Intuit’s mission of powering prosperity around the world fuels our commitment to help individuals take control of their financial lives so they can achieve their dreams. Intuit is driven to help Americans fulfill their duty to pay their taxes and receive the refunds they deserve by offering innovative, accurate and easy-to-use software and services.
Our mission transcends our products. Intuit has for more than a decade publicly and transparently advocated for tax simplification for individuals, families, small businesses and the self-employed. A simplified tax code is good for the country and the taxpayer, reducing burden and leading to a better understanding of the taxpayer’s true financial picture.
Pre-filled tax return advocates often conflate a pre-filled return system with tax simplification – the two are actually at odds. Intuit is aligned with pre-filled return advocates on the goal of making tax return preparation and filing easier. However, Intuit believes that self-determination, powered by an individual’s active participation in the tax preparation process, is the backbone of the American tax system. Only individuals and families themselves have the comprehensive personal information necessary to accurately file their taxes, for example who they live with, for how long and their relationship.
With a pre-filled tax return system, the role of the tax collector is expanded, while the role of the taxpayer is minimized, forcing taxpayers to rely on the tax collector’s judgments and calculations, without necessarily understanding them or knowing if they are correct. While relying on the tax collector’s preparation of a tax return, the taxpayer would remain solely responsible for accuracy and completeness, which the taxpayer may not understand.
Proponents market pre-filled returns as offering consumers convenience and tax expediency when in reality there is real risk a pre-filled return will foster fear and a sense of intimidation, especially for those with lower incomes, lesser educations, or English as a second language. Returns pre-filled by the tax collector minimize a taxpayer’s voice in the taxation process, hindering their ability to achieve their own financial goals and reducing the fairness of the American tax system.
Intuit’s belief in tax simplification for the average taxpayer, independent voluntary compliance by citizens, and empowering individuals to take control of their personal and family finances demands that we transparently and unapologetically advocate on behalf of the average taxpayer, championing their prosperity and assuring their interests.
To ensure that all citizens have access to the same innovative tax preparation services, Intuit began donating free tax preparation software and e-filing for low income taxpayers in 1998, not because it was mandated, but because it was the right thing to do for taxpayers. Five years later the Free File Alliance formed and The IRS Free File Program was born. To date, that Program has delivered more than 50 million free tax preparation services. The Free File Program assists millions of low and moderate-income citizens every year under strict government rules and at no cost to government.
With Free File, government and industry have partnered to leverage private-sector innovations and know-how to deliver a much-needed service-to-the-citizen, without cost to the taxpayer or to the IRS. The IRS reports that with the donation of more than 50 Million free tax returns, the Free File Program has saved taxpayers more than $1.5 Billion over fifteen years.