PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Coalition Letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on “FREE FILE” Tax Program

By at 23 February, 2017, 3:08 pm

The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin
United States Treasury Secretary
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Mnuchin:

On behalf of the undersigned conservative, free market organizations, we write in support of making the Free File tax preparation program permanent in 2017.

The Free File system is an innovative public-private solution to tax complexity that has served more than 40 million taxpayers and saved $1.3 billion in preparation costs since its inception. The program offers 70 percent of taxpayers, or those making less than $64,000, access to electronic filing software provided by leading private companies free of charge.

Today, it is difficult or impossible for most taxpayers to file their own taxes. The tax code is more than 75,000 pages long and contains over 2.4 million words. This complexity forces American families and businesses to spend more than 8.9 billion hours and $400 billion complying with the code every year.

Free File is critical to addressing this complexity. The program has frequently been reauthorized since it was introduced in 2008, and has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress.

Despite the success of this program, some, like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have called for the program to be eliminated based on the notion that the government should have sole responsibility over tax preparation. In place of making Free File permanent, she has called for having the IRS file taxes for individuals as their solution to tax complexity.

This would be a mistake and would empower the IRS – an agency that already struggles to fulfill its existing responsibilities to taxpayers – with even broader power over the paychecks of American families. Having taxpayers receive a bill from the IRS would also be a huge conflict of interest given the agency already assesses tax liability for taxpayers.

In addition, it would require an increase in IRS manpower due to complexity associated with an expanded responsibility. Given the existing complexity in the code, it would be difficult – if not impossible – for everyday taxpayers to know if they were paying the right amount of taxes under this scenario.

The Free File program has been a clear success in ensuring taxpayers are able to comply the absurdly complex tax code and is a vastly superior solution to having the IRS file taxes for Americans. We urge you to make Free File permanent in 2017.

Sincerely,

Grover Norquist

President, Americans for Tax Reform

 

Dan Schneider

Executive Director, American Conservative Union

 

Phil Kerpen

President, American Commitment

 

Dan Weber

President, Association of Mature American Citizens

 

Norm Singleton

President, Campaign for Liberty

 

Jeff Mazzella

President, Center for Individual Freedom

 

Tom Schatz

President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

 

Katie McAuliffe

Executive Director, Digital Liberty

 

George Landrith

President, Frontiers of Freedom

 

Mario H. Lopez

President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

 

Tom Giovanetti

President, Institute for Policy Innovation

 

Allen Gutierrez

National Executive Director, The Latino Coalition

 

Seton Motley

President, Less Government

 

Colin Hanna

President, Let Freedom Ring

 

Charles Sauer

President, Market Institute

 

Pete Sepp

President, National Taxpayers Union

 

Karen Kerrigan

President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

 

David Williams

President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

 

Berin Szoka

President, TechFreedom

Cc:

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

The Honorable Kevin Brady
Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives
1102 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
Chairman, Committee on Finance
U.S. Senate
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

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