This weekend millions of Americans will scramble to file their taxes before Monday's deadline. And many of them will pay a private company for something they ought to be able to get for free.
The IRS has the ability to allow everyone to file their taxes free of charge, easily and online. But they don't do it because years ago, they cut a deal with the big tax prep companies -- like Intuit and H&R Block -- to allow free filing for a few people but prevent it for all others.
Now the tax prep companies are pushing legislation in Congress with a provision that would make this deal permanent.1 It could prevent the IRS from ever allowing every taxpayer to file for free. And it's pending in the Senate right now. Can you help stop it?
Sign the petition and tell Senators: Let the IRS offer free tax filing to everyone!
Advocates learned about this provision in the Taxpayer First Act just before it was passed by the House. We didn't have time to stop it. But we can stop in the U.S. Senate.
Some Senators, like Elizabeth Warren, have long called for the IRS to make filing your taxes free — or go even further.
In many countries, like Sweden, their government sends them a pre-filled tax return that a taxpayer can either accept as-is, or change anything that's incorrect and send it back for free.2
This provision in the bill would make all of that impossible. Some Senators, like Ron Wyden, claim the provision isn't that bad and that the IRS could still expand free filing. But there's no reason to write this into law and give Intuit and H&R Block a chance to stop free filing in court.3
Just this week Wall Street analysts predicted a huge boost to Intuit's profits when millions of American pay through the nose for TurboTax as they scramble to get their taxes filed on time.4 It doesn't have to be this way.
Sign the petition: Let the IRS offer free tax filing to everyone!
1. Pro Publica, "Congress Is About to Ban the Government From Offering Free Online Tax Filing. Thank TurboTax.", April 9, 2019.
2. The Atlantic, "The 10-Second Tax Return," March 30, 2016.
3. Senator Ron Wyden on Twitter, April 10, 2019.
4. Investor's Business Daily, "TurboTax Maker Intuit Gets Big Price-Target Hike Ahead Of Tax Filing Day", April 11, 2019.