Skip to main content E-Gov logo Powering America's future with technology.

Presidential Initiatives

IRS Free File

Program Manager

David Williams

Managing Partner

Department of the Treasury


Creates a single point of access to free on-line preparation and electronic tax filing services provided by Industry Partners to reduce burden and costs to taxpayers.

Progress to Date

  • Piloted a Free File website in Spanish with two company offerings in 2007
  • Successfully completed five tax filing seasons resulting in 19.3 million returns filed through the Free File program
  • 19 companies participated during the 2007 filing season
  • Removed ancillary product offers from Free File Alliance members’ websites making them easier to navigate and less confusing to users
  • Implemented a new four-year agreement with the Free File Alliance to provide free tax preparation and electronic filing to 70 percent of the American population in 2005
  • Developed the “Guide me to a Company” wizard to assist citizens with filing a qualifying offer
  • Launched Free File program via in 2003
  • Implemented an agreement with the Free File Alliance, a preparation software companies, to provide free tax electronic filing to the public in 2002

Next Steps

  • Develop and implement a marketing/communications plan to promote and educate the public about the program for the 2008 filing season
  • Receive and validate free offer proposals from prospective Free File Alliance (FFA) members for the 2008 filing season
  • Update Free File web pages on for 2008 filing season
  • Conducted/completed FFA product evaluation process
  • Launched Free File via to public for 2008
  • Continue to monitor Free File Alliance web sites/software throughout filing season
  • Monitor and report on Free File participation
  • Prepare a study of cost and benefits for alternative online tax filing systems

Web Site,,id=118986,00.html


IRS Free File Metrics

Exhibit 300

Not available - has always been included as component of larger Treasury investment (Modernized e-File)

The IRS’s Free File program allows eligible taxpayers to prepare and electronically file their tax returns over the Internet using commercial software for free. This free filing service is available at and is made possible through a partnership between the government and the Free File Alliance, a coalition of tax preparation software manufacturers.

The benefits of using these free services are identical to those of e-filing, which include:

  • Reduced tax return preparation time
  • Faster refunds
  • Accuracy of returns
  • Paperless process using electronic signatures
  • Acknowledgement of return receipt
  • Variety of free services to choose from
  • Reduced fears about transmitting tax data to third parties
  • Introduction of e-filing to taxpayer segments that have not yet been exposed to this capability
  • Use of free tax preparation software is comparable to the Alliance Company’s paid product

In October 2005, the IRS and the Free File Alliance extended its partnership to provide free federal online tax preparation and e-file services to American taxpayers. During negotiations for the four-year agreement, the IRS and the Alliance agreed that to ensure the long-term stability of the Alliance, the scope of this program will focus on providing tax preparation and e-filing services to taxpayers least able to afford them. About 70 percent of all filers, or nearly 95 million Americans with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $54,000 or less, are eligible for Free File in 2008. This new agreement allows taxpayers who most need free filing services to remain eligible for them. Since initially debuting in 2003, the IRS has received more than 19.3 million tax returns through Free File, representing a cost-savings to the government of more than $45.5 million in processing costs of an electronic return compared to that of paper.