Really disappointed to learn how much Intuit is lobbying AGAINST measures to make tax filing easier for individuals.
There are plenty of things in my taxes that the government does not already know about, like I have some self-employment and there is not one thing about it they would already know about. Even though my investment sales are reported, I still have to deal with cost basis. (Even on the covered shares, because the financial company isn't using the same method I am.)
Furthermore, I don't trust the government. You really want them taking control of your taxes? Just like I don't do anything else on "auto," I don't want my taxes on auto. That just gives them more control. I have twice had letters from the IRS saying I owed more tax because of something "I screwed up" on my taxes, and yet, both times they were completely wrong, and I had to waste a ton of my time proving they don't know their own tax laws.
If it was simply my W-2 income, that might be one thing. But it's not. For people who do have simple taxes, they can probably use the free stuff anyway. I can't use any of that stuff. And I can't afford an accountant. (I am an accountant, but I'm not a tax accountant, but I'd be ashamed of myself if I had to hire one.)
Instead of making tax FILING easy, how about the idea of making tax LAWS easier? There was a time when filing taxes was voluntary, but things were a lot more simple then. Keep in mind it was that same government that made it so complicated to begin with!
It's not one or the other. The way it should work (and does work in other western countries) is, you log in to check your data (which is already supplied to the government by banks and employers) and if everything is correct, click "Okay"...and you're done. Simple and free. When a person such as yourself wishes to opt out, it would become your responsibility to use tax software, hire a CPA, or whatever is necessary to "tell the government" how much you owe.
It's not a grand conspiracy to give big government more control over your life... it's the government working properly, for you, to save money and to keep corporations from taking over your life.
The IRS already knows what 90% of Americans owe, and for them there should be no intermediary; we should be able to click "Okay," and move on with our lives.
They already control your taxes, and they know most of what you owe anyway. This has nothing to do with government control, because a simplified tax code and the ability to pay automatically wouldn't take away your right to do your taxes yourself, it would just give the rest of us the option of a simple return without corporations getting in the way and without a trip to a CPA. TurboTax almost never works properly, and when it fails, it costs time, money, and aggravation.
I think a few of you can't read. To begin with, the original post said nothing about simplifying the tax code. They were talking about the filing process. I said it would make more sense for them to simplify the taxes laws themselves.
I think some people also missed the part about the IRS screwing up and sending me notices that I owed more taxes. I don't need to hear about Turbo Tax always messing things up - the IRS messes things up. So it's OK if they mess up, but not OK when Turbo Tax messes up? Or is that just the automatic hatred of corporations? (And while you MUST do your taxes, no one is actually making you use Turbo Tax, and I am capable of doing my taxes manually, so no corporation is in control of me.)
For people who look at some data, decide everything is right and click okay, will they notice if the IRS has messed something up? You do realize that the vast majority of people would probably never know the difference. One of the errors they made and notified me about was nothing at all complicated, and was in fact something that would more affect lower income families, the ones who are the least likely to know if their information is correct, and the least likely to know what the tax laws were that caused this error to happen. It was because they changed a law, I did it correctly, but the IRS messed it up and claimed I owed more. I can almost guarantee you that the average person qualifying for this credit would never have realized that the IRS was messing up their law change and would have just paid the extra tax. Some of you have a little too much faith in people who are too ignorant to know the different, but that's who gets hurts.
So it's not just about certain people who want to have control over doing their own taxes. There are laws that will affect people, not related to information obtained from a bank or employee, that they really won't understand or know anything about, and will just have to trust the government, even though the government screws up too!
It still boils down to: do you really trust the government that much? I don't care what they already know. Not to mention that if they got the opportunity to start doing things behind people's back, they'll do it, and a lot of people would never know. (Because they already do things behind people's back.) Quite personally, I find this trust of the government to be on the scary side, and the more people just trust things and shrug it off like this, the more scary it gets.
(Please note that nothing I posted is meant to support Turbo Tax. Just talking about the concept.)