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Heeding Lawmakers’ Call, IRS Announces Direct File Pilot Program

United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Representatives Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), and Don Beyer (D-Va.) released the following statement on the announcement by the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of its 2024 pilot of Direct File, a program that will allow Americans to file tax returns digitally and free of charge.

“The IRS’s Direct File pilot program is an important first step towards creating a free, easy way for millions of Americans to file their taxes online. Giant tax prep companies have fought Direct File every step of the way, making tax filing more complicated and expensive than it should be and making it harder for families to get the tax credits they deserve. But thanks to the important investments made by the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden Administration has stood up a pilot program in record time. We look forward to supporting the IRS’s efforts to develop and expand the Direct File pilot, setting us on a path where millions of Americans will no longer have to worry about giant tax prep companies sharing their private data with Big Tech firms and ripping them off for services that should be free.”

Senator Warren has fought for years for a free E-File program to make tax filing simpler and more affordable for millions of Americans: 

  • In July 2023, Senators Warren, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), alongside Representative Katie Porter (D-Calif.), released a report revealing the outrageous, extensive, and potentially illegal sharing of taxpayers’ sensitive personal and financial information with Meta by online tax preparation companies. The lawmakers also sent a letter to the IRS, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice highlighting their key findings and calling on these departments to fully investigate this matter and prosecute any company or individuals who violated the law.
  • In June 2023, Senators Warren and Tom Carper (D-Del.), alongside Representatives Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.), led a coalition of 99 Democratic lawmakers in a letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel and Deputy Treasury Secretary Adewale Adeyemo, applauding the IRS’s announcement of a pilot of a free tax filing tool next year.
  • In April 2023, Senators Warren and Tom Carper (D-Del.) led 29 other senators in a letter to the IRS Commissioner, urging the agency to simplify the tax process and broaden access to free e-filing options.
  • In April 2023, at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Warren questioned the IRS Commissioner about the agency’s failed Free-File partnership with private tax preparation software companies and called on the agency to implement a direct E-File program. 
  • In December 2022, Senators Warren and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Representatives Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) sent letters to tax preparation companies H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer, plus big tech firms Meta, and Google, amid reports that the tax preparation companies have been secretly transmitting individual taxpayers’ sensitive financial information to Meta and Google
  • In August 2022, Senator Warren highlighted key priorities she secured in the Senate’s Inflation Reduction Act, including establishing an IRS task force to look into developing and running an IRS-run free direct E-File tax return system, based on Senator Warren’s Tax Filing Simplification Act. 
  • In July 2022, Senator Warren led 22 lawmakers to introduce the Tax Filing Simplification Act of 2022, legislation that would direct the IRS to develop its own free online tax preparation and filing service that would simplify the tax filing process for millions of Americans 
  • In June 2022, at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen agreed with Senator Warren on the need to create a free tax filing system that actually works for Americans.