IRS Pilot Program – What is it? Check the Eligibility and Benefits!

The IRS Direct File, introduced during the 2024 tax season as a pilot initiative, offers a complimentary and secure electronic filing alternative. It enables eligible taxpayers to submit their federal tax returns directly to the IRS.

IRS Pilot Program

The IRS Direct File, an inventive electronic filing choice created by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the 2024 tax season, is a cost-free and secure pilot program. 

It empowers eligible taxpayers to submit their federal tax returns directly to the IRS through a computer, tablet, or smartphone, with the option of English or Spanish. Initially, this limited pilot program will be accessible to eligible taxpayers in 13 states.

IRS Pilot Program Eligibility

Eligibility for Direct File is restricted due to the pilot nature of the program. 


  • Currently available in 12 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

Tax Complexity:

  • Simple tax returns only: Primarily for those with income from W-2s, unemployment benefits, or Social Security.
  • Standard deduction expected.
  • Limited credits and deductions allowed.

Rollout Phases:

  • Currently in a phased rollout:
    • Initially only for certain government employees.
    • Mid-March 2024: More widespread availability for eligible taxpayers in the designated states (check IRS website for updates).

IRS Pilot Program

How does the IRS Direct File operate?

Key features include:

  • Free, secure electronic filing directly through the IRS.
  • Pilot phase launching in early 2024 with limited availability.
  • Initially available in 13 specific states: AZ, CA, FL, MA, NH, NY, NV, SD, TN, TX, WA, WY.
  • Focuses on simpler tax situations, primarily W-2 income, benefits, and limited deductions.
  • Mobile-friendly, accessible on smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktops.
  • Provides step-by-step guidance and real-time support from IRS customer service representatives.
  • Does not currently cover state tax returns but offers links to state-supported tools for state filing.

How can you apply to participate in the IRS Pilot Program?

To participate in the IRS Direct File pilot, follow these steps:

  • Check Eligibility: Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for the pilot program.
  • Wait for the Pilot Launch: The program will roll out gradually, beginning with a small group of filers and expanding during the tax season. Monitor IRS announcements for updates on availability in your state.
  • Access the Pilot: When the pilot is available in your state, sign up for it. The sign-up process should resemble other IRS tax filing programs.
  • Work on Your Return: After signing up, use the Direct File service to work on your return. The service, accessible on mobile, tablet, or computer, supports both English and Spanish.
  • Submit Your Return: Once your return is complete using the Direct File service, submit it to the IRS.

IRS Pilot Program Benefits 

The IRS Direct File pilot program offers several benefits to eligible taxpayers, especially those with simple tax situations:

  • Free to Use: Unlike commercial software, Direct File is completely free of charge. This can be a significant advantage for low-income taxpayers or those on a budget.
  • Secure: Developed and maintained by the IRS, the platform ensures high security standards for your financial information, potentially offering peace of mind regarding data protection.
  • Easy to Use: The interface is designed to be simple and intuitive, even for those unfamiliar with tax filing. This can save time and frustration compared to navigating complex software.
  • Direct Access: You interact directly with the IRS, streamlining the process and potentially avoiding delays associated with third-party intermediaries.
  • Faster processing: Electronic filing generally receives faster processing than paper returns.
  • Reduced errors: The platform may offer basic error checks to minimise mistakes during filing.
  • Convenience: Access the platform from any device with internet access, eliminating the need for physical paperwork.

IRS Pilot Program Limitations

The IRS Direct File Pilot program offers several benefits, but it’s important to be aware of its limitations before deciding if it’s right for you:

Limited Scope:

  • Simple tax returns only: It’s designed for taxpayers with straightforward income sources, standard deductions, and few credits/deductions. 
  • Complex situations like self-employment, investments, or itemised deductions are not currently supported.
  • Pilot program: Still in its initial phase, with potential changes to features and eligibility in the future.
  • No state filing: Currently cannot electronically file state returns. You’ll need to use separate methods for your state return.

Technical Limitations:

  • Limited compatibility: Currently only works with certain web browsers (Internet Explorer 11 or higher, Firefox 80 or higher, Chrome 85 or higher, Safari 12, 13 and 14).

Other Limitations:

  • Location dependent: Currently available only in 12 specific states.
  • Phased rollout: Not yet open to all eligible taxpayers in those states. You might need to wait for an invitation or broader public access.
  • No tax advice: Doesn’t offer expert guidance or review like commercial software or professionals. Double-check everything carefully before submitting.
  • Limited support: As a pilot program, support resources might be less extensive compared to established filing options.

To Get Relevant Information. Go to NCBLPC Homepage.

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