Paul L. Caron
Dean





Monday, April 4, 2011

Ventry Presents Americans Hate Paying Taxes Today at Seattle

Ventry Dennis J. Ventry, Jr. (UC-Davis) presents Americans Don't Hate Taxes, They Hate Paying Taxes, 44 U.B.C. L. Rev. ___ (2011), at Seattle today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series. Here is the abstract:

This Article recommends reforming the way Americans pay taxes with a plan that eases the burden for taxpayers and paid preparers, and communicates with taxpayer-citizens in a more responsive, dialogic fashion. By leveraging technology and exploiting the government’s core competency for maximizing efficiencies in filing taxes, the plan slashes costs (monetary as well as psychological), and offers a consumer friendly, secure, and educational tax-filing portal.

The proposed “data retrieval” platform allows taxpayers and preparers to view, access, and download tax information from a secure database maintained by the government. Rather than having to gather this information from employers, financial institutions, and third parties, taxpayers and their advisors rely on a centralized clearinghouse. Taxpayers with sophisticated returns may still need to input certain information, such as charitable contributions and some capital gains, but data retrieval can simplify filing for all 145 million taxpayers. It also offers an opportunity to communicate with taxpayers and preparers, listen to concerns, meet needs, and improve the system through a dialogue that enhances fiscal literacy and tax consciousness.

Finally, the government - not the private sector - is uniquely positioned to lead this reform. Data retrieval leverages the government’s competitive advantage and core competency in the area of tax filing. Under current taxpayer confidentiality laws, the private sector is prohibited from providing a comparable service for maintaining and updating a centralized database that contains sensitive tax account information. Only the government can bring these efficiencies to the filing process, and ease the filing burden for all taxpayers and their advisors.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2011/04/ventry-presents-americans-hate.html

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Comments

How many people are outraged beyond belief each time they get their paycheck and see the tax withheld? People get used to it because it becomes routine (weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly). People file a tax return once a year, so it stands out.

I am not advocating for more frequent filing. But perhaps it people got a refund (I know it is better to have money in hand than let the government have it for free all those months) instead of a tax bill they actually might look forward to filing their tax return. Who wouldn't want to know they are going to get a couple of hundred or thousand dollars by filing the return?

Posted by: tax guy | Apr 9, 2011 6:57:28 AM

Yeah, well wouldn't Intuit love that. No need for Turbo Tax if Average Joe doesn't have to scrounge around to "report" data that's already been reported by a third party. California tried this, with their 2003 ReadyReturn pilot program. It was a success but litigation and lobbying from Intuit squished it flatter than a flat tax.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 5, 2011 11:13:46 AM

This is a very interesting story. I couldn't agree with the idea of reforming and ultimately making the tax filing process much easier for all.

We constantly are hearing this from our clients as they simply do not have the time or ability to hunt down all the applicable information from their employers.

Posted by: Ryan | Apr 5, 2011 11:11:00 AM

"... in a more responsive, dialogic fashion. By leveraging technology and exploiting the government’s core competency for maximizing efficiencies in filing taxes, the plan slashes costs (monetary as well as psychological), and offers a consumer friendly, secure, and educational tax-filing portal."

Sorry, but that sounds like a phrase straight out of a "Dilbert" cartoon.
Pure techno-gibberrish

Posted by: Doug | Apr 4, 2011 6:28:33 PM