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Each year, over a hundred million American taxpayers file tax returns, collectively spending hundreds of millions of hours and dollars every year. It's such an immense burden that when people think of the burden of paying taxes, they don't think of the money withheld from each paycheck, but of the hours they have to spend meticulously copying and tabulating information from W-2 and 1099 forms and double checking that everything was copied and added correctly. It seems like such an inevitable slog, an unfortunate but immutable consequence of living in a developed country with income taxes.

Income taxes are progressive (ie, the rich chip in a lot more than the middle class, and the middle class chip in a lot more than the poor), and they provide a lot of revenue to fund government programs. Those are probably the primary reasons conservatives hate income taxes. But when they talk in public, conservatives frequently couch their objections to the current income tax in terms of how complicated it is. They use "tax simplification" as a code for making taxes less progressive. Many of them even recommend replacing progressive income taxes with flat sales taxes, which hit the poor hardest and the rich least.

Progressives can perform a good government initiative and take the "tax simplification" mantle away from conservatives by simplifying tax returns for all Americans... by having the IRS fill out our tax returns for us!

In the US, the way taxes currently work, tax information reporting forms such as the W-2, 1098, 1099, and 5498 forms that are filled out by employers and financial institutions are sent both to taxpayers and to the IRS. Taxpayers copy and tabulate income and tax withholding from the various forms they receive into their tax return forms to determine their tax liability, for which most Americans use specialized software or paid tax preparers. If withholding is lower than total liability, the taxpayer pays the difference to the government, and if withholding is higher than total liability, the government pays the difference to the taxpayer as a refund. The IRS separately calculates the same information from the identical tax reporting information it receives in order to verify that the information in the tax return is correct.

The biggest burden in this process is in aggregating the information from the various tax information reporting forms into tax preparation software or paper return forms. There is a huge number of information that needs to be copied and tabulated without any mistakes. The forms themselves can be confusing and difficult to read. As a result, it can take hours to prepare taxes, even though with modern computer software tax preparation is mostly just data entry.

This whole process should be completely unnecessary. Instead of aggregating all this information from scratch, the IRS should provide every American with employment or investment income with a pre-filled provisional tax return, either by mail or online or both, containing all information aggregated from the tax reporting forms and using the standard deduction and exemption, and could be immediately filed as the final tax return (or even automatically filed for the taxpayer) if he or she does not file an amendment by the tax return deadline. The provisional tax return could be amended with corrections and with deductions or credits that were not available to the IRS. In fact, the IRS is already required to tabulate your tax liabilities for you to catch any mistakes you make in your filing, so this would require almost no changes other than allowing the IRS to release all this information to you instead of forcing you to duplicate its work. For most Americans who aren't self-employed and don't claim complicated itemized deductions, a quick check of the provisional return for obvious errors would be sufficient.

To be clear, this proposal will not modify tax liability one bit. Everyone would still pay the same amount of taxes. Rates and deductions would remain the same. The only difference is that we would spend five minutes filing our tax returns instead of two hours.

Think this is some pie in the sky fantasy that could never be done in practice? Guess again. In the UK, most taxpayers don't even need to file a tax return unless they're self-employed or in the top 5% of earners. In the US, we already have all the same mechanisms in place: income from most employment and investment is reported directly to the IRS and employers withhold money as we earn it. So why not save Americans hundreds of millions of hours and dollars, and have the IRS release our tax returns for us?

This is a simple, good government tweak to existing policy. It is unobjectionable enough that we might be able to build bipartisan support for it. So if you support making taxes quick and easy, please contact your house representative and senators, and sign my petition to the White House.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for making Americans' lives easy and simple (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, phonegery, Smoh, NM Ray

    We spend a lot of time doing taxes every year, when the IRS already does them for us. Let's remove this unnecessary complication from our lives for good.

  •  I filed my taxes with TurboTax (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plooto, twigg

    I have two Schedule Cs and a variety of 1099s each year, plus W-2s from my main job and a little side job. Admittedly, I'm single and without kids, but I do have a mortgage in the mix. It took me less than an hour to get everything entered, and my returns were accepted by state and federal within half an hour.

