Washington (Oct. 31, 2002) -- The Treasury Department has announced an agreement that would allow up to 78 million taxpayers to file their tax returns electronically without charge.The agreement between the Internal Revenue Service and Free File Alliance, LLC was signed by commissioner Charles Rossotti and Free File Alliance manager Mike Cavanagh. Under the agreement, tax software companies will offer at no charge on-line tax return preparation and filing services to a significant portion of American taxpayers. The IRS will provide taxpayers links to these free services through www.irs.gov  and www.firstgov.gov .

"We are one step closer to allowing millions of taxpayers free electronic filing of their tax returns," stated Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. "I look forward to the public launch of the Web site in January."

The Treasury noted that free federal electronic filing of tax returns is pro-consumer and pro-taxpayer. The initiative was launched as part of the President's budget last year. The President has also proposed a 15-day filing extension for all taxpayers who file electronically, including those eligible for free filing under this initiative.

That proposal has not yet been approved by Congress.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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