April 12, 2019

Americans Need A Simple, Secure and Free Tax Filing Service

Statement of Emily Peterson-Cassin, Project Coordinator, Public Citizen’s Bright Lines Project

Note: On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced legislation that would simplify the tax filing process for millions of Americans and create a free and simple online tax preparation and filing service without the need to share private information with third-party companies. Her legislation follows passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of the Taxpayers First Act, which would effectively prevent the government from creating its own free filing system, and was backed by tax filing companies like TurboTax and H&R Block.  

This legislation accomplishes things the IRS should have done years ago, like creating a free file system that works without requiring us to give our financial information to potentially untrustworthy third parties, especially in a day and age when companies have proven so irresponsible with private information. The Tax Filing Simplification Act recenters the needs of the regular taxpayer, finally allowing the return-free option we were promised in the 1990s.  

Americans should not be forced to risk their privacy to file their government mandated taxes. The bill as a whole starts to put the IRS on a better track, which is why Public Citizen is proud to support it.