Online Tool, Direct File, to Offer Real-Time Support and Step-by-Step Guidance
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is set to introduce its innovative free tax filing system, Direct File, in 2024, as reported by KTLA. The pilot program will debut during the upcoming tax season and will be available to taxpayers in several states, including California.
Direct File, an online tool, promises users step-by-step guidance and real-time support. However, eligibility for the initial phase will not be universal. In a phased rollout, the IRS will initially extend access to Direct File for government employees in 11 states. The first wave of the pilot program will consider eligibility based on the complexity of the federal tax return; those with itemized deductions, additional gig or business income, and certain tax credits may not qualify.
Depending on the success of the initial phase, the IRS aims to expand access to private sector employees in the 12 participating states by March, according to a spokesperson for Nexstar.
Developed in-house by a team of tax experts, product managers, software engineers, designers, and data scientists, the free filing service Direct File sets itself apart from the Free File tool by lacking an income ceiling.
The IRS emphasizes that Direct File is an additional option designed to simplify the tax filing process. Importantly, its introduction does not mandate its use, and it does not replace existing filing options.
For many taxpayers frustrated with the fees charged by tax filing services, Direct File could offer a welcome alternative. This development comes on the heels of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruling against TurboTax, a popular tax software company, for misleading customers with its “Free Edition” product. The FTC found that most taxpayers did not meet the return qualifications, rendering them ineligible for TurboTax’s free filing service.