Free e-filing for all?
More e-filing fees evaporate

First free filing shoe indeed drops

It's official. More of us will be e-filing for free next year.

This afternoon, shortly after I blogged about such a possibility in this post, Intuit formally announced that it has eliminated the separate federal e-file charge in its TurboTax desktop products.

Just to make it clear, I'm not saying my blog posting was the catalyst for Intuit's announcement today. As I mentioned, it was well in the works. And I had meant to blog about it days ago, but I just got around to it this afternoon. My procrastinating, however, worked out well this time, don't you think?!

"Eliminating separate fees for filing individual federal tax returns is the right thing for American taxpayers," said Kiran Patel, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit's Consumer Tax Division, in the company statement of the no-fee move. "This will encourage more e-filed returns and help the IRS achieve its e-file goals."

The corporate decision also cheered Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who's been a long-time foe of e-file fees. "It is my hope that by next tax season all of the major tax software and tax preparation companies will follow suit and that e-filing will be free for all taxpayers, regardless of how they file their returns," Schumer said.

Just the beginning? Intuit's decision is going to make a lot of taxpayers very happy.

And Schumer's hope is shared by all those filers who use other tax prep packages.

Sure, some of TurboTax's competitors have already made free e-filing a big part of their product, most notably 2nd Story's TaxACT, which also offers some of its software for free, too.

But TurboTax is the industry leader, with H&R Block's TaxCut on its heels. Will TaxCut now offer its home users the same e-filing break?

My guess is yes. And, as the free market saying goes, we taxpaying consumers win!

Picking a tax prep package: If you've never used tax software before, do some homework before you buy one. Here are some tips on what to look for in the various offerings.


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While you refer to "e-filing", TurboTax refers to "Federal return E-filing". Does this mean TurboTax is going to double my price for the state return portion of the e-filing?


Excellent points! Totally agree. I think it will get there, but as you know, the federal bureaucracy is a big, slow battleship to turn.


Thanks,Denise. Good to know. Sorry I missed the announcement. I'm blogging it now.

Denise Sposato

I am Director of Communications and Communities at H&R Block and I pleased to confirm your "guess" about TaxCut offering federal e-filing at no additional cost in its software for upcoming Tax Season is absolutely true.

We actually were first to lead and announce our plans yesterday to offer e-fing at no additional cost. Now we're pleased to say, no matter what tax solution you chose at H&R Block, our customers benefit from 100% federal e-filing at no addional cost to them whether using one of our 13,000 retail offices, or using one of our online tax programs which already included free e-filing at every level of entry , our FFA program (which also includes free federal tax prep for those that qualify) and now all our desktop software. And yes, we also already eliminated all e-file fees last year in our TaxWorks professional tax preparation software.

So this is great news for today's taxpayers.

Robert D Flach


No tax preparation software is a substitute for knowledge of the Tax Code.

And no tax preparation software is a substitute for the services of a trained tax professional!

As with any software program the rule is "garbage in - garbage out".

And when the IRS comes after you for errors on your tax return you can’t blame it on the software - the US Tax Court has on two separate occasions rejected the "Turbo-Tax Defense”.

To encourage electronic filing the IRS should allow all taxpayers, and their preparers, the ability to file online at the IRS website for free, without the use of any outside software and without having to go through a "3rd Party" like the current "Free File" program - similar to what New Jersey does with NJWebFile.


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