In June 2019, the Internal Revenue Service engaged a respected firm called MITRE Corp. to conduct a thorough and independent assessment of the IRS Free File Program. The MITRE assessment was made public on October 8, 2019, and presented the following key findings:
- The MITRE assessment concluded that, overall, all Free File members were compliant with the MOU. Further, the assessment stated that the IRS’s current compliance processes were adequate and effective to support the integrity of the program
- The MITRE assessment confirmed that the Free File Program is a beneficial public-private partnership, and has allowed lower- and middle-income taxpayers to file 53 million returns at no cost to the filing individual. This has resulted in an estimated savings to taxpayers of $1.6 billion.
- MITRE’s analysis shows the free tax preparation services provided by industry through both IRS Free File and commercial free products serve a majority of the actual pool of candidates for the Free File Program.
- The assessment notes that the IRS Free File Program is a unique entity that was created to provide a service to taxpayers that neither the government nor private industry could address alone.
- The assessment found that recent criticisms of the IRS Free File Program don’t tell the full story and the issues are much more nuanced.
- The assessment found that some actions of Free File member companies that critics have called deceptive are indeed common, legal business practices.
- Intuit is reviewing the MITRE recommendations and looks forward to working with the IRS to improve the Free File Program and help it continue to grow.
A link to the complete MITRE assessment on the IRS Free File Program can be found at IRS.gov here.
The appendices are available at the following links:
- Appendix A: The Economics of IRS Free File
- Appendix B: External Program Review Crosswalk
- Appendix F1: Free File Member Sites Heuristic Evaluation
- Appendix F2: IRS Free File Heuristic Evaluation
- Appendix G: Taxpayer Experience Testing Report