Washington (August 2, 2002) -- As many as 78 million Americans will be able to file their taxes online at no cost next year thanks to a proposed new agreement announced by the Department of the Treasury and Office of Management and Budget.

According to the proposed agreement, a consortium of private sector companies will work together to offer free online tax filing services, an option that could benefit some 60 percent of taxpayers. Taxpayers will find links to the online tax filing services through a single, centrally-located Web portal at www.irs.gov and available through www.firstgov.gov .

"Our current tax code is needlessly time consuming and confusing. We need to make it easier to understand and easier to comply. This new e-filing partnership is one positive step forward. We’re taking advantage of technology to reduce the cost and the hassle of filing for millions of taxpayers," said Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.

The terms of the proposed agreement will be published shortly for public comment. After a 30-day comment period, all suggestions will be reviewed. The new free tax filing consortium Web page is slated to be online by December 31, in anticipation of the 2003 filing season.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff.

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