IRS bans financial software companies from hiding free tax returns in searches

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a new tax filing agreement Monday local time that will prevent companies from hiding free products in Internet searches,media reported. The move is designed to make it easier for taxpayers to find and use free online tax return software.

IRS bans financial software companies from hiding free tax returns in searches

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In the U.S., taxpayers earning less than $69,000 a year are eligible for free tax returns, but ProPublica reported in April that Intuit, which develops TurboTax tax tools, makes it difficult to find free tax returns.

Previously, the IRS had agreed that taxpayers earning less than $69,000 would be able to get a free tax return service and set up an industry group called Free File Alliance, which is hard to find.

Now, an appendix to the memorandum of understanding between the IRS and Free File Alliance explicitly prohibits such concealment by the company. In addition, the IRS will no longer be prohibited from creating its own online filing system.

According to ProPublica, companies like Intuit have been lobbying for years to stop the IRS from setting up its own free online tax filing system because it would compete with their products.

But Intuit said in a blog post on Monday that it strongly supports changes to free file programs and related free files because they increase the focus on the taxpayer experience.

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