Skip to content

Kaine, Colleagues Urge Biden Administration to Expand Program to Make Filing Taxes Easier and Cheaper for Virginians

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, joined over 130 of his colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Daniel Werfel urging them to make the Direct File program permanent and expand its functionality and scope. The letter follows the conclusion of the 2024 tax season and successful implementation of the IRS Direct File pilot program in 12 states, which allowed taxpayers to file their returns for free, directly with the IRS. The pilot program saved taxpayers more than $90 million in refunds and an estimated $5.6 million in tax preparation fees on federal returns alone.

“We 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.”

“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 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 the 12 pilot states. 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.”  

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

As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, Kaine has pushed for simpler tax filing methods and the modernization of the IRS. Last year, Kaine joined Senators Carper and Warren to send a letter urging the IRS to simplify the tax filing process and expand access to free e-filing options. In 2022, Kaine was proud to support the Inflation Reduction Act, which provided funding to modernize the IRS to ensure Virginians could file their taxes more quickly and easily and get their rebates sooner. As a result of this funding, the IRS has cut phone wait times from 28 minutes to three minutes and saved taxpayers with questions more than 1.4 million hours of hold time.

Full text of the letter can be found here.