Washington, DC – The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service today announced an initiative to expand electronic filing opportunities for taxpayers. The announcement was made as part of the Administration’s “e-Government Quicksilver Program,” which is intended to modernize government and improve the Federal government’s service to the citizen. Ed Black, President and CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, released the following statement in response:

“We couldn’t agree more that electronic tax filing is an important priority for the IRS and the tax preparation industry. Our members have pioneered the development of taxpayer tools to facilitate electronic tax preparation, and have also provided electronic filing services to transmit that data. We believe that the Federal government could do more to facilitate the electronic filing process, and are committed to working with the government to achieve this objective.

“However, the concerns and broad concepts described in the news releases this morning do not correspond with some of the proposals that have been related to us by Administration officials. An approach that is apparently under active consideration by some within the Administration has less to do with electronic ‘filing’ than with electronic ‘preparation’ of tax returns. The idea of IRS-prepared tax returns has properly met with widespread criticism from taxpayers, lawmakers, and even the Commissioner of the IRS.

“We wholeheartedly embrace the notion of expanding online filing opportunities for U.S. taxpayers, and we stand ready to work with the Administration to make e-filing more feasible. We hope that the vision described today — of partnership with industry in facilitating online tax filing — accurately reflects the proposal that the President will include in his budget submission.”

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