IRS expands electronic tax-filing program

Taxpayers with incomes that exceed $56,000 get access to a version of the IRS’ Free File program

An expanded version of the Internal Revenue Service’s electronic tax filing program, and its associated Free File program, will be available to taxpayers on the agency’s Web site beginning Jan. 16, IRS officials said in an announcement.

For the first time, taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes exceeding $56,000 will have access to a version of the agency’s Free File program, according to an IRS announcement made Jan 14.

Free File is a free federal tax preparation and electronic filing program for eligible taxpayers developed by the IRS and tax software companies. Taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $56,000 or less in 2008 may choose from 20 free software options to e-file federal tax returns for free.

For taxpayers with incomes that exceed $56,000, the new Free File Fillable Tax Forms will let them fill out and file tax forms electronically. The process is similar to manually filling out paper forms, according to IRS officials.

The new forms option does not have the interview interface used in many tax software products, the IRS said, adding that it does allow taxpayers to enter tax data, perform basic math calculations, sign electronically and their returns electronically.

“This self-service option may be right for those who are comfortable with the tax law, know what forms they want to use or don’t need assistance to complete their returns,” the IRS said.

In 2008 nearly 90 million tax returns were filed with e-file, according to the IRS.


About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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