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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Our messed-up tax system: TurboTax loves it

The complexity that beguiles American taxpayers is music to the ears of the people who write tax return preparation software and sell tax preparation services. And they'll throw big lobbying money around against anybody who tries to simplify the process. Pretty greedy, if you ask us.

And why doesn't Oregon have a "ready return" program, like California's? (Other than the people in the legislature, of course.)

Comments (6)

The lie to all of the complexity talk is that most people could download the forms from the IRS, read the instructions and mail their return for free, less cost of stamp. It really is not that hard. As a CPA I have better things to do than prepare someone's taxes who have nothing really going on... I cannot charge enough to make it worth my time without sending the client into a spasm. And since I do not charge by the billable hour, like our lawyer friends, I usually lose money on small returns. Unless you have business or investments interests you can do your return in half an hour for free, both state and federal. All you need to do is be able to do simple math, have the ability to read and the patience to do both.

Oregon should implement a "ready return" program. I ended up shelling out $40 to the other tax program folks. The Oregon Department of Revenue did shock me by getting me my refund in four days. IRS took seven days.

Turbo Tax or Tax Professional, there seems to be no hope of any tax savings for the folks in the middle. At least that's the way I feel after a long weekend of figuring my final numbers. There may be a simpler way to get it done, but that doesn't help my bottom line any.

I have a bit of H&R Block stock, and it's been doing well enough that my broker called and suggested cashing out and taking the gain. I told him to hold off until the fall, as with all the confusion over taxes this year, Block (and the rest of the tax prep world) is going to have a huge revenue year.

Since I don't have a very complicated return, I have been using TaxAct for many years; federal is free, state is $15.

oldsweng -


Good for you.

I sent both the fed and oregon returns in on 12 February, got the oregon refund by EFT to my bank on March 19, still waiting for the fed refund.

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