Taxpayers will file 2002 federal returns online free

Taxpayers will file 2002 federal returns online for free

The Office of Management and Budget yesterday said it came to an agreement with tax software vendors to let citizens file their tax returns online at no cost. OMB said it will publish a Federal Register notice detailing the terms of the agreement and open a 30-day comment period.

After the comment period, OMB will review suggestions and put a new free tax filing consortium Web page online by Dec. 31 so taxpayers can file 2002 returns electronically.

The Web site is one of the milestones for the EZ Tax Filing e-government project—one of the 24 Quicksilver initiatives OMB is leading.

OMB officials said they expect 78 million taxpayers to file online next year. Previously, companies charged individuals an average of $12.50 to file their taxes online. Under this agreement, the consortium will offer free online tax preparation and filing, and the IRS will not compete with the group by offering free services. The IRS also will provide links to the companies in the consortium.

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