Eleven senators sign letter to President’s
panel opposing government-prepared tax returns

WASHINGTON – Eleven members of the United States Senate signed a letter to the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform opposing a “Return Free” tax filing scheme, in which the government would prepare tax returns and essentially dare taxpayers to challenge the results.

Such a system, the senators pointed out, would create a conflict of interest where the Internal Revenue Service would become both tax preparer and enforcer, and would likely result in errors unchallenged by intimidated taxpayers. However, under a Return Free system, the taxpayer, not the government, would still be personally liable for mistakes.

Many of these same concerns were expressed earlier this month by thirty-eight conservative members of the House of Representatives, and last summer by a broad coalition of conservative groups including Americans for Tax Reform, the American Conservative Union, and the Club for Growth. In all, fourteen national groups signed on.

“Between the House and Senate and the conservative coalition, it should now be clear to the Tax Panel where conservatives stand on this issue,” said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist. “Return Free is now a universally recognized bad idea.” Norquist testified before the Panel earlier this year in opposition to Return Free.

Signers of the letter included Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC), John Ensign (R-NV), Rick Santorum (R-PA) and George Allen (R-VA).