Oregon and Washington lawmakers this week kicked off a public-private partnership aimed at helping lower and moderate income Washington and Oregon taxpayers – including those eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, active-duty military, students, and seniors – to electronically prepare and e-file their taxes for free.
The program, called the Free File Alliance, is a partnership between the IRS (www.irs.gov), 21 state tax agencies and the nation's electronic tax software manufacturers, including Intuit, the maker of TurboTax (www.taxfreedom.com).
Taxpayers in Washington can go online to www.IRS.gov and use the Free File program to electronically prepare and e-file their federal tax return for free.
Because Oregon is one of the 21 Free File states, eligible taxpayers there can go to www.oregon.gov/DOR and choose from a variety of free offers to easily prepare and e-file their federal and state tax returns online.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association and community leaders on Monday announced the program with Washington State Rep. Deb Wallace (D-Vancouver) and Oregon Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-East Portland) at Clark College in Vancouver.
"It's a tough time for a lot of people and the idea that someone could save hundreds of dollars in tax prep fees and loans is a big deal," Smith said. "These programs save you lots of time and help you get your refund quickly and easily."
"The idea that government and industry got together to create this program is pretty remarkable. The IRS doesn't pay a dime for this program and neither do Washington's or Oregon's taxpayers," Wallace said. "This is one of those rare examples of good news during tax season."
She said that hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians and Oregonians are entitled to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is the nation's most significant tax program specifically designed to help the working poor, but the IRS says as many as 15 percent of those eligible never file for it.
Joining Wallace at this week's press conference was Bruce Eisele, representing Intuit and the Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation.
"We are proud to donate TurboTax Freedom Edition to working families, lower-income filers, students and active-duty military," said Eisele. "Having donated more than 18 million returns to qualified taxpayers since 1998, our donation of TurboTax is our largest philanthropic initiative."