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Free On-Line Electronic Tax Filing Agreement

III. Scope of Offerings

  1. The Consortium will offer Free Services for eligible taxpayers (taxpayers meeting the qualifications for free offerings) from individual commercial sites. Such offerings, when taken in the aggregate, are intended to provide for Free Services to be available to 60% or more of taxpayers. If at any point the Consortium's aggregate offerings of Free Services are available to fewer than 60 % of taxpayers, the IRS may notify the Consortium of that fact. After receipt of such notice, the Consortium will have six months within which to raise the availability of such offerings to at least 60% of taxpayers. If the Consortium fails to achieve 60% within such sixmonth period, the IRS may terminate this Agreement. In making this decision, the IRS agrees to take into account the extent to which actual usage of Free Services has increased. Consortium offerings, taken together, will provide eligible taxpayers with a reasonable assurance that: (1) Free Services will be available on demand, and (2) these services will provide the ability to file the same federal tax forms which are fileable and available in the comparable paid on- line services offered by a selected Consortium Participant.
  2. The Consortium shall accept offerings only from entities that:
    1. Provide electronic, on- line tax preparation and filing of individual income tax returns:
    2. Will offer and can provide Free Services to a number of individual taxpayers, which equals or exceeds 10 percent (10%) of the number of individual income tax returns filed in the base year (CY 2001).
    3. Offer on-line software approved by the IRS that generates returns that can be sent to the IRS via an IRS-approved channel.
    4. Are Authorized IRS E-File Providers in accord with IRS Rev. Proc. 2000-31.
    5. Are in compliance with applicable law, including but not limited to, Department of Treasury/IRS rules, including but not limited to 31 C.F.R. Part 10, IRS Rev. Proc. 2000-31, current versions of IRS Publications 1345 and 1345-A, and 26 U.S.C. §7216.
    6. Demonstrate the competence and capability to deliver their free offerings. This competence and capability may be demonstrated either by providing evidence of prior experience in providing online or electronic filing services or by self- certification. Such selfcertification shall be reasonably and objectively determined by the Consortium, taking into account the above referenced need for competence and capability and the intent of the Agreement to avoid unnecessary barriers to entry. Consortium Participants must have adequate capacity to meet the expected demand for their Free Services. In addition to initial Participants, the Consortium will accept later qualified applicants as Consortium Participants.
    7. Have a security seal certification program, from a third party agreed to by the Consortium and IRS. Certification will be based upon an assessment of the system's ability to protect taxpayer data.
    8. Comply with the privacy provisions of 26 U.S.C. §7216. Have a privacy seal certification program from a third party agreed to by the Consortium and IRS. Consortium participants are encouraged to use software that will enable their websites to state their privacy practices in a standard machine-readable format that can be retrieved automatically and interpreted easily by users. Consortium Participants shall also agree that provisions of Free Services shall not be conditioned on obtaining an eligible taxpayer's consent to solicitations of additional business.
    9. Will not contain or provide links to inappropriate content.
    10. Clearly disclose to users their customer service support options and privacy policy.
    11. Agree to have at least one link to the IRS web site (
  3. The Consortium will take reasonable steps to publicize the criteria for Consortium participation. The Consortium will provide to the IRS, on request, the names of unsuccessful applicants for Consortium participation and the reason for their rejection.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 16-Jun-2016