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TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

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Here’s an interesting look into trying to fight the tax lobby:

Two years ago, there was a story on NPR’s Planet Money about people trying to simplify tax return filling with something called ReadyReturn: Episode 760: Tax Hero. (That episode was reported with Priceonomics. You can read a version of that story on their website.)

Spoiler alert: Intuit is not a fan.
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Here in Australia the ATO switched to online tax returns 3 years ago, (before then they had their own software you had to download and install): log in, fill it out, submit, done.

For an individual it takes about 60 minutes if you include a coffee break, most of it gets pre-filled with all the relevant info, (from investments, wages, interest, etc).

@4wd: Yes, the Ozzies were arguably ahead of the game. In the NZ IRD project, the designers/planners had looked to other examples of innovation in the tax system in different countries, and one good example had been Australia's. (The decision had already been taken to use XML as the Common Reporting Standard.)
The background to the project would have included these objectives and benefits:
The Standard Business Reporting (SBR) Programme would eventually transform the manually intensive AS-IS government-mandated processes for collecting data from businesses, to enable a more automated TO-BE process.
In considering the SBR Programme, the New Zealand government would be in line with international developments – for example, where Australia, the Netherlands and the UK are well advanced in the development and implementation of SBR.
This would be a whole-of-government programme using technology to reduce reporting burdens for business by eliminating unnecessary or duplicated reporting to separate government agencies – typically IR, ACC, Statistics.
SBR would provide options for increased automation of business reporting, including greater pre-population of forms.
The broad areas of benefit that would be provided by SBR are:
•   Reducing the number of different agencies to which businesses have to report directly the same or similar information.
•   Reducing the number of data elements that businesses report to government, through standardising and harmonising data definitions and eliminating duplication.
•   Reducing the cost of intermediaries to business, currently necessitated by the need to operate a more manual and duplicative process.
•   Improving cost-efficiency of the SBR process, through increased automation.

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I could be wrong, of course, but in the Intuit case in the US, those types of "no-brainer" objectives/benefits for the nation's taxpayers would seem to have been nowhere in sight. If it was not benefitting the taxpayers, then one has to wonder to whose $benefit that ultimately might have been...  :tellme:

In case anyone is interested and is doing their taxes looking for an alternative, taxact was a lot cheaper than the big two when I was doing mine. I now give mine to a local cpa who does it for less than it would cost me to file myself and includes the filing costs!

Stoic Joker:
In case anyone is interested and is doing their taxes looking for an alternative, taxact was a lot cheaper than the big two when I was doing mine.
-absoblogginlutely (January 18, 2020, 06:37 AM)
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I've been using TaxAct since 2004 and am quite happy with it. They do have a few upsell naggs here and there, but they - historically - have been under $20, opt-in only, and quite easy to skip.


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