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(TaxProf)   How TurboTax has blocked free, simple tax filing   (taxprof.typepad.com) divider line 59
    More: Interesting, TurboTax, tax preparation, Brookings' William Gale, Stanford Law School, Intuit, property taxes, University of Cincinnati, income taxes  
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2013-03-27 09:03:57 AM
Geitner!!!!
 
2013-03-27 10:34:35 AM
You can do what I do and go to the post office (do they still have those?) grab a 1040 form and booklet, fill it out, and mail it in. Its fast, easy and free.
 
2013-03-27 10:42:23 AM
The IRS web site has 1040 forms in PDF format that you can edit, save, and print.  I print and mail them in, because the Free File program is not user friendly (to this user).

Ohio has a free on-line filing system that is easy to use for state tax.
 
2013-03-27 10:46:13 AM
I've had luck two years in a row with their free file program:  http://www.irs.gov/uac/Access-Free-File-Fillable-Forms-Here  It does the math for you but nothing else.  You have to fill in your W2 so that's a pain if you have more than 1.  But it's still easier than paper.
 
2013-03-27 10:49:35 AM
return-free filing

a.k.a. "send us all your money and leave the rest to us"
 
2013-03-27 10:50:29 AM
and just the other day I was whining to my girlfriend "Why can't we have this for the federal govt like the CA state government does?"

Now I know. And knowing is half the battle!
 
2013-03-27 10:51:40 AM
taxslayer is free up to a certain income level.
 
2013-03-27 10:51:49 AM

vernonFL: You can do what I do and go to the post office (do they still have those?) grab a 1040 form and booklet, fill it out, and mail it in. Its fast, easy and free.


I've found that, if your local post office doesn't have the forms, your local library will.  Or they'll print them out for you for free if they run out.

/gotta love libraries
 
2013-03-27 10:54:49 AM
Repeat from yesterdays politics tab.
 
2013-03-27 10:56:11 AM

vernonFL: You can do what I do and go to the post office (do they still have those?) grab a 1040 form and booklet, fill it out, and mail it in. Its fast, easy and free.


Easy enough unless you have to deal with Schedule D and B and all that junk.
 
2013-03-27 10:56:21 AM
Yes let's spend money on a system to pre-fill forms, check and double check for accuracy and mail them.

Or just require 10 minutes of your time to fill out the forms and file for free.
 
2013-03-27 10:56:56 AM
I'd kill for this.  Id like a form that I can say "yep, it matches what I have here, and, btw, here's my charitable deductions, and my unpaid medical expenses.

90% of the pain of filling out taxes is making sure you have all the pieces ready from all the various forms I've been mailed through the year, and then plowing through the various "Combined 1099a/b/c/d/e/f/g" alphabet forms to make sure you get all the numbers.  If I could have a form that already had all that crap in one place, it'd save a huge amount of time.  It'd be simple verifying on my part, minimal input, and then good to go.
 
2013-03-27 10:57:09 AM
Not only is it a repeat, it's a word-for-word repeat since each submission was a republication of the original article.
 
2013-03-27 10:58:24 AM
Turbo Tax pissed me off so bad that I won't use them again... Course it's probably not that big of a deal to them.

So I've been paying for Turbo Tax for 4 years, and finally I have a year when I can do the EZ free form.

I go into Turbo Tax, it tells me that not only will it not be able to load previous years stuff because I'm doing the free version, but it has to DELETE all my previous years stuff to set me up on the free account.

Bull.  shiat.

I did it anyway as I have the hard copies, but since there is no longer any data being saved on turbotax.com, I guess I'll just go somewhere else.
 
2013-03-27 11:00:54 AM
I love Capitalism in the morning...smells like money.
 
2013-03-27 11:03:19 AM
What the article doesn't mention is that the IRS doesn't "already have" your income amounts from your employer, bank, etc. It doesn't finish getting those into the system until after April 15. It can't give you a pre-filled form when it doesn't have the numbers to fill it.
 
2013-03-27 11:04:58 AM

gerbilpox: What the article doesn't mention is that the IRS doesn't "already have" your income amounts from your employer, bank, etc. It doesn't finish getting those into the system until after April 15. It can't give you a pre-filled form when it doesn't have the numbers to fill it.


Which seems to be a "Why not?" question.  I have to have them by Feb 1. Why not the IRS as well?
 
2013-03-27 11:06:47 AM
If you are filing a simple return, go to the IRS website, grab the PDF form, fill it out and send it in. Problem solved.
 
2013-03-27 11:08:06 AM
Hmmm, I see no problem here.

1. Gov't sets tax rates
2. Gov't collects taxes straight from payroll
3. Gov't reviews what you paid
4. Gov't tells you how much more you owe

Sounds like a perfect system. No need to have oversight and accountability. Move along.
 
