As tax day rapidly approaches here are a couple articles on why we still have to fill out these forms
Well, given their level of service over my lifetime, which includes multiple and often wrong answers to questions asked (if you can get them on the line), no way are they competent enough to figure out taxes on the complex mess that is our tax code.
Now, if Congress would ever get off its duff and REALLY simply the tax code, then this idea makes sense.
But who am I kidding! For decades, Congress Critters of both parties have “purchased” campaign contributions, as well as future jobs, with tax breaks, etc.
I’m not holding my breath.
Oh! As to the $87B (?) increase in IRS funding, a whopping 9% is going to “improve service”…most of the rest is going for enforcing the existing complex mess of a tax code.
Stupid is as stupid does…and we as voters continue to elect Congress Critters that perpetuate this stupidity.
Well, except that every dollar spent on catching wealthy tax cheats brings in a lot more than a buck to the Treasury. So, I’m all for the increase to IRS funding. It pays for itself.
As per the mess of a tax code, that’s what you get when the wealthy with lobbyist write our laws. We could start by repealing Citizens United and go from there.
Well, it real tough to enforce something you don’t understand/have a clear answer on. Also, it tough to fix “stupid”: once had a mail/telephone audit related to 1099 brokerage info discrepancy; replied by mail that they were reading the 1099 incorrectly and that the info was right in front of their eyes on the 1099. They denied that I was right; phone call happened and I literally talked the doofus through the form and showed him he was wrong.
Go back a few decades to the 90’s: I have two start-up companies that happened to be officed two doors down from a regional IRS office, and “everybody knows” that start-ups are rife with accounting games and tax cheating…right? No evidence or complaint or anything else…but I was “convenient”.
So, being two doors away, in comes the IRS…the FULL audit on both companies: over two weeks of my CPA’s time (not counting my time or my employees. Thousands of dollars spent by me.
Result: No change! Not a single penny!
So, the IRS should at least reimburse me for what I had to pay my CPA, right? Wrongo!
Heads they win, tales you lose! I had done nothing wrong, but still paid…big time.
If you think that sort of tax audit procedure is right (wherein you are totally innocent, but still have to pay in time and out-of-pocket expenses),
then you have a radically different definition of “justice” than I do.
Also, if you really believe that $80B+ of increased IRS enforcement is going to be on folks above $400K in yearly income, I have a REALLY neat bridge I’d like to sell you!
( OH! This under $400K enforcement lie reminds me of the “You can keep your own doctor” Obamacare lie)
And as to the little “fact” above, it only counts the variable/direct costs of the audit to the IRS; it does not include a share of the fixed and semi-fixed costs of the IRS overhead and general expenses… and given the complexity of our tax code, their overhead is bloated by that very same complexity.
Anybody can make the numbers “dance” and say what they want them to, depending upon how they count.
Bottom line: Fix the problem (really simplify a complex tax code that is tough and expensive to comply with and enforce, and makes it easier to cheat, because it is so complex and open to grey-area interpretation) and then you will have MUCH less opportunity for cheats/mistakes…and a much lower need for "enforcement… AND you will be able to save billions/year by shrinking the IRS itself.
Stop using the tax code to further the social cause of the year and concentrate on simplicity and making it harder to cheat and cheaper to enforce.
Net Result: More money collected at lower expense, freeing up money for social/other expenditures.
Finally as to the statement above:
Who is most at fault:
A paid lobbyist trying to get a law passed by the Congress Critter for his employer’s benefit.
An elected Congress Critter, who “buys” campaign contributions, future jobs, stock tips and who knows what else, by voting for said law (note that the Congress Critters “write” the law), using public money and violating public trust when he does so… basically accepting a bribe to do so.
If you think the lobbyist is the greater evil, then once again we have radically different views of justice and what is right/wrong.
If you think repealing Citizens United will stop this sort of thing, I have yet another bridge to sell you. Don’t forget that unions also play the lobbyist game.
I would support a bill that bans ALL lobbying…would you?
But I know who would never pass such a bill: either house of Congress…unless we voters get serious about things like term limits and only vote in folks who promise to do what’s right…and vote them out if they don’t deliver.
Hey! I can dream can’t !?
That could be, but they already do that right? If your tax forms don’t match up to what the IRS thinks they should be then that’s a problem. That’s their job. I don’t see how this would change anything.
The main point here, is it is a big waste of time and money for people to fill out tax forms to give the IRS information it already has. The vast majority of filers don’t need to itemize.
Congress forcing people to waste their time and money is citizen abuse.
This would require amending the Constitution, which is a long shot to put it mildly. The problem isn’t that you have the Constitutional right to petition your Congressman, the problem is that it costs a boat load of money to be re-elected.
