting time for many Americans. The IRS hopes to ease taxpayer stress with its new free tax filing pilot program, Direct File. This initiative aims to simplify the tax-filing process and make it more accessible for all taxpayers. In this article, we will explore the key features of the program and the states that have agreed to participate.
Overview of the IRS Direct File
Direct File is the IRS’s own free tax preparation and filing program. A pilot version of the program will be available for the 2024 tax season. The goal is to provide eligible taxpayers with free, user-friendly federal tax filing. Eventually, the IRS hopes to offer Direct File nationwide as an alternative to large, private tax preparation companies like TurboTax and H&R Block.
States Participating in Direct File
In 2024, some taxpayers in the following 13 states will be able to file their state taxes using the IRS’s free Direct File pilot program.
- New Hampshire
- New York
- South Dakota
Direct File Features
The Direct File program will be able to handle relatively simple tax returns. The IRS has stated that W-2 wages, Social Security income, railroad retirement income, unemployment income and interest income limited to $1,500 fall within a “simple” tax return. Taxpayers will also be able to claim popular tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the child tax credit, and dependent credits. Simple deductions can also be accommodated, like educator expenses and student loan interest.
IRS Direct File vs. IRS Free File
IRS Direct File will not be replacing IRS Free File, another free tax preparation and filing program the IRS offers. The IRS Free File program is a partnership between the IRS and various private-sector tax software companies. The program is typically available to individuals or families with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $73,000 or less. The main difference between the two programs is that Direct File will not be based on income like Free File is. In addition, while Free File sets you up to file your return with a trusted IRS partner, Direct File will allow you to file your return with the IRS directly.
Tax Help in 2024
The IRS Direct File program represents a significant step toward simplifying the tax-filing process for eligible individuals. By providing access to reputable tax preparation software at no cost, the program aims to reduce the financial burden on taxpayers while ensuring accuracy and security. As tax season approaches, eligible individuals are encouraged to explore this initiative and experience a more seamless and cost-effective way to fulfill their tax obligations. The IRS plans to publicly share the results of the pilot program when they become available. Optima Tax Relief is the nation’s leading tax resolution firm with over a decade of experience helping taxpayers with tough tax situations.
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