October 2, 2012

Hon. Robert J. Bentley, M.D.


600 Dexter Avenue  

Montgomery, AL 36130


Dear Governor Bentley:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our membership throughout the state of Alabama, I am writing to express strong opposition to the Department of Revenue's plan to implement a government owned and operated tax preparation service, known as TAP, effective October 20, 2012.

The government should never seek to compete with private sector employers who are providing excellent service. We therefore respectfully request that your office intervene and make every effort to reverse this ill-advised decision and restore Alabama's Free File program.

For years, approximately 27,000 Alabama taxpayers have had access to free, privately provided tax preparation services via the Alabama Free File program. This public-private partnership is available to thousands of Alabama residents for free ­ and costs the state nothing to operate. Until now, the Alabama government has never inappropriately sought to compete with the private sector.

ATR believes it makes no sense to replace a successful private sector service, which is available for free, with an unproven government-run program. This extremely misguided idea will not only grow Alabama’s tax-collecting bureaucracy, it will also add to the cost of running state government now and in the future.

We also believe that allowing state tax collectors to act as tax preparers under any circumstance would create a significant conflict of interest. Despite assurances to the contrary, we fundamentally do not believe that state tax collectors can, or will, fairly advise taxpayers how to legitimately reduce their tax bills when questions arise.

Times are tough. Alabama’s taxpayers cannot afford ­ and should not be asked ­ to fund the creation or operation of a costly new government program ­ especially one as unnecessary and harmful as this proposal.  I therefore respectfully request that you do everything in your power to block this initiative. Thank you for your attention to this matter.



Grover G. Norquist

President, Americans for Tax Reform

Full Letter PDF