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Should you be allowed to file your taxes without a return?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Your friends from the IRS would like you to be able to file your taxes in minutes, using the benefits of modern technology, however companies such as TurboTax have successfully lobbied against the innovation, saying the government shouldn't be involved.

PHILADELPHIA, PA (Catholic Online) - In some countries, taxes are already filed online, and in seconds. The governments of Denmark, Sweden and Spain use software that pre-loads data from your employer and your bank to calculate your taxes. A taxpayer simply reviews the information for accuracy and sends it with a click.

All the hassle, and expense of tax preparation is gone.

It's known as "return-free filing" and it could save consumers some $2 billion annually in fees paid for tax preparation. It would also save hours of time, not to mention headaches.

So why hasn't it happened?

Professional tax preparers have lobbied Congress since the Regan Administration, to hold off on return-free filing. Intuit, the maker of TurboTax has led the most recent lobbying effort, saying the company "opposes IRS government tax preparation."

It makes sense, after all return-free filing would cost the company millions in revenues each year.

However, many consumers may not trust the government enough to file such forms automatically and others prefer the ability to maximize their returns by employing optimal tax strategies, which such automatic programs may not employ.

However, advocates for return-free filing say the automatic method could simply be optional, allowing those who do not want the hassle and expense to use the method at will.

The program is certainly feasible, and would save money, but distrust of the government runs deep across the United States, so it's unlikely that TurboTax will be shelved, no matter what happens.

Still, the lobbying has been effective so far and there seems to be no change on the horizon.

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