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IRS site free filing to be banned?
Old 04-09-2019, 03:46 PM   #1
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IRS site free filing to be banned?

"A bill supported by Democrats and Republicans would make permanent a program that bars the IRS from ever developing its own online tax filing service."
by Justin Elliott April 9, 5 a.m. EDT propublica.org

I haven't confirmed this as true but have seen it mentioned elsewhere.

Supposedly for profits tax firms will let poor file free.. but penetration at 3%..

Question I wonder if this is true.. does this prevent irs from simply sending a bill or payment to the poor and bypass the seemingly unnecessary filing as seeming other countries do?
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:29 PM   #2
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A US Senator is the best investment a company can make.
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:53 PM   #3
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Yeah, I read this too. Apparently there's HUGE money in tax preparation, and a good chunk of it is being funneled to our illustrious leaders.

The article I read made it sound like Congress is preventing the IRS from doing what many developed countries already do; take all the W2s and 1099s they receive and just sending each taxpayer a prepared form, which they can pay or correct if it's wrong.

I've used the FreeFile versions, and they're pitiful. The idea is to up-sell customers to the for-fee tax software. The whole thing is a scam. We have computers in our pockets which can figure out what we want and do it for us. The IRS could make filling out tax forms a thousand times easier. But both parties are motivated to keep those campaign donations coming in. I'm disgusted.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:03 PM   #4
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A) What does it cost to develop? I.e., how would it be more cost effective than programs that already exist?

B) Why would a government program look out for the lowest taxes a person can legally pay? I mean what has the Fed Gov ever done to make things as easy as possible on citizens Let me know. please.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:17 PM   #5
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"A bill supported by Democrats and Republicans would make permanent a program that bars the IRS from ever developing its own online tax filing service."
Maybe I'm just a bit sensitive today. Just by the headlines: If there is already a program the prevents anything "forever". isn't it already, by definition, permanent? Some writers!
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:01 PM   #6
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How about just simplifying the tax code so we can file on a "post card". Just kidding, just kidding - we all know that will never happen. How else would we encourage capital investment?
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:09 PM   #7
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Apparently this is part of the IRS Modernization bill that the House passed. They've passed it several times before, but it seems the Senate may actually take it up this time.

More info from both sides here: https://thehill.com/policy/finance/4...-modernize-irs

I wonder, if this passes, whether AccuWeather will resume their quest to prohibit the National Weather Service from providing forecasts based on the data they collect and provide to AccuWeather and other commercial services.
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:06 PM   #8
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:49 AM   #9
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I've used the FreeFile versions, and they're pitiful. The idea is to up-sell customers to the for-fee tax software. The whole thing is a scam.

I've been using free file software for years (OLT the last few years) and it has always worked out well for me, some up sell but not too bad. Haven't tested them all out since I don't qualify for many but I definitely wouldn't call it a scam.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ready-4-ER-at-14 View Post
"A bill supported by Democrats and Republicans would make permanent a program that bars the IRS from ever developing its own online tax filing service."
"A bill supported by Democrats and Republicans would bar the fox from guarding the hen house."

Just my take on it...
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:58 PM   #11
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I've been using free file software for years (OLT the last few years) and it has always worked out well for me, some up sell but not too bad. Haven't tested them all out since I don't qualify for many but I definitely wouldn't call it a scam.
I agree, for a person of average intelligence they're not bad. I've used them successfully. But remember, half the population has below-average intelligence.

The "scam" comment was because these programs are unnecessarily tedious to use, and force the user to do a lot of calculations and look-ups outside the program. They're specifically designed to drive the majority of people to just pay for the "easy" version, or go to a tax preparer.

The article suggests they've been very successful at this. A very small percentage of filers use these programs.

After a career in IT, I can assure you it would be relatively trivial to make some significant usability improvements. But clearly ease of use is not the goal. I'd say it'is the exact opposite.

Or, long story short, it's a scam.
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:55 PM   #12
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I agree, for a person of average intelligence they're not bad. I've used them successfully. But remember, half the population has below-average intelligence.


The "scam" comment was because these programs are unnecessarily tedious to use, and force the user to do a lot of calculations and look-ups outside the program. They're specifically designed to drive the majority of people to just pay for the "easy" version, or go to a tax preparer.

Have you actually used all these products? I haven't looked at all the free file products offered since they don't apply to me so I can't comment on all of them. I have used OLT free version for several years and it isn't as you described, I believe the only differences between the free and paid version is maybe some additional customer service support and you pay the efile fee. The software used is the same, I've never had to do any calculations or outside lookups to complete my returns using their free product. I usually use the TurboTax Deluxe online version to verify my OLT results and don't find it any better or easier to use. I used TaxAct free version before switching to OLT and that was also easy to use, stopped using it because I no longer qualified.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:53 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
+++++

We should tip our Senator for all the hard work they do for companies
I always hoped The Onion was satire. Alas...
https://politics.theonion.com/americ...nte-1819571821
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:28 PM   #14
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Hope they don't ban pen and paper DIY returns any time soon.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:50 AM   #15
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Good news reported by ProPublica. Free file is not going away. https://www.propublica.org/article/c...-with-turbotax
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Congressional leaders are planning to scrap a provision of an IRS reform bill making permanent the Free File deal between the government and private tax filing companies, torpedoing a long-sought goal by industry giant Intuit, the maker of TurboTax.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:48 AM   #16
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Based on any number of websites and software published/developed by the Government (think: treasury direct, for example), I don’t think it will ever be a good idea to have the IRS come up with their own version of tax filing software - not even talking about conflict of interest, but just thinking “clunky, confusing, complicated, outdated, maddening, illogical”, or whatever else comes to mind for any of those systems I have ever interacted with...
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:17 AM   #17
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Hope they don't ban pen and paper DIY returns any time soon.
+1. I've finally got to the point where that's all I need. Simplification rules!
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Old 06-09-2019, 10:24 AM   #18
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I always hoped The Onion was satire. Alas...
https://politics.theonion.com/americ...nte-1819571821
That article is not as funny as some may think.

Think about this: If you and Jeff Bezos (who is not a constituent of your congressional representative) both called your Congressperson's office and asked for 5 minutes of his or her time on the phone this week, who do you think is more likely to get it?
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