Sens. Carper, Ossoff advocate GAO improved tax filing recommendations

U.S. Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) are encouraging the Internal Revenue (IRS) to adopt Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendations regarding efforts to improve the tax filing process.

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Carper and Ossoff advocate that the IRS integrate the GAO’s recommendations for the Free File program, which offers free online tax preparation and filing services to taxpayers. While 70 percent of Americans are eligible for the initiative, 3 percent use the Free File services.

In August 2020, Carper requested the GAO conduct a Free File program review and provide recommendations to make the program more usable and accessible.

“The IRS Free File program should be easy, accessible, and affordable for eligible Americans,” Carper said. “Yet, right now, the program is not known by many taxpayers who would greatly benefit from the services it provides. 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.”

The GAO recommendations note the Commissioner of IRS should seek agreement with Free File, Inc. (FFI) on incorporating recommended taxpayer experience improvements and relevant practices from guidelines for federal digital services; seek agreement with FFI on eliminating the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) provision requiring the IRS to notify FFI if it commits funding to offer services for free to taxpayers; and before the expiration of the current Free File MOU in October 2023, work with relevant stakeholders to identify and develop additional options for free online filing of tax returns reflecting current guidelines for federal digital services.