IRS Assuming Control of Your Tax Preparation? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
In recent weeks, we’ve highlighted the pernicious effort to make the Internal Revenue Service not only the nation’s tax enforcer, but also its tax preparer:
This IRS scheme is part of a broader, ongoing campaign to socialize the tax preparation business in America entirely, which would ultimately make it the nation’s one-stop-shop tax preparation service. That would obviously create a conflict of interest with the IRS serving as both tax preparer and tax collector, and it would surely result in higher tax calculations to facilitate wasteful federal spending.”
Believe it or not, however, some continue to assert that it’s an idea whose time has come. Because, according to ProPublica, Barack Obama supports it and the Europeans do it. And allegedly, the notoriously tax- and bureaucracy-loving Ronald Reagan was also an enthusiast.
But Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform, one of the most informed and cogent tax experts in contemporary public discourse, throws cold water on the idea in a new commentary entitled “Top Seven Reasons the IRS Shouldn’t Do Your Taxes for You”:
The basic argument is always the same: the IRS has all this information on you anyway, so wouldn’t it just be easier and better if they simply prepared your taxes for you? Wouldn’t that be better than having to pay some rent-seeking middleman? This flawed line of thinking fools many a reporter this time of year, but it’s refuted pretty easily once you scratch beneath the surface.”
In trademark fashion, Ellis details those seven reasons in clear, convincing form. It’s well worth the quick read on an issue that is becoming increasingly important.
But his conclusion is worth particular emphasis:
The bottom line. These tired, annual articles from white collar lefty pseudo-academics living in the Beltway all ignore the really big story here: namely, that it’s a giant conflict of interest for the IRS to determine your tax liability, and then to be able to seize your wages and assets in order to collect that tax liability. To ignore that is to be criminally-naive about the way the IRS goes about its business. It betrays either a lack of knowledge of how the tax system actually works, or it’s a giant con job by people whose common cause with the IRS is growing the size of government.
Demonizing the tax prep industry doesn’t change any of the arguments from above. It does, however, provide a thin shield of self-righteousness for what is otherwise a fool’s errand.”