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The Almighty Buck United States

CA State Offers To Prepare Simple Tax Returns 387

Makarand writes "California is ready to roll out a program for taxpayers where the state will offer to fill out their tax forms for them if they are simple enough. Taxpayers will merely have to go online, download and review the completed forms prepared for them and confirm their return. This program is supposed to save money for the state, reduce tax related headaches for many and bring into the tax system those who are not paying any taxes currently. The state will take information it already receives on W-2 wage statements, put it in the right boxes on the tax return, and do the math."
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CA State Offers To Prepare Simple Tax Returns

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  • National (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pretendstocare ( 816218 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:23PM (#12838401) Homepage
    I think it would be great if this was national, I don't see any privacy issues since the gov't is the entity you are sending the info to anyway
    • Re:National (Score:3, Informative)

      New Zealand has been doing this for several years now - the only difference being that we don't get to look over the completed forms, which I have always been a bit leery about. But if you get to see what they have done, I think that this is a Good Thing.
    • Re:National (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pete6677 ( 681676 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:28PM (#12838435)
      The only reason it's not national is due to pressure from tax preparers to prevent the loss of money that they make by doing peoples' taxes each year. H&R Block and other big tax preparers are huge roadblocks towards online filing directly with the IRS. I'm sure they are claiming it wouldn't be safe, or some nonsense like that. Really they don't want to give up the opportunity to sell those "refund anticipation loans", which have insane interest rates.
      • Re:National (Score:4, Informative)

        by That's Unpossible! ( 722232 ) * on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:56PM (#12838595)
        The only reason it's not national is

        Sorry, unless the next thing you said was "politics," then you are wrong.
        • Actually No... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ThomasFlip ( 669988 )
          More like ignorance and corruption, not necessarily 'politics'. The whole reason progressive legislation affecting big business (in this case tax firms) isn't passed is because of corporate lobbies. This isn't really a Democrat or Republican issue. You could make a case against the Republicans because their constituency is primarily big business, but I think selling out to remain in power is more corruption then anything else.

          You have to also remember that these politicians have little to no technological
      • Re:National (Score:5, Funny)

        by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:56PM (#12838597) Homepage

        This is a bad idea.

        Simplifying the tax code could result in hundreds of thousands of coke-bottle glasses-wearing bean-counters wandering around North America looking for work.

        Finding none, they would eventually gang together and attack the rest of us threatening paper cuts and possible thrown pen damage.
      • Re:National (Score:5, Informative)

        by alan_dershowitz ( 586542 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:19AM (#12838720)
        Here is a news article (pdf) that states why California has not had E-Filing in the past, and the lobbyists' reasons that they feel E-filing is a bad idea for the public. Because of course, Intuit and H&R Block's lobbyists represent the public, as opposed to say, tax preparation businesses.

        Link [courtaccess.org]

        • Thank you, I was looking for an article like this. How anyone can not see H&R Block's lobbying efforts as the FUD that they are is beyond me. Like anyone would seriously think that "privacy" is the reason why people should keep forking over $30 a year for them to file some papers. I say tax preparers have had more than enough time to profit from filing simple tax returns, which is nothing more than routine gruntwork. Online filing has now made this obsolete, so they can do what many businsses have been
        • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@y a h o o . com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:20AM (#12839600) Homepage
          Let's say I want to do activity A, like go to the strip club. And she wants to do Activiy B, like anything other than go to the strip club.

          I will say 'Hey, we should go to the strip club. Do you want to go?'

          Of course, we all know the answer is No. But there's no way she's going to just say 'No, I don't want to go to the strip club', because she's female, and that would violate the laws of physics. Instead, she'll say "It's Sunday. The strippers on Sunday are ugly."

          And I'm supposed to pretend that the reason we're not going to the strip club is that the strippers are ugly on Sunday, not that I'm dating a jealous, selfish prude.

