Four national consumer groups blasted the IRS Wednesday for the tax agency's proposed plan to partner with commercial tax preparers to offer online filing for low-income taxpayers.
Even though the plan calls for the service to be offered free of charge, the consumer groups "look at this as an opportunity for the preparers to offer other high-cost services on a bait-and-switch basis," said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. "We urge the IRS to provide e-filing on its own Web site."
The IRS said last month that it plans to provide links on its Web site to connect taxpayers to Web sties operated by tax preparation companies, such as H&R Block Inc. and Intuit Inc., which have promised to provide free online filing for at least 60 percent of taxpayers.
The details of which taxpayers will qualify for the free filing and precisely how the programs would work have not yet been disclosed.
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