Wyden, Merkley, More Than 130 Lawmakers Tout Direct File’s Successes, Urge Biden Administration to Expand Program and Make Permanent

Ninety percent of taxpayers rated their Direct File experience positively; 86 percent said their trust in the IRS was increased

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today that they and more than 130 lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, applauding the Direct File program’s success pilot and urging them to make it permanent while expanding its functionality and scope. 

The letter follows the 2024 tax season’s conclusion and the IRS Direct File program’s implementation in 12 pilot states which allowed taxpayers to file their returns for free, directly with the IRS. 

“(W)e 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.”

The Biden administration announced last May they would be launching a Direct File pilot in 2024. This past tax season, more than 140,000 taxpayers used the tool across 12 pilot states, saving taxpayers more than $90 million in refunds and an estimated $5.6 million in tax preparation fees on their federal returns alone. A survey of 11,000 users found 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.” 

“The IRS’s delivery of this new, wildly successful filing tool… demonstrates the huge returns from investing in the IRS and in government technology in general,” continued the lawmakers. “(W)e hope Direct File will support additional sources of income, integrate with more states, offer more flexible identity verification procedures, and accommodate additional tax benefits, with a focus on refundable credits available to low- and middle-income families. Direct File should also continue streamlining the filing process by using taxpayer data that the IRS already has.” 

“(W)e congratulate you on the success of the Direct File pilot and stand ready to work with you on making the program permanent and expanding it. 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. 

In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the letter is also signed by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Robert Casey (D-Penn.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), John Fetterman (D-Penn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

The letter is also signed by U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-Va.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Alma Adams (D- N.C.), Becca Balint (D-Vt.), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Nikki Budzinski (D-Ill.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.), Sean Casten (D-Ill.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas.), Sheila Cherilus-McCormick (D-Fla.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Chris Deluzio (D-Penn.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.) Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Dwight Evans (D-Penn.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Valerie Foushee (D-N.C.), Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Penn.), Val Hoyle (D-Ore.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Jonathan Jackson (D-Ill.), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), William Keating (D-Mass.), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Andy Kim (D-N.J.), Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), Greg Landsman (D-Ohio), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jennifer McClellan (D-Va.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Andrea Salinas (D-Ore.), Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), Mary Scanlon (D-Penn.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Bradley Schneider (D-Ill.), Robert Scott (D-Va.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Shri Thanedar (D-Mich.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), David Trone (D-Md.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Susan Wild (D-Penn.), Nikema Williams (D-Ga.), Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.). 

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

A web version of this release is here.