    The only way they could make it easier is to have TurboTax automagically pull in my information over the internet, and that day is nigh -- I was able to pull my interest income right in via mint.com this time around.

    Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

    by kismet on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:29:12 AM PST

    •  Which is mainly to say (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery, Smoh

      the technology already exists to make the process easy and do a user-friendly automated online walk through of each tax category.

      It's just that right now I have to pay $70 for the privilege.

      Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

      by kismet on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:32:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The point is, the IRS can do this automatically (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, phonegery, Smoh, NM Ray

      and for free and available to everyone without having to seek out private preparation software, because the IRS already has all this information. It should not even take 45 minutes to do taxes; the government should do them for us.

      That said, it is true that tax preparation software has made filing tax returns dramatically easier and I am thankful for that.

      •  Personally (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gooserock, plooto, footNmouth, miss SPED

        having the IRS do my takes strikes me as a conflict of interest.

        Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?

        by jsfox on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:05:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  See the Goolsbee proposal below (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh, denise b

          IRS can pre-fill based on the info it already has on you, and you can choose to use it or not.

          •  I did n/t (0+ / 0-)

            Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?

            by jsfox on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:13:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  It also gives a person the ability to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adam B, plooto

            not declare income at relatively low risk, if the IRS did not already identify it as income.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:01:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You can already determine what income the IRS has (0+ / 0-)

              not already identified through tax information reporting forms by looking at whether it was declared in your W-2's, 1099's, etc. Any tax reporting information that goes to the IRS also goes to you. If you are making income that is not reported for you to the IRS, then you have to report this yourself. This should be pretty similar to how things work under current law. It is up to the IRS to investigate and audit tax returns which they suspect do not report all income received. The only difference will be that under this proposal, it would be easier to either mistakenly file the provisional tax return without realizing that one is required to report additional income, and it would be more obvious to potential tax cheats with unreported income that the IRS has not received formal reporting on this income. A dedicated tax cheat can already determine which income is reported and which isn't.

              That said, the vast majority of Americans have most or all of their income reported to the IRS by their employers and financial institutions, so I don't expect it to be an enormous issue.

        •  They already pretty much do most of your taxes (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hestal, Smoh, MKSinSA, NM Ray

          As I mentioned in the diary, under current policy, the IRS separately calculates your liability and withholding from information provided to it by your employer and financial institutions, plus any additional non-reported income and deductions that you include in the return you filed. If your return doesn't match what they calculate, they automatically make that adjustment and notify you, whether it is higher or lower (and yes, I have actually seen the IRS inform a friend that he erroneously overpaid his taxes and sent him compensation). Under current policy OR under my proposal, if the IRS makes a mistake when calculating your tax liability, it is your responsibility to follow up and dispute it. The only difference is that under my proposal, you can see if the IRS made any mistakes before you file the return instead of waiting until after.

          The real conflict of interest is with companies that make tax preparation software. They want to make filing tax returns impossible to do without outside help so they can preserve their cash cows.

    •  Filed mine with TaxAct (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plooto

      One hour from starting I was notified that the IRS had accepted the return.

      I can see how it might get complex, but for most it should be a simple business.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:55:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Turbotax can (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plooto

      automatically pull a lot of your info especially W-2 info

      Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?

      by jsfox on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:03:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Intuit hates this idea (0+ / 0-)

      They have a large line item in their K Street budget labelled "Don't let pre-filled returns happen". I bet HR Block and others pay the same lobbyists, too.

      "I am not interested in why man commits evil, I want to know why he does good (here and there) or at least feels that he ought to."
      --Vaclav Havel

      by drobnox on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 05:46:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Austan Goolsbee proposed in 2006 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, plooto, phonegery, Smoh, NM Ray

    worth reading:

    This paper proposes a program known as the "Simple Return," which would make it much easier for the millions of taxpayers with a relatively simple tax status to file their taxes. The Simple Return might apply to as many as 40 percent of Americans, for whom it could save up to 225 million hours of time and more than $2 billion a year in tax preparation fees. Converting the time savings into a monetary value by multiplying the hours saved by the wage rates of typical taxpayers, the Simple Return system would be the equivalent of reducing the tax burden for this group by about $44 billion over ten years. A Government Accountability Office report estimated in 1996 that a plan similar to the one proposed here could save the IRS close to $36 million per year by reducing the number of errors in tax filings and the subsequent need for investigations.

