Like many Americans, I hate doing my taxes. But I've never given in to the temptation of paying an accountant to do them for me -- I'm one of those thrifty cheap people who thinks Why should I pay someone to do it when I can do it myself? But in the latest report on the congressional super committee looking to tackle our growing debt, the IRS may be taking this responsibility out of my hands.
Matt Lewis explains:
With a new congressional “super committee” tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in cuts by November, creative ways to find additional revenue are in high demand. And allowing the IRS to prepare you taxes could be one solution.
The idea has been around for a while, but has been picking up steam in recent years. In 2006, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) argued it would close a $345 billion annual difference between what the government believes taxpayers owe them and what the IRS actually collects, which he calls the “tax gap.”
“I think the solution [to the tax gap problem] is to get rid of the middle-man and no fees required,” he said.
While I like the idea of not having to prepare my own tax returns every year, I have to wonder if the IRS will be as thorough in making sure I get every possible deduction I qualify for as I am. Call me crazy, but I'm not convinced that the federal government has my best interest in mind these days...
While the notion of allowing government to encroach on yet another aspect of our lives might sound like a hard sell, members of the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) believe this is a very real threat.
“There is a fundamental conflict of interest if the tax collectors also become the tax preparer,” said CCIA President and CEO Ed Black. “If you don’t trust the fox to guard your hen house, why trust the IRS to do your taxes. It’s the same exact thing. They make it sound so convenient, but it’s really just a convenient way to kiss your deductions and tax credits goodbye.”
Black is among the increasing number of voices who worry the “super committee” might see this as a quick way to raise taxes by $345 billion per year – the amount of the “tax gap” – without a single member of Congress ever having to vote for a tax increase.