Virginia leaders praise Free File program

taxVirginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Department of Taxation Commissioner Craig Burns, Speaker Bill Howell, Senator Bryce Reeves, Delegate Kathy Byron, and Delegate Mark Keam urged all eligible Virginia residents to use the IRS and Virginia Free File programs to save money and time during this tax season.

In general, people earning $62,000 or less – 70 percent of all taxpayers – are eligible to use name-brand tax preparation software products to prepare and securely file their tax return online at no cost. The Governor, state legislators and officials attended a briefing at the Library of Virginia in Richmond to demonstrate Free File’s ease of use and how the program can ensure taxpayers receive the largest refund possible this tax season.

The Free File program is a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tax preparation software companies that provides millions of people access to brand name software so they can prepare and securely file their taxes at no cost. The software uses a simple interview-style process to help people identify all the credits and deductions for which they are eligible. Each year, tens of thousands of taxpayers receive a smaller refund because they fail to claim all of their eligible credits and deductions. For instance, estimates indicate up to 25 percent of people eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) fail to claim it and miss out on a refundable federal tax credit of up to $6,200 (certain states also have a similar EITC).

Virginia is one of 20 states plus the District of Columbia that have formed state Free File programs, enabling eligible taxpayers to file both their federal and state tax return online for free. Since its debut in 2003, over 40 million taxpayers have saved more than $1.3 billion in tax preparation costs through the IRS Free File program.

“Free File is an important resource that enables eligible Virginians to receive the full amount of their well-earned tax refund,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The program is an excellent example of a public-private partnership that provides vital services to Virginia without costing the government one dime. In fact, the program saves taxpayers and the Commonwealth money at tax time.”

“Free File provides valued savings to Virginia’s government with lower processing costs and fewer errors than manual paper returns, as well as saves taxpayers time and money,” said Commissioner Burns.

“We are so thankful to Governor McAuliffe, Commissioner Burns, Speaker Howell, Senator Reeves, Delegate Byron and Delegate Keam for helping to spread the word to community leaders and Virginia residents about how the Free File Program can mean a larger tax refund and more money saved this tax season,” said Anthony Bedell of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), the organization sponsoring today’s event.

CCIA also encouraged those who have used Free File to submit their stories through its website: www.taxprephelp.org. The website contains helpful information on Free File, including how Free File has helped tens of millions of people save more money during tax season for over a decade.

To access Free File, visit www.irs.gov/freefile, or www.tax.virginia.gov/content/free-file.



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