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IRS's Free Direct File Pilot to Be Ready for Use in Coming Days

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Feb 23, 2024


The IRS's free tax preparation system, Direct File, has passed its internal testing and will soon be available to taxpayers in a dozen states, Accounting Today and The Washington Post reported.

Announced in October, Direct File provide taxpayers who meet certain eligibility requirements with the choice to file their federal tax return electronically and directly with the IRS for free. The IRS provided an online demonstration of the program to members of the media in January.  

The IRS began internal pilot testing of the system earlier this month, Accounting Today reported, with a group of about 1,200 IRS employees in the states where it will be available this tax season: Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

"After a successful internal testing phase, the pilot is moving into the next phase of testing. In the coming days," said an IRS official in a statement, according to Accounting Today. "Direct File will be available to the public in 12 pilot states for short, unannounced windows of time. The purpose of this phase is to test Direct File with the public and ensure it works well when experiencing heavier volume than in the internal testing phase."

Taxpayers wishing to use the service must first sign up for, an identity verification tool, before preparing their tax returns.

The IRS’s announcement did not say when exactly the website will be open to new users—just that it would work for “short, unannounced windows of time” so that the agency can test how it works. Taxpayers should check the Direct File website for availability, the Post advised.

"When an availability window opens, new users will be able to start their returns," stated the IRS official. “After the availability window closes to new users, taxpayers who have started a return can continue using Direct File even during planned pauses."

The site was built over the past several months by government employees from the IRS and the U.S. Digital Service, the Post reported.

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