How could the federal government and state governments make it easier to fill out tax returns?
Individuals who don't own businesses spend tens of billions of dollars each year (in fees and time) filing taxes. Most of this is unnecessary. The government already has most of the information it asks us to provide. It knows what are wages are, how much interest we earn, and so on. It should provide the information it has on the right line of an electronic tax return it provides us or our accountant. Think about VISA. VISA doesn't send you a blank piece of paper each month, and ask you to list all your purchases, add them up and then penalize you if you get the wrong number. It sends you a statement with everything it knows on it. We are one of the only countries in the world that makes filing so hard. Many companies send you a tentative tax return, which you can adjust. Others have withholding at the source, so the average citizen doesn't file anything.California adopted a form of the above -- it was called ReadyReturn. 98%+ of those who tried it loved it. But the program was bitterly opposed by Intuit, makers of Turbo Tax. They went so far as to contribute $1 million to a PAC that made an independent expenditure for one candidate running for statewide office. The program was also opposed by Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist. The stated reason was that the government would cheat taxpayers. I believe the real reason is that they want tax filing to be painful, since they believe that acts as a constraint on government programs.