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View Diary: The astroturf campaign designed to keep filing your taxes a hassle (217 comments)

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  •  What a bunch of Sec. 180. (3+ / 0-)

    Shows just how little you know about tax prep.

    The federal government, after all, gets all that information from your employers and from your financial institutions.
     There's all kinds of tax data the govt. does not get from employers or financial institutions.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 04:55:16 PM PDT

    •  There's less and less as time goes on (6+ / 0-)

      If you don't own your own business, and get income from your salary as well as a brokerage because you have some stock and mutual funds, the IRS has all that.  Now that it's been phased in, they also have all of the cost basis information for almost all transactions.

      Your state income tax information is on your W2. Interest from home loans could be reported.

      The main item they don't have a handle on is charitable contributions, so there would have to be a way to report that.

      •  The gov't doesn't even get the income data ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norm in Chicago

        until the end of January.  It would take them months to compile it, and given their antiquated IT systems, their error rate would probably approach 90%, causing nightmares to taxpayers and preparers.

        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

        by Neuroptimalian on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 08:00:28 PM PDT

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        •  Neither do I (0+ / 0-)
          doesn't even get the income data until the end of January
          so that's not a useful distinction. As others have pointed out, it's all not-very-complicated math--which computers do quite well, despite your outrageously exaggerated error rate assumption--and once all the figures are in, the filing would be completed virtually instantly. Most people would get their refunds back sooner, which might more than make up (in their eyes) any small errors, and bigger errors can happen in any system used.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 08:57:35 AM PDT

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          •  People can already get refunds quickly, ... (0+ / 0-)

            it merely depends upon how early they file their returns.  There's no requirement that anyone wait until April 15th, they only have to wait until they receive their W-2s and 1099s from those from whom they received their income.  Adding the government into the middle of the equation can ONLY cause delay, not speed things up.

            Oh, and my error rate assumption concerns the government's inability to quickly and accurately compile ALL relevant data and return it to taxpayers, not the ability of computers to add and subtract.

            "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

            by Neuroptimalian on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 11:39:08 AM PDT

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            •  The IRS (0+ / 0-)

              does, in fact, compile the information received from employers and others required to file information returns quickly and accurately.

              Your 90% figure is pulled out of your ass.

              "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

              by Old Left Good Left on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 07:12:47 PM PDT

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              •  Believe what you will. (0+ / 0-)

                It's an estimate based upon comments of insiders.  They should know.  Their IT systems are so antiquated they're barely useable anymore.  

                "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                by Neuroptimalian on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 10:43:59 PM PDT

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                •  It's not a matter of belief (0+ / 0-)

                  and you're full of shit.

                  The IRS reviews returns when they are received to confirm that information from W-2s and 1099s are included.  If there is a discrepancy, a notice is generated.

                  On your theory, 90% of taxpayers would receive a notice correcting their returns--either demanding more taxes or giving a refund.

                  That isn't happening.

                  "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

                  by Old Left Good Left on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:14:39 AM PDT

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                  •  The IRS doesn't review returns ... (0+ / 0-)

                    "when they are received".  Yes, there is an initial review ... done to try to prevent fraud.  Beyond that, adjustment letters are often not sent out until two plus years after the return was filed, allowing the IRS the opportunity to compare data numerous times over that period to cut down on the IRS's error rate that would otherwise occur.  Even then their assessment of their data is often wrong and, ultimately, no changes are made to the returns filed after the involved taxpayers again provide the data that the IRS computers somehow missed.

                    The IRS IT system is grossly antiquated and under-manned.  Period.  

                    Good day.

                    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                    by Neuroptimalian on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 09:52:40 AM PDT

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                    •  Really (0+ / 0-)

                      Returns are input upon receipt and there is almost immediate matching against W-2 and 1099 data. Returns that are challenged two years after filing are almost always challenged on substantive grounds, not mere omissions or errors of W-2 or 1099 data.

                      Given that you don't know that, I feel comfortable that the rest of your comment is equally misinformed.

                      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

                      by Old Left Good Left on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 10:43:30 AM PDT

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                      •  Input upon receipt (depending upon backlog), (0+ / 0-)

                        yes; matching against W-2 and 1099 data, yes, but only cursorily to attempt to thwart fraud attempts.  More thorough review is done MUCH later, thus the multi-year delay in challenging taxpayer assertions.  

