Jimmy Patronis: If you filed taxes on April 15, your troubles may just be starting
Image via AP.

Tax form AP
IRS’s new “E-File” system is risk to taxpayers

When April 15th, Tax Day, is done many breathe a sigh of relief. But, for those who file with the

IRS’s new “e-file” system could be the beginning of their tax trouble. The IRS’s new Direct File Program is supposed to allow taxpayers to file their federal taxes directly with the IRS and save money on TurboTax or other online third-party tax filing systems. Florida was even chosen as one of the states for the IRS to pilot this program. But don’t believe the hype.

Research shows that 75% of Americans use free tax software such as TurboTax to file taxes while just about 22% hire a CPA to file for them. This means the IRS thinks it can pick up a lot of data if it tackles this majority market. The problem is that the IRS e-file system does not help taxpayers file their state taxes. It is also not clear how the IRS will protect this additional consumer data or even how they may get a jump-start on using AI programs and other measures to analyze taxpayer mistakes and assign additional fines and penalties.

Importantly, many third-party tax filing systems also come with some built-in protections in the event that a taxpayer gets a penalty or fine for an error in their filing. The IRS, of course, offers no such protection for the taxpayers who file directly with them. Consumers must be warned of these risks. Could you imagine being audited by the IRS after using THEIR IRS-guided, digital service to file your taxes?

The IRS could provide a way for people to ask questions and walk through the new system they have. But, when has the IRS ever been the poster child for customer service or efficiency?

There’s a chatbot that people can use to ask questions online, but forget about ever being able to reach a human on the phone. Those days are over. The IRS Direct File Program is a solution in search of a problem. Or, maybe it is a ravenous government in search of a new income stream.

Remember, we are warning about the same IRS who wanted to monitor payments of over $600 on third-party pay apps like CashApp, PayPal, and Venmo. The IRS has just grown by an infusion of $80 billion to add 87,000 new IRS agents. And we already know that none of them are answering a consumer hotline. This new program is more of the same. Your federal government is desperate to get more information from you, but just five months ago, the IRS leaked private tax information on the former President of the United States. Why would an average taxpayer be any safer?

Thankfully, the e-file pilot program has not seen great participation, with only 50,000 users this tax season. But, this is a time for caution and not victory. Do not use the IRS e-file system. It could be the beginning of your tax problems, not the finish line you think.


Jimmy Patronis serves as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.

Guest Author


  • Bob

    April 17, 2024 at 4:37 pm

    Yeah, and AT&T just leaked the personal info of 73 million people, including their SS numbers. Anyone asserting that personal data is more secure in the hands of the private sector is either a clueless idiot who’s never looked at the data, a political hack, or both.

  • ScienceBLVR

    April 17, 2024 at 5:31 pm

    Your federal government is desperate to get more information from you, but just five months ago, the IRS leaked private tax information on the former President of the United States. Why would an average taxpayer be any safer?
    Can’t even say his name, Jimmy? Trump, you know your hero who’s on trial right now. I’m much more worried about what’s happening in Florida. You know, the state we live in. Those Feds, right Jimmy? First the IRS, next the ATF is coming for our guns, right Jimmy?

    • MarvinM

      April 17, 2024 at 5:59 pm

      Jimmy says:
      “Your federal government is desperate to get more information from you”.
      He said “desperate” and “more”. Without explaining how using the Direct File Program supplies the IRS with more information than they would get if you used TurboTax, or H & R Block or filled out the forms by hand and sent them in the mail.
      He also completely ignores all the free programs people can use to files their taxes that the IRS links to at their website. I’ve used two or three of them in the past.
      Sounds to me like Jimmy is more interested in getting people pissed at government/IRS rather than provide them actual information they can use to help solve their problems.

  • Hope Bush Chas' Mother

    April 18, 2024 at 3:14 pm

    Jimmy Patronis is trying to help Florida taxpayers… I personally thank him.

Comments are closed.


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