FL CFO Patronis Determined to Shut Down IRS's Direct File

FL CFO Patronis Determined to Shut Down IRS's Direct File

“This is a multi-billion-dollar solution looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
April 6, 2024

Conservatives have had a well-documented rivalry with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) continuously highlights the IRS in his “Waste Report,” and Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) has called for the abolition of the IRS. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis is now fighting the IRS in a bid to shut down its Direct File tax preparation service.

Last month, CFO Patronis joined the top financial officers of 20 other states in urging the IRS to shut down Direct File, which is a free tax preparation service. The signers argued that “Direct File will create challenges for taxpayers and state treasurers and the costs of Direct File far outweigh any potential benefits it may confer to taxpayers.”

This week, CFO Patronis reiterated his support for shutting down the program, accusing Direct File of being “more overreach by big government, wasting taxpayer dollars for services nobody’s asking for.” He further expressed that “this is a multi-billion-dollar solution looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board published an op-ed, responding to the campaign to shut Direct File down. Among the accusations made as to why CFO Patronis supports the campaign, the Board alleges it could be due to CPA firms supporting the Florida official. The Board shared the article on social media, urging CFO Patron to "leave the IRS alone," and he simply responded with "no."

In the letter directed to federal officials last month, CFO Patronis and the signers argue that state tax returns are not included in the IRS Direct File tool, warning that “taxpayers who are unaware that they must separately file state returns will not receive anticipated state refunds this spring.”

“This is significant because many taxpayers who use Direct File are likely to be lower-income and build budgets around anticipated tax refunds. Even worse, confused taxpayers who neglect to file their state returns will be at risk of incurring state penalties,” the letter reads.

“Imagine the surprise to the taxpayer who becomes subject to audit by the IRS after having filed through Direct File and having felt assurances that the tax return was prepared properly through the IRS’s own system.”

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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