The Internal Revenue Service announced the opening of Free File, the free tax preparation and free electronic filing initiative now in its fourth year. More than 70 percent of the nation's taxpayers -- over 92 million people -- qualify for Free File this year.

A new agreement between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, the private-sector consortium of tax preparation software companies, will mean improved services and more information for taxpayers who use the free services. Free File must be accessed through www.IRS.gov.

Among the improvements this year:

  • The 3 million taxpayers who used to file their income tax return through TeleFile, an option no longer available, automatically qualify for Free File this year;
  • Seventy percent of the nation's taxpayers -- those with an adjusted gross income of $50,000 or less -- will be eligible for the program;
  • Alliance members' Web sites will display whether state online tax preparation and filing services are available and the associated fees, if any;
  • Taxpayers with access to a computer and the Internet may check online at www.IRS.gov to determine if they qualify for Free File.

More than 5.14 million taxpayers used Free File last year, almost a 47 percent increase over the 3.5 million users in 2004. Free File debuted in 2003 with nearly 2.8 million users.

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