H. R. 495
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 5, 2013
Mr. Roskam (for himself and Mr. Kind) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means
To make the Internal Revenue Service Free File Program permanent.
This Act may be cited as the
Free File Program Act of
The Congress finds the following:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Free File program as established by the IRS pursuant to public rulemaking and set forth in the Federal Register, Vol. 67, No. 213, Monday, November 4, 2002, pages 67247–67251, and in implementing agreements and governing rules and requirements between the IRS and the tax software and electronic industry in 2002, 2005, and 2009, has been successful and significant in the efforts of the Federal Government to increase the electronic filing of individual income tax returns.
By the end of the current tax return filing season around 40,000,000 Federal individual income tax returns will have been prepared and filed electronically for free under the IRS Free File program.
The IRS Free File program offers Federal individual income tax return preparation and electronic filing services to more than 70 percent of taxpayers, approximately 98,000,000 taxpayers at the end of the current tax filing period, at no cost to the taxpayers or to the Federal Government from tax software and electronic filing companies participating in the program, currently 16 companies.
By the end of the current tax return filing season, it is estimated that the IRS Free File program will have saved taxpayers approximately $1,110,000,000 and will have saved the Federal Government hundreds of millions of dollars.
Under the IRS Free File program, the IRS and the companies participating in the program have made substantial improvements to the program to provide better products and services to eligible taxpayers.
The IRS Free File program must be maintained in order to reach and maintain Congress’ goal as set forth in the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 of having 80 percent of all Federal individual income tax returns filed electronically.
The IRS and the participating tax preparation companies have integrated the IRS Free File program with State tax systems to enable taxpayers to also file their State tax returns in conjunction with their IRS Free File filings.
Twenty-two States and the District of Columbia now operate a Free File program patterned after the IRS Free File program again at no cost to the State taxpayers or the State governments.
At the end of the current tax return filing season, it is estimated that the Free File States will have saved hundreds of millions of dollars collectively.
Internal Revenue Service Free File Program
The Secretary of the Treasury, or his delegate, is authorized and directed to continue to implement and operate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Free File program as established by the IRS in the public rulemaking of November 4, 2002, and subsequent agreements and governing rules established pursuant thereto in 2002, 2005, and 2009.
The IRS Free File program shall continue to provide free online individual income tax preparation and electronic filing services to lower income, working poor, underprivileged, disadvantaged, or underserved populations that comprise 70 percent of the lowest income taxpayers.
The Internal Revenue Service shall continue to work cooperatively with the private sector technology industry through the Free File Alliance in providing free individual income tax preparation and electronic filing services and shall not compete with the private sector in providing these services to taxpayers, nor acquire, develop, or deploy enabling systems to duplicate or replace private tax preparation services.
The Secretary of the Treasury, or his delegate, may not establish, develop, sponsor, acquire, or make available individual income tax preparation software or electronic filing services that are offered under the IRS Free File program, except through the IRS Free File program, the Internal Revenue Service’s Taxpayer Assistance Centers, Tax Counseling for the Elderly, and volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) programs.