May 16, 2024

Warren, Carper, Beyer, Porter, Sherman Lead Over 130 Lawmakers Touting Direct File’s Successes, Urges Biden Administration to Expand Program, Make Permanent

“We believe that the IRS can offer free and easy tax filing to every American taxpayer who wants it — and that, with Direct File, it will.”

Taxpayers gave Direct File rave reviews, with 90 percent rating their experience positively and 86 percent saying it increased their trust in the IRS

Letter Text (PDF)

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tom Carper (D-Del.),U.S Representatives Don Beyer (D-Va.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) led over 130 lawmakers - including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member DeLauro (D-N.Y,) - in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Daniel Werfel, applauding the successful pilot of the Direct File program, and urging them to make it permanent and expand its functionality and scope. The letter follows the conclusion of the 2024 tax season and implementation of the IRS Direct File program in 12 pilot states, including Massachusetts, which allowed taxpayers to file their returns for free, directly with the IRS. 

“(W)e write to commend you on the historic and resoundingly successful launch of Direct File, the first free, public, electronic federal tax filing tool in U.S. history. Taxpayers want and deserve a free and easy filing option, and thanks to this year’s pilot, taxpayers used Direct File to claim over $90 million in tax refunds and save $5.6 million in estimated filing fees,” said the lawmakers. “We applaud your leadership and Direct File’s incredible success this year, and we call on you to make Direct File a permanent program, expanding it and improving it further next year and in the years to come.”

The Biden administration announced in May of last year that they would be launching a Direct File pilot in 2024. This past tax season, over 140,000 taxpayers used the tool across 12 pilot states, saving taxpayers more than $90 million in refunds and an estimated $5.6 million in tax preparation fees on their federal returns alone. A survey of 11,000 users found that 90 percent ranked their experience with Direct File as “Excellent” or “Above Average,” and 90 percent of survey respondents who used customer service similarly found the experience “Excellent” or “Above Average.” 

“The IRS’s delivery of this new, wildly successful filing tool… demonstrates the huge returns from investing in the IRS and in government technology in general,” continued the lawmakers. “(W)e hope Direct File will support additional sources of income, integrate with more states, offer more flexible identity verification procedures, and accommodate additional tax benefits, with a focus on refundable credits available to low- and middle-income families. Direct File should also continue streamlining the filing process by using taxpayer data that the IRS already has.” 

“(W)e congratulate you on the success of the Direct File pilot and stand ready to work with you on making the program permanent and expanding it. We believe that the IRS can offer free and easy tax filing to every American taxpayer who wants it — and that, with Direct File, it will,” concluded the lawmakers. 

The letter is also signed by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Robert Casey (D-Penn.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), John Fetterman (D-Penn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

The letter is also signed by U.S. Representatives Alma Adams (D- N.C.), Becca Balint (D-Vt.), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Earl Blumenaur (D-Ore.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Nikki Budzinski (D-Ill.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.), Sean Casten (D-Ill.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas.), Sheila Cherilus-McCormick (D-Fla.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Chris Deluzio (D-Penn.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.) Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Dwight Evans (D-Penn.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Valerie Foushee (D-N.C.), Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Penn.), Val Hoyle (D-Ore.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Jonathan Jackson (D-Ill.), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), William Keating (D-Mass.), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Andy Kim (D-N.J.), Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), Greg Landsman (D-Ohio), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jennifer McClellan (D-Va.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Andrea Salinas (D-Ore.), Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), Mary Scanlon (D-Penn.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Bradley Schneider (D-Ill.), Robert Scott (D-Va.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Shri Thanedar (D-Mich.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), David Trone (D-Md.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Susan Wild (D-Penn.), Nikema Williams (D-Ga.), Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.). 

Earlier this week, more than 250 groups sent a letter to Commissioner Werfel and Secretary Yellen also encouraging them to make Direct File permanent and expand it.

Senator Warren has fought for years for a free E-File program to make tax filing simpler and more affordable for millions of Americans: 

  • In March 2024, Senator Warren celebrated the launch of the IRS Direct File pilot program.
  • In October 2023, Senators Warren, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Blumenthal, Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sanders, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Representative Porter sent letters to five tax preparation companies—H&R Block, TaxAct, TaxSlayer, Ramsey Solutions, and Intuit—that recently received notices of penalty offenses from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the misuse of taxpayer’s sensitive and confidential information.
  • In July 2023, Senators Warren, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), alongside Representative Katie Porter (D-Calif.), released a report revealing the outrageous, extensive, and potentially illegal sharing of taxpayers’ sensitive personal and financial information with Meta by online tax preparation companies. The lawmakers also sent a letter to the IRS, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice highlighting their key findings and calling on these departments to fully investigate this matter and prosecute any company or individuals who violated the law.
  • In June 2023, Senators Warren and Tom Carper (D-Del.), alongside Representatives Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.), led a coalition of 99 Democratic lawmakers in a letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel and Deputy Treasury Secretary Adewale Adeyemo, applauding the IRS’s announcement of a pilot of a free tax filing tool next year.
  • In April 2023, Senators Warren and Tom Carper (D-Del.) led 29 other senators in a letter to the IRS Commissioner, urging the agency to simplify the tax process and broaden access to free e-filing options.
  • In April 2023, at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Warren questioned the IRS Commissioner about the agency’s failed Free-File partnership with private tax preparation software companies and called on the agency to implement a direct E-File program. 
  • In December 2022, Senators Warren and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Representatives Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) sent letters to tax preparation companies H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer, plus big tech firms Meta, and Google, amid reports that the tax preparation companies have been secretly transmitting individual taxpayers’ sensitive financial information to Meta and Google
  • In August 2022, Senator Warren highlighted key priorities she secured in the Senate’s Inflation Reduction Act, including establishing an IRS task force to look into developing and running an IRS-run free direct E-File tax return system, based on Senator Warren’s Tax Filing Simplification Act. 
  • In July 2022, Senator Warren led 22 lawmakers to introduce the Tax Filing Simplification Act of 2022, legislation that would direct the IRS to develop its own free online tax preparation and filing service that would simplify the tax filing process for millions of Americans 
  • In June 2022, at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen agreed with Senator Warren on the need to create a free tax filing system that actually works for Americans. 


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