(NEW YORK) — As the 2024 tax season kicked off across the nation Monday, the Internal Revenue Service is offering some new services it says will help make filing easier for taxpayers.
The IRS is now offering Free File and Direct File for qualifying taxpayers and expanded in-person services through its Taxpayer Assistance Centers.
The new programs come after an infusion of supplemental funding provided to the IRS through the Inflation Reduction Act.
“As our transformation efforts take hold, taxpayers will continue to see marked improvement in IRS operations in the upcoming filing season,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. “IRS employees are working hard to make sure that new funding is used to help taxpayers by making the process of preparing and filing taxes easier.”
Free File offers taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $79,000 or less access to IRS-partnered tax softwares enabling them to file for free. All taxpayers are eligible to use Free File Fillable Forms, though this option does not come with as much guidance.
The Direct File option is a pilot program offering free federal tax return filing with step-by-step guidance. The 2024 season will see a phased roll out plan, so it won’t be available to all taxpayers immediately.
Only a small number of taxpayers will be able to access the program at the start of filing season, but it is expected to be more widely available by mid-March in 12 participating states: Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington state and Wyoming.
The IRA funding has also allowed the IRS to expand its in-person services. Fifty Taxpayer Assistance Centers have been opened or reopened using the funds and will be operating with expanded hours for the 2024 filing season.
For a quick and easy return, the IRS says electronic filing with direct deposit is still the best option for taxpayers, but regardless of how people file, it’s important to hold off until they’ve received all of their income-related documents.
The IRS anticipates almost 129 million individual tax returns to be filed this season.
Taxpayers living in Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17 this year to file, but most returns must be filed by the April 15, 2024, tax deadline.
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