          Actually, maybe H&R Block isn't like my girlfriend. If you let someone else do your taxes for you this time, you can still pay H&R block to do it next time.
      • Ain't that the truth. In the halcyon days of 1997, which was the first year I actually made enough money to have to file taxes, I went to H & R Block because I didn't realize how easy it is. I was a single person with no dependents and no deductions, and they charged me 50 bucks! These firms are basically printing their own money off people who are too lazy or ignorant to do their own simple tax returns.
    • Re:National (Score:5, Interesting)

      by brjndr ( 313083 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:37PM (#12838492)
      Your not only sending it to them, they already have it. Every W-2, every 1099, every piece of paper you receive, the IRS has already been sent that info. When you report, they simply match up your info to that which your employer or bank or whoever already sent in. If there is a discrepancy, the computer spits out an automated request for clarification which is mailed to you. This is what makes it harder for the average individual to cheat.

      When you own your own business, and generate these forms yourself, that is where the real opportunity for cheating is.
  • Wow. (Score:3, Funny)

    by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:24PM (#12838411) Homepage
    Sounds fantastic to me. Of course, plenty of people may miss out on possible deductions, but overall, simplifying compliance is a wonderful thing.

    Hooray for simplicity!
    • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Seumas ( 6865 ) *
      Sounds like a really bad idea, if you ask me.

      People need to have a better idea of what is going on with their money. This includes uncle sam robbing you blind. I'll do my own taxes, thanks. No matter how simple.

      I'll tell you a really good way to simply it for everyone. Stop giving out tax credits to promote people squatting out half a dozen kids. Stop giving out credits and incentives just because a couple of stupid kids get hitched. Stop giving out incentives, period. Next, stick in a flat tax. You don't
      • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by catbutt ( 469582 )
        Except that we live in a democracy, so you have to sell that to the voters. And it is certainly not in the interest of most voters, since it benefits the few rich far more than the regular people (compared to our current system).

        By the way, that is not really a flat tax, since it increases with income. A true flat tax would charge the same amount to everyone.
        • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Firethorn ( 177587 )
          True, but it's so much 'flatter' than the current system. I mean, at least it's a straight line!

          Income-deductable*taxratepercentage=taxesowed

          It would actually hit the 'rich' far harder than you might think, because the rich are notorious for hiding income, which they wouldn't be able to do under this system.

          Better yet, make it a sales tax. That way the average person doesn't have to file taxes at all!

          Just think about the billions that would be saved from not having to do all that paperwork.
      • Subtract the flat rate from your income and pay the result. Simple!

        Now define "income" in a way that the lobbyists in DC can't exploit.

        Of all the tax proposals, especially including our current thousand-page tax code, it is the simplest and fairest proposal I have seen. That is why I support it, bring it up when the topic comes up, tell my friends about it, and write my congressmen and senators about it.
        • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

          Whoops, I deleted a sentence from my post and left out the meaning. Here is what meant:

          Of all the tax proposals, especially including our current thousand-page tax code, the FairTax is the simplest and fairest proposal I have seen. That is why I support it, bring it up when the topic comes up, tell my friends about it, and write my congressmen and senators about it.
    • Step 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

      Aww c'mon, PornMaster. You gotta know this is just the first step. In a few years CA will come out and say, "Since you now trust our numbers we won't require you to check the website and give your approval. It'll be even more simple. We'll just figure out how much you owe us and send you the bill. If you want to dispute it after the fact we'll have another website you can go to."

      That's step #2. The IRS is pretty firm when you goof? We'll see how easy it is to get money back when they goof.
  • too late (Score:2, Funny)

    by croddy ( 659025 )
    and i JUST switched my residency to georgia!

    oh well, i suppose i'll just have to console myself with all this extra untaxed cash.

    • Re:too late (Score:3, Informative)

      by FauxPasIII ( 75900 )
      > and i JUST switched my residency to georgia!
      > oh well, i suppose i'll just have to console
      > myself with all this extra untaxed cash.

      Yeah, and the worst public schools and one of the highest crime rates in the country.

      Hurray for rugged self-reliance!
      • Can you really say anything about that compared to CA, though?
      • Yeah, and the worst public schools and one of the highest crime rates in the country.

        Even taking your comments at face value, without researching them to see if they are true, you wouldn't believe what extra money and freedom can get you. Private schooling and tutors, housing in safer neighborhoods, just for starters.

        Hurray for rugged self-reliance!

        I live in California. Are you really going to try and tell me its so much safer and the government schools are much better?
        • One other thing to think about. California gets less federal money back per person than any other state in the nation... many states, and I wouldn't be surprised if Georgia is one of them, actually get more federal dollars back than they pay in, hence California is subsidizing many other parts of the nation. So if CA isn't getting the federal dollars, they need to make it up somehow.

