Share this story...
Latest News

Just tell me what I owe

A photo of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington, D.C.; I've often wondered - why can't the IRS just send me a bill? ( Photo/Alyssa Kleven)

I still do my own taxes. I used to order the long form instruction book, and fill out the paper forms by hand.

But as the forms have gotten more complicated, and grown to ten, 20, sometimes 30 pages – I understand completely how Mitt Romney felt.

And I’ve often wondered – why can’t the IRS just send me a bill?

The power company sends a bill, and I have no clue how they figure it out, but I pay. None of us understands how doctors or cell phone companies come up with all those fees – but we pay them – so why not taxes?

Well, according to, which researched the story with NPR, the IRS was prepared to do what Denmark, Sweden, and Spain do – and just send you a return already filled out, so you could sign off on it and be done in five minutes.

But the idea has been blocked by a lobbying group that includes – and this will shock you – Intuit – the firm that sells Turbo Tax. Which sells tax software to about 25 million Americans and earns about $1.5 billion.

I suppose you could argue that letting the IRS prepare your tax bill is un-manly. That a real man deducts every ratty undershirt in the giveaway box. But there comes a time when you realize that you can’t outsmart the IRS. When that last deduction just isn’t worth trying to understand an unrecaptured section 1250 gain. So come on Intuit – let it go. Let us just pay and be done with it.

Most Popular