The Government Accountability Office said that the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t appear to be in a position to develop its own software for tax preparation anytime soon.As part of its partnership with the Free File Alliance, in exchange for a number of tax prep providers agreeing to provider their software free of charge to certain taxpayers, the IRS has agreed not to develop its own software. But because increased electronic filing would reduce the agency’s processing costs, reduce transcription errors and speed up refund turnaround, the GAO was looked to examine the benefits and costs of the agency creating its own online tax prep offering.

Specifically, the GAO looked at a number of systems already offered by states and in other countries that allow taxpayers to prepare and file tax returns on Web sites at no charge, an option not available to federal taxpayers.

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