          Also, in CA a lot of money is tied up in voter approved bond initiatives which ties the legislator's hands. I.e. they can'
      • Re:too late (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pmazer ( 813537 )
        I'm not sure about the crime rate, but the public schools are VASTLY influenced by where you live. Georgia is rated one of the worst in the country mainly because of PSAT scores. It's average score is vastly reduced due to the percentage of kids who take it. Almost all students in the state take it, compared to most other states which have very low percentages due to the Georgia government paying for the PSATs for their students.
    • Re:too late (Score:4, Funny)

      by xs650 ( 741277 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:15AM (#12838701)
      At least you can finally marry your sister legally.
  • by Ingolfke ( 515826 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:27PM (#12838428) Journal
    1. How much money do you have?
    2. Send check for amount specified in step #1.
    3. You still owe, work harder next year.

    Thank you,
    Your Government
  • state tax returns are generally really easy, compared to the federal, since they just have you copy stuff off your federal return. What they should do to get more people to use it is, when you are done, tell them what what numbers to put where on the federal form.
    • State tax forms in CA are pretty damn easy. You'd have to be brain dead not to understand them.

      Believe it or not, I look forward to my state tax form. I always know that one is going to be easy and cheep.... it's the federal form that's the royal pain.

  • Tax Retards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:29PM (#12838439) Homepage Journal
    Why the hell don't they just replace the "too complex" original tax form with this new "simple" form? Instead of making it all that much more complex, by feeding the simple form into the complex one, then the complex one into the complex system? Are they trying to better bistromathics [earthstar.co.uk] with a higher form of inscrutable symbolic manipulation? Or is there some kind of "100% accountant employment" law in force in California, demanding ever more layers of unusable complexity?
    • " Why the hell don't they just replace the "too complex" original tax form with this new "simple" form?"

      How would the govt. influence your life by rewarding you in tax breaks for things you do that they like if they simplify the tax code?
  • We need the Fair Tax (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ingolfke ( 515826 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:30PM (#12838448) Journal
    The tax system is too complicated... we need the Fair Tax [fairtax.org].

    Simply put, the FairTax replaces the way we're currently taxed - based on our annual income - with a tax on goods and services. The FairTax is a voluntary "consumption" tax: the more you buy, the more you pay in taxes, the less you buy, the less you pay in taxes.
    It's simple.

    Everyone pays their fair share of taxes, and with the FairTax rebate, spending up to the poverty level is tax free. The Federal government is fully funded, including Social Security and Medicare, and you don't need an expert to determine your Federal taxes.
    It's simple.


    Read the FAQs [fairtaxvolunteer.org]
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "The tax system is too complicated... we need the Fair Tax."

      Even better. The NO TAX system. I get to keep all my money, and the government gets what I feel like sending.
    • If the rich are only taxed by what they spend, the amount of tax they'll pay will be negligible to them. If you spend, say, $20-30K a month, you get taxed much less than you would under the "regular" tax system in your tax bracket. I'm your typical "middle class" guy, but even I'm against reducing taxation for the rich. If anything, they should be taxed more, they won't go broke anyway.
      • I think this should be discussed further - simplifying the tax code would also mean a lot of things the rich don't pay tax on would become taxed. Actually figure out what the differential is, and then we'll talk.
      • If the rich are only taxed by what they spend, the amount of tax they'll pay will be negligible to them.

        Yet since the rich spend so much more than the non-rich, they are still paying way more than most everybody else. This is why it's called the FairTax. If the rich paid disproportionately more than they have, compared to poorer people, how would that be fair? It wouldn't be, just vindictive.

        I'm your typical "middle class" guy, but even I'm against reducing taxation for the rich. If anything, they shou
        • by melted ( 227442 )
          How much can you realistically spend per month if you're, say, Bill Gates? 20-30K? And that brings your overall tax burden to what? 0.5%? This means middle class and poor folks get a stiff 23% on every purchase whereby, say Larry Ellison's tax rate is 2%. Is this fair? Considering that tax is technically a price you pay for being well off, it's not, because, say Warren Buffett is much better off than I am.