2013-03-27 11:08:16 AM

catusr: The IRS web site has 1040 forms in PDF format that you can edit, save, and print.  I print and mail them in, because the Free File program is not user friendly (to this user).

Ohio has a free on-line filing system that is easy to use for state tax.


*raises hand* CSB time:

Found out (through the IRS web site) that I've incorrectly filed the wrong status for the past 4 years and now I have to file 1040X so I don't get screwed afterwards.

Thanks a lot TurboTax!

X(
 
2013-03-27 11:08:59 AM

gerbilpox: What the article doesn't mention is that the IRS doesn't "already have" your income amounts from your employer, bank, etc. It doesn't finish getting those into the system until after April 15. It can't give you a pre-filled form when it doesn't have the numbers to fill it.


So, you push back the filing date until June 15. BFD.

Other countries do this and it would save Americans a TON of money. Granted, many people would also be out of a job.
 
2013-03-27 11:10:06 AM

vernonFL: You can do what I do and go to the post office (do they still have those?) grab a 1040 form and booklet, fill it out, and mail it in. Its fast, easy and free.


Hack Patooey: I'd kill for this.  Id like a form that I can say "yep, it matches what I have here, and, btw, here's my charitable deductions, and my unpaid medical expenses.

90% of the pain of filling out taxes is making sure you have all the pieces ready from all the various forms I've been mailed through the year, and then plowing through the various "Combined 1099a/b/c/d/e/f/g" alphabet forms to make sure you get all the numbers.  If I could have a form that already had all that crap in one place, it'd save a huge amount of time.  It'd be simple verifying on my part, minimal input, and then good to go.


I did my taxes earlier this month. At first I downloaded the regular income tax program and filled it out to see how much I'd get back. Then I got the data the tax bureau had prepared. I got a hundred euro extra by using their data. Turns out I was filing something wrong. Doing things by hand really sucks if you aren't quite sure where what goes, and even if you RTFM it rarely clears things up.
 
2013-03-27 11:13:49 AM
Now you can give half your earnings to a bunch of crooks faster. Feel Better?
 
2013-03-27 11:15:14 AM
the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which sponsors  ... a website calling return-free filing a "massive expansion of the U.S. government through a big government program."

Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, ... and other conservatives sent this month to members of Congress. The letter says the IRS wants to "socialize all tax preparation in America"


Ermahgerd, sershulism!

I see they've got most of the standard phrases in there. Next: "nanny state!"

ReadyReturn supporters, why do you hate freedom?
 
2013-03-27 11:16:59 AM
FTFA Norquist:  "...an official-looking "bill" from the IRS could be "extremely intimidating, particularly for seniors, low-income and non-English speaking citizens." ...

When has Norquist ever cared about seniors, low-income, or non-English speakers?  When it affects a company's bottom line.
 
2013-03-27 11:19:19 AM
More examples of our asses being owned by the corporations. The government can never help you only hurt you and now that it is controlled by corporations nothing it does is to help you, only cost you more money.
 
ows
2013-03-27 11:19:53 AM

vernonFL: You can do what I do and go to the post office (do they still have those?) grab a 1040 form and booklet, fill it out, and mail it in. Its fast, easy and free.


you need an * to denote it's not always fast nor easy.

now, go to page 28, section 4c and fill out worksheet 14.2a.

and remember, "don't do what Donny Dont does.
 
2013-03-27 11:21:17 AM
Am I crazy for not wanting the government to file my taxes for me?  For wanting that third party to keep them honest?

Took me 15 minutes on turbo tax this year, and it was free.  I was fine with them not saving information, I'd prefer it that way, who wants that info saved on the web?

They also walk you through a bunch of deductions and such, do people really think that the government would just do that based on W-2 that they get?  No, you still end up doing heavy editing for anything but the most very simple returns.

No one with a complicated return, (kids, education, loans, divorces, weddings, dead spouse, charities, small business, multiple properties, etc etc) should want a bureaucratic body doing it "for" them.

In addition to that, you tell people that taxes are now automatic, and they stop paying attention completely.  People default, people forget, et.

This is one of the few things I'll trust people to do as a whole, when the person is responsible for initiating the tax filing process, the blame lies with them and them alone when things go awry.  Any attempt to relieve people from that is bound to end badly as do most attempts to dumb things down to the lowest common denominator.  As an added cost, the government foots the bill, which means we foot the bill, for all the legwork involved(figurative of course).  I'm all for letting private enterprises provide the service, it means competitive rates and quality of service.

Or maybe I'm missing something?

If not, I'm with Turbo Tax on this one.
 
2013-03-27 11:22:11 AM

marleymaniac: Hmmm, I see no problem here.