    Around two-thirds of taxpayers take only the standard deduction and do not itemize. Frequently, all of their income is solely from wages from one employer and interest income from one bank. For almost all of these people, the IRS already receives information about each of their sources of income directly from their employers and banks. The IRS then asks these same people to spend time gathering documents and filling out tax forms, or to spend money paying tax preparers to do it. In essence, these taxpayers are just copying into a tax return information that the IRS already receives independently. The Simple Return would have the IRS take the information about income directly from the employers and banks and, if the person's tax status were simple enough, send that taxpayer a return prefilled with the information. The program would be voluntary. Anyone who preferred to fill out his own tax form, or to pay a tax preparer to do it, would just throw the Simple Return away and file his taxes the way he does now. For the millions of taxpayers who could use the Simple Return, however, filing a tax return would entail nothing more than checking the numbers, signing the return, and then either sending a check or getting a refund.

  •  Yeah, I want the IRS to know every detail of my (0+ / 0-)

    life so they can correctly file my deductions and withholdings. First I'll hand over all my private financial records. Then my medical records. And finally any thing else they might need.

    That'll save me the hassle of filing my taxes. I can just write them a check in April. Phew! What a relief that'll be!

    What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:31:13 AM PST

    •  IRS already has all the information the diarist is (7+ / 0-)

      talking about.

      •  Exactly. I tried to make it clear in the diary (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, MKSinSA, phonegery, Smoh

        that the IRS would be using information that is already available to it under current law.

      •  IRS does not already have data on such items as (5+ / 0-)

        your medical expenses, alimony paid/received, sales taxes paid (in certain states), charital contributions, property taxes paid...

        My Karma just ran over your Dogma

        by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:47:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And it won't. If you need to adjust for those, you (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam B, plooto, Smoh

          have to file a return. But for many people it's not necessary since they don't have these expenses.

        •  As I mentioned in the diary, those with (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MKSinSA, phonegery, Smoh

          complicated tax scenarios that include information that is not directly reported to the IRS (including most deductions, as well as sources of income that do not come from an employer) would be required to enter an amendment to the provisional tax return provided to them, or they could file from scratch.

          •  No, they won't have to file a separate return. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            plooto, Smoh

            There are several ways to address this situation, one of them is for the taxpayer to give permission for the IRS to obtain the data from the other sources. Not everyone is paranoid about the IRS.

            In any case there are other system functions that would make this problem vanish.

            Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

            by hestal on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:32:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The IRS can't figure out peoples' deductions (0+ / 0-)

              Too many deductions depend on the purpose for which a good or service is used. Even if the IRS were inclined to figure out whether the Jon Smith with the account at XYZ Dry Cleaners is Jonathan Douglas Smith (SSN 123-00-4567), it would only know that he spent $300 on dry cleaning, not whether Jon was cleaning a work uniform (deductible) or a dress shirt (not deductible).

              Sure, it can include a couple big ones, like mortgage interest and state and local taxes (other than sales tax), it's not going to calculate itemized deductions for individuals.

              •  Of course they can, a system of (0+ / 0-)

                integrated systems will be able to make that information available.

                I don't mean to be a smart-ass but your reaction is bound up in the way things are today. They can be changed, and it won't be hard, technically, to do. The real problem is people's attitudes.

                Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

                by hestal on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 05:01:28 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not saying it's technologically impossible (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm saying it is politically infeasible (and perhaps inconsistent with a free society) that the IRS would every be permitted (or have any desire) to collect and analyse enough data to determine that the 64-color box of Crayola crayons that were purchased at the Quincy, Massachusetts Office Max were purchased by Sarah Alice Williams-Davis (288-41-1673) for use in her second-grade classroom (excluded from income) as opposed to being a gift for her daughter (fully taxable) or part of the "Rainy Day Fun Basket" she's putting together for the PTSA silent auction (tax deductible).

                  •  I knew what you were saying, and I am (0+ / 0-)

                    saying that it can be done, but it won't be done by people who just throw up their hands and quit.

