Why do I have to spend $50 or more for software to complete my tax returns and e-file them? In other countries (Denmark, Sweden, Spain), people can just go to the gov’t tax web site and open up a prefilled out tax form (tax agency has filled out based on W-2s, dividend reporting forms, etc.). Taxpayers make any necessary changes online and press a button to e-file. Simple, quick, and free.
When such schemes have been proposed in Congress, TurboTax and other tax software companies have successfully lobbied against these bills.
It’s true that the IRS provides a list of free online e-filing services, but these are very limited. Tax software companies will provide free online forms and e-filing if you only need Form 1040EZ and/or your income is less than $50,000 and/or you are under 55, etc. Why do the rest of us have to pay in order to carry out our legal duty to pay taxes?
- Liz Day, “How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing,” ProPublica, March 26, 2013. Online at http://www.propublica.org/article/how-the-maker-of-turbotax-fought-free-simple-tax-filing
- Liz Day and Justin Elliott, Taxpayers denied access to “return-free filing”, Salon.com, April 15, 2013. Online at http://www.salon.com/2013/04/15/taxpayers_denied_access_to_return_free_filing/