1. Gov't sets tax rates
2. Gov't collects taxes straight from payroll
3. Gov't reviews what you paid
4. Gov't tells you how much more you owe

Sounds like a perfect system. No need to have oversight and accountability. Move along.


5. The taxpayer has the opportunity to correct the Gov't numbers
You forgot that part in your effort to sound persecuted.
 
2013-03-27 11:23:51 AM
First eliminate loopholes and deductions, then we can talk about a simpler system.  I like paying someone else to help me so that if there are any mistakes I can point to them and the IRS won't automatically kick in my door and steal my dog or whatever.
 
2013-03-27 11:24:15 AM

Aquapope: FTFA:  Norquist:  "...an official-looking "bill" from the IRS could be "extremely intimidating, particularly for seniors, low-income and non-English speaking citizens." ...

When has Norquist ever cared about seniors, low-income, or non-English speakers?  When it affects a company's bottom line.


Yeah, I had the same thought.  But despite that I had to agree with the guy.  As convenient it would be for me personally (I fall into the "vast majority" for whom returns are fairly simple cut-n-paste exercises), I could see it being an issue.  There's Norquist's argument and the repeatedly-proven fact that when you let Gov't stick its grubby hands in the till it'll come back with more change than it's due.

Great idea.  Too open for abuse.
 
2013-03-27 11:24:59 AM

DoBeDoBeDo: Yes let's spend money on a system to pre-fill forms, check and double check for accuracy and mail them.


The IRS already does the work on your return aynway. Why would it cost more to do it beforehand instead of after?
 
2013-03-27 11:25:10 AM
If taxes are easy to prepare and return then Norquist has nothing to do. His argument goes away as people would not have to hassle the return. So tax day no longer is special and people pay/get their refund without any trouble on their part.

And for 80% of filers 99% the information comes on a W2 and other information that must be reported to the IRS anyway. Nothing to do really.
For the 19% left, some tax software might be useful, however it will be of much reduced usefulness as the places to change with other information (Charitable deductions, health care etc.) could be made easy to find and fill in.

For the very special 1% the tax preparation companies will still have a market.
 
2013-03-27 11:25:27 AM
The next year, Norquist and others wrote in a letter to President Bush that getting an official-looking "bill" from the IRS could be "extremely intimidating, particularly for seniors, low-income and non-English speaking citizens." ...

So you don't suddenly switch to this, you take a couple of years to prep the country with lots of advertising and public education so people know what to expect, kind of like they do with the census forms every ten years.

I understand why Intuit wouldn't like this. but what if the IRS designs the system so besides getting something in the mail, you could optionally have it delivered electronically in a form that Turbotax could import where they could charge you to look it over and add in all the extra deductions that the IRS didn't know about. They might not make as much money as before, but they wouldn't be going out of business.
 
2013-03-27 11:25:29 AM

gerbilpox: What the article doesn't mention is that the IRS doesn't "already have" your income amounts from your employer, bank, etc. It doesn't finish getting those into the system until after April 15. It can't give you a pre-filled form when it doesn't have the numbers to fill it.


This is not true.  The IRS knows how much you made and paid every quarter when your employer submits its quarterly return info.  This is done mostly electronically now, so they know very quickly what your return should be according to the data they have.  The system described in TFA is the IRS showing you what they have and giving you the opportunity to correct them.  Why is that a bad thing?
 
2013-03-27 11:26:12 AM

Aquapope: marleymaniac: Hmmm, I see no problem here.

1. Gov't sets tax rates
2. Gov't collects taxes straight from payroll
3. Gov't reviews what you paid
4. Gov't tells you how much more you owe

Sounds like a perfect system. No need to have oversight and accountability. Move along.

5. The taxpayer has the opportunity to correct the Gov't numbers
You forgot that part in your effort to sound persecuted.


His point was that the proposal would be to take away that step.
 
2013-03-27 11:27:18 AM
4.bp.blogspot.com

R E V E N U E !

Don't mess with our revenue!
 
2013-03-27 11:28:35 AM
TurboTax was designed to make filing easier for people to file, to be more accurate, and get the most allowable deductions. Nobody is forcing you to use TurboTax; there are other software options, or you can do your taxes the old fashioned way. If the government sends out pre-calculated tax forms, you can be sure there will be lots of people taking them at face value and paying them like they were invoices. For a lot of people this would work well, but not everybody.
If the government did send out pre-calculated tax forms the people who suspect TurboTax of foul play would suspect the government of foul play. The exact same people.

Invest in tin foil.
 
2013-03-27 11:28:35 AM

TommyDeuce: Repeat from yesterdays politics tab.



Hopefully this thread won't devolve into a discussion of the various methods used around the world to measure temperature, dates and weights.
 
2013-03-27 11:29:06 AM

Slaves2Darkness: The government can never help you only hurt you



Says the guy on the Internet, which wasn't created by the government and doesn't involve an infrastructure created by the government.
 
