The Stupidity of Income Taxes and the IRS

The other week I read a great article in the New York Time about the IRS and income taxes and how archaic our entire system for reporting our income is. You’re probably saying no kidding genius, tell me something else I don’t know. Well to put a fine point on the problem, I’ll cite this paragraph from the story:

Requiring taxpayers to file returns without being told what the government already knows makes as much sense “as if Visa sent customers a blank piece of paper, requiring that they assemble their receipts, list their purchases — and pay a fine if they forget one,” said Joseph Bankman, a professor at the Stanford Law School.

In other words, why in 2010 are we still burdened by the same ridiculous, error-prone system, that is decades old, that everyone (except accountants) hates? Most people either pay someone to prepare their taxes or they buy software and do it themselves. There are also those who use free software to prepare their taxes, but regardless of how you do it, it takes time, sometimes money, and is an endlessly annoying task.

In the digital age, filing income tax returns should be a snap. The important data from employers and financial institutions have already been sent to the government’s computers. Yet taxpayers are still required to perform the anachronistic chore of preparing a return from scratch. And, in many cases, they pay a software company for the privilege.

I highly encourage you to read this article and start thinking of how much better this annual root canal could be. I just got mine done and it made me sick.

Update: I may be disgruntled but I’m not as angry as this guy.

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