Interesting piece on Propublica.org about tax return filing. The IRS already knows how much they they think you should pay. Why not just tell you upfront? With “return free filing,” the IRS sends you a tax form already filled in with their numbers, so you know in advance what THEY think you owe. You then have several choices:
- Accept it as is and return it to the IRS.
- Make adjustments and then return it.
- File a return in another way (TurboTax, H&R Block, whatever).
For many people, they can file their return in five minutes–and for free. Other countries do this effectively, and it’s been endorsed by presidents going back to Ronald Reagan.
So why haven’t we done it? Partly because of heavy lobbying by Intuit, which sells the Turbotax software. Intuit doesn’t WANT the government making it easy for people. In 2011, their lobbying killed two bills which would have allowed taxpayers to file pre-filled returns for free and make the entire system more efficient.
So don’t be upset at the IRS for making tax returns difficult. They WANT to make it easy and free. Blame the selfish, greedy folks at Turbotax instead.