One of the perennial canards that float around Washington, DC is that "life would be so much better if the IRS prepared most people's tax returns." Every April 15th, you can count on multiple mainstream media stories parroting this Beltway truism (this year, NPR and the left-wing Pro Publica, among others, paid the annual homage). This money-grab is pushed by innocuous sounding liberal organizations like the "Sunlight Foundation."
It's all a ruse to hide their real agenda: collecting more tax dollars for the government by forcing taxpayers to fight City Hall if they want to disagree with the IRS-prepared return.
ATR swats down these stories every spring. We point out, among other things:
IRS tax return preparation invites a conflict of interest. The IRS' job is to collect tax revenues, and measures success or failure on this basis. To let the IRS also determine the liability of tax is a clear conflict of interest.
IRS tax return preparation is a solution in search of a problem. Since 2003, sixteen private sector tax software providers have voluntarily banded together to provide free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income families with simple tax situations. 70 percent of all taxpayers—more than 100 million families—have access to this voluntary, private sector initiative. To date, 37 million tax returns have been processed by Free File, saving taxpayers $129 million in administrative costs.
The IRS can't handle preparing people's taxes. The IRS is a hulking and bumbling bureaucracy that routinely loses paperwork, takes months to process inquiries, and makes wasteful Star Trek videos.
They are tasked with implementing no fewer than 47 different Obamacare provisions, including 20 new or higher taxes. They are going to ask intrusive information about your personal health identification information starting next year.
Now, we have found out that they are guilty of a conspiracy to disenfranchise Tea Party and other limited government conservatives by preventing them from forming 501(c)(4) organizations.
Are these the people you want doing your taxes?
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