Kelly Joins Over 130 Lawmakers in Highlighting Direct File’s Successes, Urges Biden Administration to Expand Program

“We believe that the IRS can offer free and easy tax filing to every American taxpayer who wants it — and that, with Direct File, it will.”

Taxpayers gave Direct File rave reviews, with 90 percent rating their experience positively and 86 percent saying it increased their trust in the IRS

This week, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly joined over 130 lawmakers in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Daniel Werfel, applauding the successful pilot of the Direct File program, and urging them to make it permanent and expand its functionality and scope. The letter follows the conclusion of the 2024 tax season and implementation of the IRS Direct File pilot program in 12 states, including Arizona, which allowed taxpayers to file their returns for free, directly with the IRS.  

“[W]e write to commend you on the historic and resoundingly successful launch of Direct File, the first free, public, electronic federal tax filing tool in U.S. history. Taxpayers want and deserve a free and easy filing option, and thanks to this year’s pilot, taxpayers used Direct File to claim over $90 million in tax refunds and save $5.6 million in estimated filing fees,” said the lawmakers. “We applaud your leadership and Direct File’s incredible success this year, and we call on you to make Direct File a permanent program, expanding it and improving it further next year and in the years to come.” 

The Biden administration announced in May of last year that they would be launching a Direct File pilot in 2024. This past tax season, over 140,000 taxpayers used the tool across 12 pilot states, saving taxpayers more than $90 million in refunds and an estimated $5.6 million in tax preparation fees on their federal returns alone. A survey of 11,000 users found that 90 percent ranked their experience with Direct File as “Excellent” or “Above Average,” and 90 percent of survey respondents who used customer service similarly found the experience “Excellent” or “Above Average.”  

“The IRS’s delivery of this new, wildly successful filing tool… demonstrates the huge returns from investing in the IRS and in government technology in general,” continued the lawmakers. “[W]e hope Direct File will support additional sources of income, integrate with more states, offer more flexible identity verification procedures, and accommodate additional tax benefits, with a focus on refundable credits available to low- and middle-income families. Direct File should also continue streamlining the filing process by using taxpayer data that the IRS already has.”  

“[W]e congratulate you on the success of the Direct File pilot and stand ready to work with you on making the program permanent and expanding it. We believe that the IRS can offer free and easy tax filing to every American taxpayer who wants it — and that, with Direct File, it will,” concluded the lawmakers.  

Earlier this week, more than 250 groups sent a letter to Commissioner Werfel and Secretary Yellen also encouraging them to make Direct File permanent and expand it. 

Read full letter here