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July 15, 2022

King Introduces Legislation to Help Americans Access Simple, Free Tax Filing

The Tax Filing Simplification Act of 2022 would create free and easy tax filing tools to reduce the 13 hours and $240 that taxpayers spend on average filing taxes

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is joining 22 of his Senate colleagues in introducing legislation to simplify the tax filing process for millions of Americans, saving them significant time and money. The Tax Filing Simplification Act of 2022 would direct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to develop free, easy to use, online tax filing software, and eliminate unnecessary red tape for all taxpayers. The legislation would also help ensure that more eligible people receive tax refunds, improve the security of tax information, and reduce the influence of third-party tax filing companies. Currently, Americans spend on average 13 hours and $240 to file their taxes, with only 3% of taxpayers accessing free filing services.  

“Seventy percent of Americans qualify for quick, easy, and free tax filing – but a complex and intimidating system for accessing free tax preparation means that millions of families feel forced to spend their precious time and money on third-party tax software,” said Senator Angus King. “The Tax Filing Simplification Act of 2022 would end the third-party chokehold on tax filing and direct the IRS to create their own simple and free online portal where taxpayers can directly enter and file their returns. The bill would also help taxpayers automatically receive and submit the information they need to file their taxes, saving time and reducing the risk of costly errors. This is a long overdue, commonsense step to demystify tax filing, converting a universally-dreaded chore into a straightforward, easy-to-navigate process.” 

This legislation follows years of issues with the Free File program, which was outsourced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to the tax prep industry and serves just 3% of taxpayers even though 70% of taxpayers are eligible. The Tax Filing Simplification Act makes several commonsense changes to simplify and decrease the costs of the tax filing process for millions of American taxpayers by:  

  • Directing the IRS to develop a free, online tax preparation and filing service that would allow all taxpayers to prepare and file their taxes directly with the federal government instead of being forced to share private information with third parties.
  • Enhancing taxpayer data access by allowing all taxpayers to download third-party-provided tax information that the IRS already has into a software program of their choice, saving time and decreasing the risk of math errors on W-2 income or CTC payments that lead to significant processing delays.
  • Prohibiting the IRS from entering into agreements that restrict its ability to provide free online tax preparation or filing services.
  • Allowing eligible taxpayers with simple tax situations to choose a return-free option, which provides a pre-prepared tax return with income tax liability or refund amount already calculated.
  • Mandating that these data and filing tools be made available through a secure online function and requires any participating individual to verify his or her identity before accessing tax data.
  • Reducing tax fraud by getting third-party income information to the IRS earlier in the tax season, allowing the agency to cross-check this information before issuing refunds. 

More details on the bill can be found HERE.

Senator King has worked to make the burdensome annual tax filing process easier for Maine people. As the 2021 tax filing season approached, he called out the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over their delays that were causing unnecessary stresses, and urged the IRS to use increased funding to improve and expand their services. King also successfully pushed the Treasury Department to extend the 2020 tax filing deadline. 

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