                    But don't worry, there are lots of people who don't quit and they will get it done, and you will get the benefit of it.

                    Just because you can't see the way forward, doesn't mean that others can't.

                    Attitude is everything. Try not to discourage others.

                    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

                    by hestal on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 03:37:30 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  No (0+ / 0-)

              they really couldn't get everything.

              We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

              by denise b on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:56:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, they can. They can get everything. (0+ / 0-)

                How do I know this? Because it is done today within the current system. So, the data are available.

                But it won't be done by people who just throw up their hands and quit.

                But don't worry, there are lots of people who don't quit and they will get it done, and you will get the benefit of it.

                Just because you can't see the way forward, doesn't mean that others can't.

                Attitude is everything. Try not to discourage others.

                Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

                by hestal on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 03:39:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  One correction: (0+ / 0-)

          They don't have that data yet.

          If that data is part of your federal tax filing, they'll have it in a few months, when you voluntarily give it to them on the tax return you fill out.

          If they were going to have all of that information in a few months anyway, I'm not sure I see the harm in their having it before then.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:22:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  They already know most of the relevant details... (0+ / 0-)

      ...and it's not like they weren't going to get the rest of them anyway when you file your tax return.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:15:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The key being "relevant" (0+ / 0-)

        Not everything in my records is, or should be, relevant or known to the IRS. It's funny, on a near daily basis we see folks bemoaning government intrusion into our lives and privacy. But if it makes filing taxes easier then by all means, lets give them everything! Sorry, I can't support that.

        What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

        by ontheleftcoast on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:19:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This post is about the "relevant" information... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          plooto, Smoh

          ...that the IRS already has access to—the income filings and various other pieces of information that are being sent to the IRS anyway.

          If they've got that information anyway, why not just offer the vast majority of taxpayers who don't use all of those various deductions the option of skipping the part where they can make a costly error?

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:25:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe I'm biased from past dealing with the IRS (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            miss SPED

            They've hauled me in for audits on multiple occasions. And every time they were looking for "relevant" data they apparently didn't have. I've never had to pay them a dime from the audits but that hasn't stopped them asking for upwards of $50,000 in penalties and taxes.

            From my perspective anyone that trusts the IRS to know what they owe isn't being well-served.

            What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

            by ontheleftcoast on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:02:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you're getting audited for >$50K... (0+ / 0-)

              ...You're most certainly an outlier who probably files a comparatively complicated return anyway.  

              Probably upwards of 75% of US taxpayers don't really need to file a return, because, other than perhaps the number of exemptions they're entitled to and who those exemptions are, they're simple W2 wage employees who take the standard deduction or whose itemized deductions are similarly simple, composed of 1098 and 1099-G data, mostly.

              In other words: This proposal would help you just as much as the current system does, which is not at all.  OTOH, this wouldn't hurt you either, since you do a tax return anyway.

        •  You are ignoring the details of the diary (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh, Praxical, drobnox

          Under the proposal I outlined in the diary, you would still be filing a return containing exactly the same details you are required to fill out today. The only difference is that taxpayers would be provided with a provisional return pre-filled with income and withholding details which under existing law are already known to the IRS through W-2 and 1099 forms. No new information would be provided to the IRS. If there are additional details required to complete the return (such as medical deductions or charitable contributions), they would need to be filled in by the taxpayer, just as they are under current tax law.

          There are certainly valid criticisms. Other commenters have said it would not be a significant improvement on time and effort over existing tax preparation software, or that there is conflict of interest for the IRS to pre-fill tax returns, which is valid and appreciated criticism which I can at least debate with. But your suggestion that this would provide the IRS with new access to details about your life is just factually incorrect. The only change is that the IRS would provide you with information it already aggregates using information it already receives.

          •  And you're ignoring what I'm saying (0+ / 0-)

            Many parts of the tax code require more than what the IRS already knows. For example, medical expenses. Unless you have fairly high expenses you won't qualify for deductions on your medical. So for the IRS to know to get this right they'd have to know all about your medical expenses whether they need them or not.

