IRS, Intuit offer free e-tax filing to low-income families

The Internal Revenue Service and Intuit Inc. today launched a free tax service for low-income families to make technology more accessible and to help the IRS reach its goal of having 80 percent of taxpayers filing electronically by 2007.

Intuit is offering the Quicken Tax Freedom Project through its Web Turbo Tax product, a World Wide Web-based personal tax preparation solution that enables taxpayers to securely and quickly prepare and electronically file their tax returns via the Internet.

The project is a public service initiative that provides online tax preparation and electronic filing for lower-income families and individuals at no charge. The service, which supports federal and state income taxes, is available to taxpayers who earn $20,000 annually or less, said Bob Barr, assistant commissioner at the electronic tax administration at the IRS.

Barr said more than 55 million taxpayers are eligible to participate in the project.

"The Quicken Tax Freedom Project is one program that will help bridge this country's technology gap by making electronic tax preparation affordable and accessible to those who otherwise may not have access to a computer or the appropriate software,'' said Bill Harris, president and chief executive officer of Intuit. "We think it is important for everyone in the country to be able to enjoy the great benefits of the new digital revolution.''

Intuit is encouraging libraries, schools, senior centers and other public facilities to load the free software on their Internet-enabled computers.

For years, the IRS has campaigned to encourage taxpayers to file electronically. The agency hopes that in the new millennium, four out of five taxpayers will file taxes electronically. Last year, 20 percent of all taxpayers, or one out of five, filed electronically, according to IRS statistics.

Taxpayers can electronically file their taxes using one of three methods: using IRS e-file with a tax preparer, submitting simple tax information over the phone with the IRS' Telefile program or transmitting tax information via modem from a home PC.

"This project was initiated solely by Intuit,'' Barr said. "We're on the sideline cheering them on.''

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