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OpenTaxSolver solves taxes, openly

OpenTaxSolver solves taxes, openly

Posted Mar 18, 2010 14:39 UTC (Thu) by nye (guest, #51576)
In reply to: OpenTaxSolver solves taxes, openly by nix
Parent article: OpenTaxSolver solves taxes, openly

Ah, right.

I was going to post asking what exactly this is for and who the target audience is, so thanks for implicitly answering that. I didn't realise US *individuals* needed to do this stuff - it sounds like more work than most small businesses need to do here.


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OpenTaxSolver solves taxes, openly

Posted Mar 19, 2010 17:19 UTC (Fri) by dkrawchuk (guest, #21896) [Link]

In Canada also you are required by law to file a tax return if you earned any income in the previous year even if you are a minor. The upside is that the Canadian Revenue Agency has a very efficient online filing capability. The downside is that the mandatory file format can only be generated by CRA approved proprietary software.

Need for computers to file income taxes

Posted Mar 20, 2010 23:10 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

In the US, only a few individuals have to file anything so complex that a computer would help. Most individuals have income only from wages and simple investments and any adjustments to that income that they may be entitled to fall below a threshold. Such a person could fill out the one-page form quicker than he could make the computer print it. He doesn't even have to do any arithmetic.

It's still embarassing for the country, though, because for such a person, the government already has all the information on the form and already has all the money, so really the government should send the form to the taxpayer instead of the other way around.

I think about 10% of the population has finances complex enough to require more sophisticated filing, and for them, computer assistance is extremely helpful. For example, someone who sells something for more than he paid for it (income tax is due on the profit) or runs a business or has high medical expenses (income tax is not due on income used for that).

Need for computers to file income taxes

Posted Mar 21, 2010 0:03 UTC (Sun) by jake (editor, #205) [Link]

> I think about 10% of the population has finances complex enough to
> require more sophisticated filing

Hmm, anyone that owns a house pretty much can't (or shouldn't) file the short form. That covers a *lot* people ...

jake

Need for computers to file income taxes

Posted Mar 21, 2010 1:47 UTC (Sun) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

Hmm, anyone that owns a house pretty much can't (or shouldn't) file the short form. That covers a *lot* people ...

Yes, I was wrong. I found references that say only 60-70% of US taxpayers use the one page (1040EZ) and two page (1040A) short forms. I don't know if the 1040A is complicated enough for anyone to use a computer to generate it, but maybe.

I also looked up the house ownership impact. For those not familiar with the relevance of owning a house to income tax, it's actually about whether you borrowed money to buy your home. Income you spend on interest on such a loan is not taxable (and not for any sensible reason -- it's historical). I found out 70% of US homes are occupied by an owner and 60% of those homes are collateral on a loan, so that pretty much accounts for all the people who file the long form.

Need for computers to file income taxes

Posted Mar 23, 2010 7:09 UTC (Tue) by njs (guest, #40338) [Link]

> It's still embarassing for the country, though, because for such a person, the government already has all the information on the form and already has all the money, so really the government should send the form to the taxpayer instead of the other way around.

I'm pretty sure that they do do those computations, and if they don't match the ones on the form that the taxpayer sent in, they send a letter saying "you did it wrong, here's the correct answer, we'll just use that unless you argue".

In fact, a few years ago my filing got lost in the mail or something, and in the process of re-submitting I discovered I didn't have back-up copies of some of the documents like W-2's that *must* be included in the filing. It turns out that the solution to this problem is, you call up the IRS and they print out a copy, mail it to you, and then you mail it back.


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