            Yeah, you want the IRS to send out some pre-filled out form that most Americans can just sign. But from personal experience, even when I filled out a 1040EZ, trusting the IRS to get my taxes right isn't something I'm going to endorse. Ever.

            What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

            by ontheleftcoast on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:07:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  As mentioned in the diary and my previous comment, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              drobnox

              if you want to deduct expenses that are not known to the IRS, you would have to amend your provisional return to include the deduction. The IRS would not be able to get your medical expense deduction right because they would not know your medical expenses, which is a known limitation, so you couldn't just sign and submit it. And if you don't want the IRS to do your taxes for you, you could just ignore the provisional return and file your own from scratch.

              I feel as if we're talking past each other. I acknowledge the IRS is not all-knowing and should not be all-knowing, and I acknowledge that my proposal would not save all Americans from doing some tax preparation work on top of what the IRS can calculate for them, but for an enormous number of Americans the IRS could provide an exact tax return, or at least a useful starting point.

  •  People spend a lot of time in checkout lines (0+ / 0-)

    at  stores as well.  If only grocery shopping didn't waste as much time each week as filling out a tax return once a year.  Sheesh.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:50:47 AM PST

    •  If there is a way we can simply and easily improve (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery, Smoh

      the manner in which Americans interact with their government, we should do it. Again, this isn't a pie in the sky proposal that would cost billions of dollars or create a new program or anything; it's something the IRS is already doing and just not providing the end results to the public. Even if it's only once a year, it would save many Americans a chunk of time and effort and sometimes money that they are needlessly spending now, and it would reduce errors in tax filing. There is evidence in a comment above suggesting it would even save the IRS money. So it seems pretty win win to me, even if it (as I acknowledged in the diary) it's just a minor tweak with small but real benefits at no cost to the government. I'm not saying that saving people a couple hours a year is some sort of all-encompassing fix for every inconvenience in our lives, and I'm sorry if I left that impression. The whole point is that this is something that might not require a big fight to get through Congress and could build bipartisan support, so we could make a small improvement to Americans' lives without expending political capital.

      Also, I don't know which grocery stores you go to, but if waiting in a checkout line took me an hour I would be (I think justifiably) very frustrated with the grocery store's management, to say the least.

      •  I'd love to get the pre filled out return (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        plooto, NM Ray

        listing all the numbers they have.  

        Time is a long river.

        by phonegery on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:12:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There is no technical problem with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh

        shopping online, checking out online and then picking up the groceries in person already packed and ready to go. This would make an enormous difference in the overhead that grocery chains have to pay for the big buildings and big utilities bills.

        Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

        by hestal on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:34:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  When grocery stores find... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that their lines are too long, they open up more lanes to shorten them, if possible.

      And much as it may seem like it in some marriages, it's not a federal crime to accidentally forget that your spouse asked you to pick up milk when you went to the grocery store.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:18:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary. This tax system can be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh

    made part of a system of systems that would manage everyone's bank accounts, credit cards (even issue a special citizen's credit card with special citizen rates and features), investments (even give special citizen rates on trades and special rates on mutual funds etc.), special citizen mortgage rates and features, and much more. The technology is already here. And there are simple ways to implement this system of integrated systems.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:28:58 PM PST

  •  The First Step should be that the IRS send a Bill (0+ / 0-)

    And, then, the TaxPayer has the option to check the numbers that the IRS has, adjust the details, the unusual medical expenses, the number of dependents, and explain the changes.

    If the numbers are right, pay the bill. If the numbers are wrong, explain the changes and submit the changes.

    It's a system that only the GOP could hate!

    Dick Cheney said, "Pi$$ on 'em!" And, Ronald Reagan replied, "That's a Great Idea. Let's Call it 'Trickle Down Economics!"

    by NM Ray on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 03:50:39 PM PST

  •  The IRS (0+ / 0-)

    has gone the private route when it comes to online tax preparation, so I assume they don't want to develop the software systems themselves that would accomplish what you're talking about. I could see them providing the information to the private vendors like TurboTax.

    It would be a help to me, even though I itemize and I'd still have some work to do - it would save me a couple of hours anyway. I have investments and it's very tedious putting in all the details.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:15:51 PM PST

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