Tax Day Could Be Much Easier

Chris Hayes and Ezra Klein, MSNBC Contributor, discuss how filing  taxes could be much easier.

There is a very simple way that tax day could stop sucking for tens of millions of Americans. The IRS could simply do their taxes for them but industry advocates are standing in the way of a plan to allow the IRS to auto-prepare taxes.

According to Klein, “The IRS already knows what you make, and they know what you’re probably going to owe. So they do your taxes for you. They send you the tax return and they let you make any changes you want. If you want to make your taxes more complicated, great. If you don’t — and most people don’t — you can simply sign off, and that’s it. You’re done.”

Austan Goolsbee, an expert on taxes, he’s run the numbers on this plan. He says having the IRS auto-prepare taxes would save Americans more than $2 billion in tax preparation fees a year, and 225 million hours in time spent preparing our taxes.

It’s already how taxes work in Denmark, Sweden and Spain. California did this as an experiment, and 98 percent of the people surveyed in the program said they’d do it again.

There’s legislation in Congress right now that would make it law but it keeps failing because the people who make money doing your taxes now, like Intuit, the makers of TurboTax, doesn’t want the IRS destroying their business.

Intuit makes more than $1 billion every year from TurboTax and related services.

So it was just good business for them to spend almost $2 million trying to kill California’s experiment and the more than $11 million they have spent lobbying Washington in recent years.

Intuit’s has powerful friends, like Grover Norquist, king of the anti-tax forces. He hates this idea, because if taxes are too easy, then people won`t hate them as much.

Norquist says the IRS is “trying to socialize all tax preparation in America.”

Having the government use the information you’re already giving them to prepare an automatic tax return that you can completely ignore if you want to, that is totally what Karl Marx had in mind.

 

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