2013-03-27 11:29:25 AM
I download my tax form directly from the IRS and do all the math myself.

No farking way am I paying Turbo Tax $12 just to find out I'm not getting anything back this year.

/farking scam
 
2013-03-27 11:30:31 AM

Hack Patooey: gerbilpox: What the article doesn't mention is that the IRS doesn't "already have" your income amounts from your employer, bank, etc. It doesn't finish getting those into the system until after April 15. It can't give you a pre-filled form when it doesn't have the numbers to fill it.

Which seems to be a "Why not?" question.  I have to have them by Feb 1. Why not the IRS as well?


Indeed. They could get their data together sooner. My point is that it's more than throwing up a Web site; they need to implement faster data collection first. It's just another step, but not a trivial one. Keep in mind thata not too many years ago, the IRS didn't even have national access internally to their central database. They had data centers sharing via sneakernet. (Seriously.)
 
2013-03-27 11:32:07 AM
Wait. We have to pay taxes? All these years I just thought I was being a nice guy for sharing my income with the government.
 
2013-03-27 11:33:32 AM
I remember using turbotax to make a 1040ez and adding in a form that turbotax did not support for my foreign income, then getting called and yelled at by some lady from the IRS, who then threatened jail time and then she fixed the problem herself.
 
2013-03-27 11:34:03 AM
TurboTax has increased their pricing and fees steadily, to the point where they're taking a real bite out of my return. After years of using them, I finally dumped them this year-- Along with their filing, processing, and deposit fees-- and switched to a free online tax filing service I found through my state's government website. It's not as fancy as TurboTax, but they don't charge you anything to use direct deposit (TurboTax does), or anything for your state e-file (TurboTax does), or anything for your federal e-file (in most cases, TurboTax does). They don't try to add-on or upsell, either, so there's no nag from them asking you to spend more for "audit protection" or tech support.

Check your state website to see the alternatives. You can also check IRS.gov for more leads to free e-file services. Of course, if you're the spider at the center of a huge business web, and you need to itemize the shiat out of your taxes, then this may still cost you something, but it still won't be as bloated and costly as TurboTax.

Last year it cost me over $60 for TurboTax's "free" service by the time they added fees. This year it cost me nothing to e-file. I'll stick with the smaller state-suggested service from now on. TurboTax can suck it.
 
2013-03-27 11:36:15 AM
I don't know where you get your country of residence, but where I get mine, it is a totalitarian corporate run money factory where any swinging dick with enough money to buy some congresscritters can get a sociopathic license to legally steal.

/and, FARK, the sheeple do nothing about it
 
2013-03-27 11:36:26 AM

jonny_q: His point was that the proposal would be to take away that step.


Then his point is wrong.  This system IS that step.  It's simply the IRS tipping their hand and saying "Here's what we have on your tax liability, change it to whatever you have, then submit it".  They're not doing your taxes for you, they can't.  YOU have to submit it (even if you're stupid enough to use their numbers) - they can't simply do it for you.  This is a peek into the IRS data about you.  That can't be bad, or am I not paranoid enough?
 
2013-03-27 11:39:18 AM

gerbilpox: Hack Patooey: gerbilpox: What the article doesn't mention is that the IRS doesn't "already have" your income amounts from your employer, bank, etc. It doesn't finish getting those into the system until after April 15. It can't give you a pre-filled form when it doesn't have the numbers to fill it.

Which seems to be a "Why not?" question.  I have to have them by Feb 1. Why not the IRS as well?

Indeed. They could get their data together sooner. My point is that it's more than throwing up a Web site; they need to implement faster data collection first. It's just another step, but not a trivial one. Keep in mind thata not too many years ago, the IRS didn't even have national access internally to their central database. They had data centers sharing via sneakernet. (Seriously.)


Calling the 1990 era "computers" the IRS is granted a "data center" is awfully charitable.
 
2013-03-27 11:40:58 AM

Aquapope: jonny_q: His point was that the proposal would be to take away that step.

Then his point is wrong.  This system IS that step.  It's simply the IRS tipping their hand and saying "Here's what we have on your tax liability, change it to whatever you have, then submit it".  They're not doing your taxes for you, they can't.  YOU have to submit it (even if you're stupid enough to use their numbers) - they can't simply do it for you.  This is a peek into the IRS data about you.  That can't be bad, or am I not paranoid enough?


Do you really think your contribution matters?
Hint; they don' give two chits about you or your chump change.
 
2013-03-27 11:42:16 AM

skozlaw: DoBeDoBeDo: Yes let's spend money on a system to pre-fill forms, check and double check for accuracy and mail them.

The IRS already does the work on your return aynway. Why would it cost more to do it beforehand instead of after?


Hush, you are spoiling the con.
 
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