And because certain well-heeled pond scum benefit by making it hard and expensive for us to file our taxes, they fill the campaign coffers of Congressmen who enjoy being re-elected. A parallel problem is the same Congressmen are beholden to lots of other generous donors who want special carve outs in the tax code.
So is the problem really that you have the right to write a letter to your Congressman or is the problem the Congressman who is bending to the wealthy pond scum who are keeping him in office by exchanging money for special perks?
Until there is meaningful campaign finance reform, the chances of the wealthy elite giving up their control of Congress is approximately 0.0000%. I might be off on that last decimal place, but I don’t think so.
This article has a solution: “If you have yet to file, don’t pay TurboTax a cent. If enough of us get on board, we might finally get to enjoy the return-free world we deserve.” link
There are alternatives (including OLT.com and freetaxusa.com), but in 2021 “TurboTax’s share of sales was 73 percent”
Intuit is a S&P 500 company with $13B Sales, over 20% annual sales growth, 51 PE, 10 PS. TurboTax is about 30% of sales.
Intuit contributions and lobbying is less than $10M per election cycle.
Yes, and they often do it very poorly/incorrectly because the tax code is so complex. So, they figure out my taxes first…and then I still have to hire a CPA to check and see if they are right, because the laws are so complex and I don’t trust their work. No difference!
If we could simplify the tax code then most of the money currently spent on CPA’s and tax lawyers for tax prep, audit’s etc. will be another BIG savings for other uses, in addition to those on the IRS side.
“This would require amending the Constitution…”
Please educate me regarding why banning all private lobbying would be unconstitutional. Let all groups lobby in public for all to see.
Do you know if groups like unions and lawyers are aggregated or considered separately for the top 10 list?
I just voted my proxy for Conoco Philips. There was a proposal for the company to disclose who it was bribing,a and why. Management recommended a “no” vote, just as it did for proposals for an independent Chairman and a proposal to require the named honchos to retail all shares issued to them until their retirement (had not seen that one before, but an interesting incentive to plan for the long term, rather than working to juice this quarter’s numbers)
Interesting that management claims, per the provisions of Citizens United, that it speaks for the group (shareholders and employees), but also claims that who it bribes and why, is none of the business of the shareholders and employees.
Hold on. Up above you said “ALL lobbying.” (emphasis yours). Now you are saying only private lobbying. And you also said repealing Citizen’s United wasn’t a solution. But Citizen’s United was in part a successful challenge to a ban on private lobbying.
Regardless, since you asked here’s why (emphasis mine):
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
You have a right to say what you like and a specific right to say it to the government. And in fact, that’s how democracy should work, right? The government should listen to what the people are saying and the people should have a right to say it.
The problem isn’t that people and organizations can communicate directly with their elected leaders. The problem is that people and organizations can effectively bribe their elected leaders with campaign contributions.
So why should bribery be legal? Simply it illegal and then also preserve everyone’s right to free speech.
As noted in my post above, where Citizens goes wrong is where management, backed by the full resources of the corporation, claim to be the spokesperson for all shareholders and employees, but, when the shareholders and employees ask management, what is being promoted, in their name, they are told it’s none of their business. How can management claim to be the spokesman, when what it is saying is concealed from the group for which management claims to speak?
Just a head’s up –
Both of the linked articles date to 2021. So when they comment on deadline extensions and other time sensitive items, they’re way out of date. Doesn’t affect the meat of the articles, but since one comment about extended filing deadlines was right in the first paragraph, I thought it was worth mentioning.
IRS phone agents are not qualified to answer detailed tax questions, and should not be doing so. They can direct you to potentially relevant publications and other informational items. They can answer questions that are administrative (payments made, balances due, confirm that correspondence has been received, things like that), but not tax questions.
There is only one process to ask formal questions about tax law, and that is a private letter ruling, for which you will pay a significant user fee.
It would be interesting to know what kinds of questions you asked that received a wrong answer, and how you determined the answer was wrong.
Repeal the 2017 tax act.
But for other reasons the taxes collected are not for accounting purposes but economic purposes.
There are company profits and there are economic profits. Economic profits matter much more.
“…And you also said repealing Citizen’s United wasn’t a solution. But Citizen’s United was in part a successful challenge to a ban on private lobbying…”
So, you would be in favor of no private lobbying by unions as well as the ABA and other such groups as well, right? Or is it just the big bad corporations that should be banned?
Well, in this case it was supposedly an “expert” that I was talking to on a scheduled phone call. What is your alibi for him?
When I said “all lobbying” I meant private lobbying…that is where the deals happen. I certainly didn’t mean all lobbying…heck, a peaceful protest is a form of public lobbying…especially those organized and orchestrated by a group, maybe even a union.
But we digress on all these details: my main point is that the problem is who we elect and how long they stay entrenched ( i.e. “professional” politicians) .
Until we fix that, even officially banning all private lobbying will not stop backroom deals from getting done.