          My job will not pay any less than it pays right now. There's this supply and demand thing, if it pays
    • Fair Tax is an interesting idea, but you'll have to document all of your purchases to qualify for the "spending up to the poverty level" rebate. "Fair Tax" also ignores wholesale spending, unlike a VAT tax and encourages consumption by the rich while out of the country.
      • you'll have to document all of your purchases to qualify for the "spending up to the poverty level" rebate
        Nope. A check for the amount of tax that would be charged at the poverty level comes every month. See the FAQ [fairtaxvolunteer.org].
      • but you'll have to document all of your purchases to qualify for the "spending up to the poverty level" rebate

        Nope. It's automatically assumed. If you're living below the poverty line, the monthly check will rebate you more than what you paid in tax. The cost savings from not having to document all that would easily exceed the costs. As to who gets it, well, the idea is for all US Citizens and legal (Working?) immigrants.

        Fairtax [fairtax.org]
    • problems with this (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dr Kool, PhD ( 173800 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:25AM (#12838746) Homepage Journal
      I agree 100% that the tax code needs to be simplified. Off the top of my head I can think of three problems, though I'm sure there are many more.

      1) What about Roth IRAs, savings accounts, investments, etc where the money has already been taxed? I already paid income taxes on the money in my bank account, if we switch over then I'll be taxed again.

      2) Tax deductions. I know you want to get rid of them to simplify the code, but it's not realistic to do away with the housing interest tax deduction, for example. 70% of American families own their home, so this would be political suicide.

      3) This would create a huge black market for tax-free goods. People would be forming fake small businesses and then apply for resale permits to buy their goods tax-free. What about goods sold online? They will have to be taxed. Will you go after every last person on Ebay?

      I think we're pretty much stuck with the system we have.
      • Let me go over this slowly on home mortgage tax deductions.

        On your existing mortgage, under the current system, with the existing mortgage interest deduction you pay 15.3% (payroll taxes) on every dollar before you get to apply it to your mortgage interest, and 15.3% + your income tax on every dollar before you get to apply it to mortgage principle.

        Under the FairTax, you pay 0% tax on your dollar before it is applied to either mortgage interest or principle, since the FairTax does not tax loan payments at
    • If this is done, then the internet takes over. All local merchants can wave good bye.
    • Just a little something I remember from Economics class, the sales tax is a regressive tax. This essentially means that (as I believe one other person said). The poor pay a higher percentage of their income than the rich. If anything, we should start reducing the number of deductions to simplify the system, then increase taxes for the rich (so that we can replace the deductions with a simple drop in taxes for lower income families), and (if possible) find a way to reduce sales tax.
    • The tax system is too complicated... we need the Gullibility Tax. Now, I will cut-and-paste something.

      Simply put, the Gullibility Tax is a tax on slack-jawed credulity. If you are enough of a rube to believe that "Fair Tax" is anything but Orwellian doublespeak for a tax system that screws working people to help a small number of idle rich, then send me all your money now.
    • Simply put, the FairTax replaces the way we're currently taxed - based on our annual income - with a tax on goods and services. The FairTax is a voluntary "consumption" tax: the more you buy, the more you pay in taxes, the less you buy, the less you pay in taxes. It's simple.

      It's a lot easier for them to prove what you made when income withholding is the norm than it is to prove what you've bought. Think of how difficult it is for states to enforce sales and use taxes. It'd be expensive to make the syst

    • The Fair Tax system would never fly in America. Know why?

      It encourages conservation and reduces the emphasis on rampant slack-jawed consumerism.

      I repeat: The Fair Tax system would never fly in America

      Though it would be heaven if it did.
    • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:12AM (#12839209) Journal
      the more you buy, the more you pay in taxes, the less you buy, the less you pay in taxes.
      It's simple.

      It's simple, and it's vastly biased in favor of the rich.

      The poorer people will be spending 100% of their income (or close to it), while the more wealthy you are, the more you will save, which means you spend vastly less.

      Hell, they PROMOTE this fact, saying taxing consumption is better than income, because those with no income will still have to make purchases.

      It's always good to have a tax system that is extremely biased towards the rich, makes it harder on people who save their money (basically doubles the burden of inflation), and charges people just as much when they are making plenty of money, as it does when they are out of work and can't afford extra taxes.

