IRS officially launches Direct File in 12 states

ConsumerAffairs

Eligible taxpayers can file online for free

Tax season is in full swing. With just about a month until the official tax filing deadline on April 15, if you don’t have a plan to file your taxes, you may want to consider the IRS’ latest digital initiative – Direct File. 

Over the last few weeks, the IRS has piloted Direct File, and it’s now available for eligible taxpayers to use – for free – in 12 states. 

“A team of experts from across the government built and tested the Direct File pilot to give taxpayers an easy, accurate, free way to file their taxes online directly with the IRS,” said IRS commissioner Danny Werfel.

“Our goal with the Direct File pilot is to help people meet their tax obligations as easily and quickly as possible. We developed Direct File from the beginning with taxpayers’ help, and we’ll continue to talk to taxpayers about their experience to learn more about what taxpayers want for future digital services.”

What to know about Direct File

The Direct File system is a step-by-step guide for taxpayers to accurately file their taxes online. There’s no rush to get through the entire return in one sitting – users can save their progress and return to it at any time. 

Direct File also has a chat feature, so taxpayers can talk directly with tax professionals if they have any questions throughout the process. 

“Many taxpayers we’ve heard from filed their taxes in less than 30 minutes using Direct File and praised it as an easy, no cost tax filing experience,” Werfel said. 

To be eligible to use Direct File, taxpayers must fall into these categories: 

  • Report income earned from jobs that generate a W2

  • Claim Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and the Credit for Other Dependents

  • Claim the standard deduction and deductions for educator expenses and student loan interest

  • Lived in the same state for the entire calendar year of 2023

Additionally, Direct File is currently only available in 12 states, including: Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington State, and Wyoming. 

Direct File will guide taxpayers through their federal returns. Then, for states that have income tax, taxpayers will be led to a state-sponsored income tax tool. 

Direct File is available to access on computers, tablets, or smartphones, and taxpayers can file in English or Spanish. First-time users will have to verify their identity through ID.me, ensuring a safe and secure tax filing process. 

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