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5/1/2009
04:57 PM
K.C. Jones
K.C. Jones
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IRS Recognized For Innovation In Public Service

The Internal Revenue Service will receive an award for its free online service.

The Internal Revenue Service will receive an award for its free online service.The Software & Information Industry Association announced Thursday that it plans to give the IRS its award for Innovation in Public Service for the Free File Program. IRS Electronic Tax Administration Director David Williams and Free File Alliance Executive Director Tim Hugo will accept the award at SIIA's annual CODiE Awards ceremony in San Francisco next week.

The IRS Free File Program is a partnership between 19 tax software companies that are members of the Free File Alliance and the IRS. Since it began in January 2003, it has helped more than 25 million Americans prepare and file electronic returns for free. Twenty-one states have created free file programs through an agreement overseen by the IRS. This year, the program expanded beyond helping low and middle-income earners to allow every American, regardless of income, to file online for free.

SIIA President Ken Wasch said the program provides a superb model for achieving excellence in e-government.

"It has helped consumers save millions of dollars in tax preparation fees, and has saved the government and American taxpayers millions of dollars from the resulting efficiencies in tax return processing and administration," he said in a statement. "At the same time, it has enabled the private sector software industry to continue to invest, innovate and compete in an open commercial marketplace."

The CODiE Awards are chosen by peer review.

Williams said IRS research has shown that the program increased tax filing and helped the IRS reach its goal of receiving 80% of tax returns in electronic format. Hugo said that the collaboration between the IRS, the U.S. Treasury Department and the private sector required almost no public funding.

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