Congressman Panetta Presses IRS Commissioner on Inadequate Response to Omitting MilTax, Free Tax Service for Servicemembers, in Advertisements

February 13, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) sent another letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles P. Rettig pressing him for answers about the agency’s omission of the MilTax program when advertising free tax preparation and filing programs for military servicemembers.  Today’s letter follows an earlier February 7 letter, which was not completely answered.

The IRS recently was quoted in a national publication and posted a press release promoting improvements to the Free File program and its benefits for servicemembers, without mentioning the MilTax program.  The MilTax program, run by the Department of Defense (DOD), provides free tax preparation and filing software for all military servicemembers, regardless of income, whereas Free File is only free for servicemembers earning $69,000 or less.

In his original letter to Commissioner Rettig, Congressman Panetta pointed out the issues with mentioning Free File in the context of servicemembers without mentioning MilTax.  He asks why the IRS has not advertised the program, if they have consulted with DOD on promoting MilTax, and what is preventing them from doing so. On the day the letter was received, the IRS updated its website to include MilTax on its page for military members.

“I appreciate that you take seriously my concerns regarding servicemember outreach.  I am also encouraged by the IRS’s steps on that day to update its website to provide better information for our servicemembers, and your commitment to increase awareness of all services for our military members, veterans, and their families,” wrote Congressman Panetta. “Unfortunately, [your letter] did not provide an answer as to why the IRS has neglected to mention or highlight MilTax in public outreach, if the IRS has consulted with the Department of Defense (DOD) to promote MilTax, and what is preventing the IRS from doing so.”

“Once again, I request answers to these straightforward questions,” continued Congressman Panetta.  

The full text of today’s letter can be found here.