Tax preparation in the United States
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Lessig noted that a large group of companies and individuals make money from helping their clients negotiate the complexity of the US income tax system. These people would lose money if it were simpler. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gets most of the information needed to complete an income tax return for most citizens and could send taxpayers a draft return. Taxpayers could either accept the IRS bill as is, submit it with modifications (similar to how consumers challenge charges on a credit card they didn't make), or create a new one completely from scratch. Intuit, the developer of tax preparation software TurboTax, spent over $1.7 million to kill a program like this in California (ReadyReturn). They similarly lobbied against plans by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to create a Web portal for electronic tax filing.
This is the shell for a Documenting crony capitalism article on this subject. When completed, it should contain a summary line giving an estimate of the Return on investment obtained by this group of cronies supported by citations to information sources for the numbers. The article should also include sections mentioning the inevitable discrepancies between the different but related definitions used in different data sources combined here, plus estimated benefits, etc.
- Lessig, Lawrence (2011). Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress -- and a Plan to Stop It. Twelve. ISBN 978-0-446-57643-7.
- Lessig (2011, pp. 200-201)
- NPR - IRS Urges E-Filing — But by Vendors Only, Please