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Tue Oct 29, 2019, 01:43 PM Oct 2019

IRS emails previously withheld show tax prep companies "write the rules" for Free File

The IRS Tried to Hide Emails That Show Tax Industry Influence Over Free File Program

After ProPublica sued the IRS, the agency released emails that show it has allowed the tax preparation industry to write the rules.


The IRS tried to hide the documents from public view, initially withholding more than 100 pages of emails between agency officials and industry representatives in response to ProPublica’s Freedom of Information Act request filed in April. The agency released the emails this month only after ProPublica sued.

This year, as part of our coverage of the IRS and TurboTax maker Intuit, we filed a request for correspondence between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, an industry group. The request sought records surrounding a public-private partnership called Free File.

Under that program, which has long been championed by Intuit, the IRS agrees not to create its own tax filing system that would pose a threat to the industry’s profits. In exchange, Intuit and several other tax prep companies agree to offer free tax filing to most Americans. But the program has been declining for years, with less than 3% of eligible Americans using it this year.

The email correspondence sheds light on a pivotal moment for the future of Free File in the fall of 2018: An expert body called the IRS Advisory Council (IRSAC) had spent months investigating the program. It was preparing to publish a blistering report concluding that the IRS’ “deficient oversight and performance standards for the Free File program put vulnerable taxpayers at risk.”
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IRS emails previously withheld show tax prep companies "write the rules" for Free File (Original Post) Roland99 Oct 2019 OP
K & R 50 Shades Of Blue Oct 2019 #1
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