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IRS Direct File is moving ahead, slowly

Update, Monday, March 4, 2024: Attention my fellow Texans and taxpayers in 11 other Direct File pilot states, I got an email today from the IRS letting me know that the program is now accepting returns from eligible new participants. You can find more on this free, direct to the IRS tax preparation and e-filing option in this post, as well as at the IRS.gov Direct File page.

A recent poll indicates most taxpayers support a direct-to-IRS option

IRS Direct File banner image_A Closer Look-1

Direct File, the Internal Revenue Service's pilot program that will let some taxpayers in 12 states prepare and submit their 2024 tax returns straight to the agency, is off to a slow start.

But that pace is intentional.

As with all tests, it's a good idea to start slowly and with a limited group of participants. That helps detect issues on a more manageable scale.

When the Direct File pilot began, it started with internal testing of nearly 1,200 taxpayers in the participating non-income tax states. They are residents of Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

New Hampshire also is in this group since it doesn't collect state tax on wages, and is phasing out its tax on investment earnings.

The remaining pilot participants are in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New York.

In mid-February, the pilot expanded to qualifying taxpayers in Arizona, New York, and Massachusetts.

And during the next few weeks, Direct File will expand to new taxpayers in pilot states for short availability windows, noted the IRS at its Direct File news page.

"When we've determined that Direct File is operating as expected, we will reopen for new users. We can't give a specific date or time for these availability windows, as they might change with short notice," according to the IRS.

Direct File support: While the IRS is employing a type of governmental vague posting as far as Direct File details, a recent survey was more specific.

The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (GQR) poll indicates that the idea of filing directly with Uncle Sam's tax collector is popular, at least in five states, including four that are part of the Direct File pilot.

GQR found that 9 in 10 adults in Arizona, Georgia, Florida, New York, and Texas backed the idea of an IRS-offered free tax filing alternative. The Peach State is the only one not participating in testing Direct File.

Below is the tweet from the progressive Groundwork Action, which commissioned the survey by the prominent Democratic pollster, about how my fellow Lone Star Staters feel about Direct File.



Florida taxpayers were the most supportive, with 95 percent telling GPR they were for an IRS-run filing option. New Yorkers joined Texans with 94 percent support. Georgia and Arizona taxpayers expressed 92 percent support for direct-to-IRS filing.

Will the reality of Direct File be as positive? We'll soon find out, or learn as much as the IRS releases, as the pilot continues its phased rollout. The option is expected to be more widely available in mid-March.

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