      What a stupid tax system.
      • by DarkSarin ( 651985 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @07:07AM (#12840060) Homepage Journal
        Pay attention--the rebate check to cover spending up to the poverty level addresses this. Sheesh. Read something.

        I don't mean to be offensive, its just that people who bash the fairtax are seeming to fall into two categories:
        1. those who have heard something bad, and are parroting what they've heard
        2. those who don't understand it because they only read part of it.

        It takes very little to understand that the FairTax plan is robust--it handles things like poverty line spending, and those who live at the higher end of the curve. Don't you think that these "obvious flaws" are obvious enough to those of us who support the plan to be seen and addressed?

        When someone comes to me with a detailed analysis and then says, "Hey, I've run the numbers, and it doesn't work", then I'll sit up and pay attention. IN the meantime, let us all work on making the FairTax a reality.
  • everything related to taxes is sent to IRS anyways, make them do the fucking work.
  • Superb idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chuck Chunder ( 21021 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:31PM (#12838451) Homepage Journal
    The one thing I hate more than paying tax is working out my tax.

    Last year I filled in my tax and missed out a bit of interest I had earned. It wasn't anything significant and the tax office sent me a nice letter saying that I'd missed out on a bit but that it wasn't a big problem etc etc.

    But that left me thinking that if they already know how much interest I've earned (as it's all reported by the banks) then why the hell make me work it out myself. Just give me something filled in as much as possible and then let me check it for errors, fill in any gaps, and be done.
  • Absolutely! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by That's Unpossible! ( 722232 ) * on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:31PM (#12838457)
    What could possiblie go wrong?

    (How about reducing spending so you don't need to collect as much income tax? They currently take FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS from me each month in state income taxes.)
  • by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:32PM (#12838459) Homepage Journal
    This is somewhat similar to the UK self assessment system. No such thing as state taxes in the UK, so it's all just one system.

    Many self employed people simply scribble in their earnings, their losses, and their profit.. and if they send it back by September (rather than January) the tax office will work out the tax on your behalf. If your profit is over a certain amount, you also have to fill out a few more boxes explaining what sorts of expenses you had, but it's pretty simple. You can even do it online.
    • Likewise in Australia, there is just federal income tax and no state income tax. I am actually astounded that you guys in the US would put up with two income tax returns :)

      The Australian Tax Office (ATO is equiv to IRS) has some e-tax software [ato.gov.au] to help you prepare your tax return (even for more complicated tax returns including rental income, capital gains, business income, depreciation etc). This can either be submitted online or printed and submitted via snail mail.

      Unfortunately I think that previous

  • The New Zealand government basically does this already, but in an even simpler form - you don't even need to check!!
    Most people who simply earn a wage have a simple enough tax return that the government simply deducts tax from your pay cheque - and that is all you need to do.
    If you want to fill a tax form out (because of complex investments, etc) then you can - but probably something like 70-80% of people don't bother.

    Of course, the NZ tax scheme is actually sane and easy to work out compared to some US ta
  • by RickPartin ( 892479 ) on Thursday June 16, 2005 @11:34PM (#12838469) Homepage
    How is it that every time I see some unique law or way of governing it's in California? I'm genuinely interested. Do they have a fundamentally different way of thinking? Can someone who lives there comment?
    • It's mostly due to our referendum system where any nutjob with a few dollars can collect signatures and get his idea placed on the ballot. That's where property tax caps, no healthcare for illegals, medical marijuana, definition of marriage, stem cell bonds, etc... all came from.
      • > no healthcare for illegals

        In Santa Clara county all children have health insurance from the county. Which is pretty cool.

  • For many people, all we do is put down what we earned, tick a few "Yes, I'm a human"-style boxes, and sign our name at the end. It would really make sense if the forms came already completed, and just had to check it for accuracy and so on.

    The biggest time consumer (for me, anyway) is actually reading everything and deciding what I need to fill in or not - and then how to actually do that...

    (I'm in Australia, but all tax forms are in the same universality class [condensed matter theorist humour]).

  • State income tax should be simple nation wide form to determine what percentage of your income is taxed by which state. For the majority of people that would be 100% of their state tax due be sent to their state of residence. others would adjust based on where they lived and where their money was earned.

    For most people it be send x% of the amount you paid the feds to your state gumnt.

