It’s a couple of weeks too late for this to help most people this year, but I’m sure many of you ran into issues filing your taxes. It’s a huge pain in the backside, isn’t it? Over at Redstate, Matthew Clark dredges up a brilliant scheme from Ezra Klein which should make all of your lives easier.
Why not let the IRS do our taxes for us?
Liberal wunderkind Ezra Klein (formerly of the Washington Post and now of Vox.com) was pushing this new idea a few weeks ago.
Well it wasn’t really new. He’s been pushing it for years.
The idea is to let the IRS, which already has your income and other tax information reported to it, prepare your taxes for you. Klein promotes that it will save billions of dollars and millions of man-hours and “make the IRS your friend.” I mean who really likes doing their own taxes?
But it’s one of the absolute worst ideas I’ve ever heard.
Well, sure… the idea is bound to have a few critics, but not everyone would oppose it apparently. I don’t know if they still do this, but back in the 80’s I dated a girl who informed me that she had never filled out a tax return. Each year she simply filled in her name, date of birth, SSN and other personal bits on a blank 1040 and stuffed it in an envelope with her W-2. She then mailed it off to the IRS and had never had any problems with it. Now, I’m not sure if this was legal and her return was processed properly or she just hadn’t ever been caught, but she claimed to have gotten refund checks in the past, so I assumed it was possible.
Should you do it? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there might be a few people who could conceivably benefit from it. Young, single folks with one source of regular income who rent (rather than owning their home) and with no major outstanding debt or savings, could possibly get away with this and not lose much in the bargain. But I also agree with Matthew in that the IRS has the least possible incentive imaginable to put in any effort to ensure you get all of the deductions, etc. possible and pay the lowest bill. I mean, even if you implicitly trusted the government to begin with, this just sounds like a recipe for losing money.