                        My point is that the IRS would not consider sending out pre-filled forms until the data had been reviewed more thoroughly or else chaos would certainly ensue.  Therefore, there is no way the IRS will support this proposal until such time as their systems are significantly upgraded.  Given their budget constraints, it's easily predictable that the IRS will never see itself as being adequately equipped to take on this unnecessary burden.  

                        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                        by Neuroptimalian on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 11:49:38 AM PDT

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                        •  You do know (0+ / 0-)

                          that California has been doing this for years, don't you?

                          "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

                          by Old Left Good Left on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 12:11:37 PM PDT

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                          •  Nope, I left California years ago, ... (0+ / 0-)

                            partly because judicial corruption had become intolerable.

                            Now that you've informed me of California's use of pre-filled forms, I'm not surprised to also learn (after doing minimal research) that it is barely utilized ... only 3% of taxpayers participated as of 2009.  I don't doubt that the rate has increased some since then, but probably not by very much.  I found no information about their error rate; I doubt it's negligible.  And unless it's negligible, what's the point?  

                            That said, I found this interesting tidbit online:

                            The I.R.S., however, isn’t rushing to offer returns that are already filled in. In the 2009 report to Congress of its Taxpayer Advocate Service, it noted that during the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama proposed giving taxpayers “the option of pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return.” The report said “it is not feasible at this time” because the agency receives W-2 data from the Social Security Administration and 1099 data from financial institutions too late in the filing season, “much later than most eligible taxpayers would be willing to wait.”
                            For those incapable of preparing their own simple tax returns, it appears that this dream will still have to wait.  For the rest of us, especially those with returns to prepare that are more complicated than the basic EZ, it'll never amount to anything worth bothering with, even if it ever is offered.

                            "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                            by Neuroptimalian on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 06:48:57 PM PDT

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        •  Complete and utter bullshit n/t (0+ / 0-)

          "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

          by Old Left Good Left on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 09:22:25 AM PDT

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        •  February, not January. n/t (0+ / 0-)

          If you don't watch news, you're un-informed. If you watch Fox news, you're mis-informed. (paraphrasing Mark Twain)

          by edg on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 11:02:32 AM PDT

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          •  January 31st, as of the last time I had to deal .. (0+ / 0-)

            with the subject.  Many W-2 issuers do so earlier in the month, but others wait until the deadline to allow the maximum time possible to check for and prevent errors and avoid having to issue amended forms.

            "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

            by Neuroptimalian on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 11:41:59 AM PDT

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            •  No. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Neuroptimalian

              W-2s are due to the employee by January 31st. But the deadline for submitting the government copy of W-2s and the W-3 summary data is February 28th. In the comment I responded to, you said "The gov't doesn't even get the income data until the end of January."

              If you don't watch news, you're un-informed. If you watch Fox news, you're mis-informed. (paraphrasing Mark Twain)

              by edg on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 10:07:08 AM PDT

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      •  Charitable deductions (0+ / 0-)

        A lot of people don't exceed the standard deduction.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 10:11:53 AM PDT

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    •  Where have you been? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ncarolinagirl, bryduck, Odysseus

      I own a small business. The Feds gets my credit card data from my merchant processors. They get 1099's of my inventory purchases from my suppliers. They get 1099's from my bank.

      There's not very much tax data the govt. does not get.

      If you don't watch news, you're un-informed. If you watch Fox news, you're mis-informed. (paraphrasing Mark Twain)

      by edg on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 06:08:43 PM PDT

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      •  Yes there is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover, puzzled

        they only get some inventory purchases. They have no idea what your ending inventory is. They have no idea how much you spent on new equipment or what kind of depreciation deduction you get from your old equipment. They have no idea what you spent on rent or gas or on office supplies or insurance. Unless 100% of your sales are through credit cards, they have no idea what your gross income is. If you own a business, there are 10 times the information that they don't have compared to what they do have.

        But that's really beside the point. This program won't ever work for small business owners (or business owners of any kind). It's designed for simple returns.

        •  But the original commmenter ... (0+ / 0-)

          said it wouldn't work for simple returns because "There's all kinds of tax data the govt. does not get from employers or financial institutions."

          I was merely pointing out that the government already gets a bunch of tax data even for small businesses, which have a far more complex tax situation than wage workers.

          And I didn't even mention quarterly estimated tax reporting (which is based on estimated net income) and withholding tax reporting (which includes an entry for salary paid to employees).

          If you don't watch news, you're un-informed. If you watch Fox news, you're mis-informed. (paraphrasing Mark Twain)

          by edg on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 11:09:09 AM PDT

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