    I believe a few states do this now.

    That is unlikely to happen though. Taxes are used to control behavior and tremndously l
  • ??Open Standards?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bogaboga ( 793279 )
    > Taxpayers will merely have to go online, download and review the completed forms prepared for them and confirm their return.

    Question: Does this effort have Linux or Open Standards in mind or does my system have to be compatible to M$?

  • The state will take information it already receives on W-2 wage statements

    After living in Virginia most of my life, I moved out and didn't bother to file for a $20 return. "It's been a good state, they can consider it a tip" I thought. Boy was I wrong; three years later I got a nastygram demanding several thousand in back taxes. Duh, didn't they see that my employer had taken the money out in W-2s? No, I was told, I had to file. Then and only then would they match up the W-2's. They DIDN'T KNOW I'
  • I moved to CA in 1988, and I never got my taxes right until I started paying somebody to do them for me. The state just corrects the mistakes and eitehr sends you a bill or a check.

    What I'd really like to see is the Federal governemnt offer to collect income tax for the state and just have one additional line on the Federal tax for 'For the privilege of living in the great state of X, tack on an extra 30%' and get rid of all of the state social engineering in the tax code that happens in addition to the F
  • What if record keeping was good enough (nevermind the privacy issues etc) that your taxes, no matter how complex, could be computed for you without any effort of your own?

    Would you be happy or ...perhaps just a nice sheep in the flock getting fleeced on a yearly basis?

    **start vignette**

    You (looking like a sheep): "Baa. Baa."

    Uncle Sam: "This won't hurt a bit, we need just a little bit more to fund Senator [enter favorite name here]'s pet project."

    You (looking less like a sheep not much coat left): "Baa.
  • I have a feeling that once this pilot program gets going, it will be simple enough for the State to prepare a tax return whether we ask them to do it or not - just to compare with what we send in. A mini-audit in effect.
  • by achurch ( 201270 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:04AM (#12839377) Homepage

    In Japan, if you're employed with a salary under 20 million yen (~$180k) and you don't have any other significant income--which covers a pretty large fraction of taxpayers--you don't even have to send in a tax return in the first place; your employer does it for you and you see the result on your December or January paycheck (we call it nenmatsu-chousei, end-of-year adjustment).

    Good or bad? I dunno, but it's sure less of a pain than writing up a 1040 every year that says I don't owe the IRS any money because I earned it all abroad.

  • by mowler2 ( 301294 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:09AM (#12839389)
    In sweden I have been doing tax returns via internet since 2003 or 2004. You just log in on the swedish IRS webpage, using the national internet-id system "bankID" (its platform indepedent). When you are logged in you find a bunch of html forms (income, profit on capital, etc) prefilled with numbers, just as the ordinary tax return. You also see how much return on tax you get or if you must pay more tax.

    If everything is ok, you just click "send in", if you think something is wrong, you just change the numbers, give a motivation, and then click "send in". Just like with the normal declaration.

    Also one can do the tax return via SMS; if everything looks good, you can SMS a code to a certain number, and voila, done. However, this sms-tax-return does not allow for altering of the declaration. But most people does not need to anyway.

    There is also lots of other stuff to do on the swedish IRS webpage using BankID, such as checking the "tax-account" (its like a bank account, but on this only tax gets in and out) to see if the return of tax has come yet. Normally amounts above 100 SEK is automatically transferred to ones normal bank account (this is also configured via the webb).

    It works really good. "E-government", as it is called here, is a good idea.
    • Canada introduced online filing of income taxes a few years back. Only catch is, you have to submit using "approved" software. So basically, you have to pay $40 for a software package to submit forms for you. There's an exception for people earning less than $20,000 a year.

      When this first came out (and I hadn't read the fine print), I thought it was brilliant. Go to SSL website, enter your figures, done. Oh? I have to pay Intuit $40 and have a Windows machine handy? Damn. There simply is no way to hand-cal
  • by allanj ( 151784 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:47AM (#12839502)

    We've been doing something like this for years in Denmark. Most people (my guess is at least 2 out of 3, including myself) don't need to add anything except a few deductions that the tax agency can not possibly know about (we can deduct parts of the cost of transportation to work, for instance). Most people still use the snailmail version, but we've been able to do this electronically for several years now.

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