Saturday, January 29, 2011

Taxman gets 21st Century

As a consequence of New York's desire to pinch pennies the Tax Department is encouraging citizens to embrace the technological era we live in and file their taxes electronically.
(In a release littered in typos) the department estimates that if every eligible taxpayer, which is about 10 million people, filed electronically it would save approximately $20 million in processing costs each year.
According to a source in the department, those processing costs go to Bank of America, who essentially turn paper filings into electronic copies. He said the department is trying to reduce their reliance on this outside contractor and hopefully get the number of paper filers low enough that the state could process all the paper filings.
People who file electronically must use specific computer software (think TurboTax) in order for the IRS or the state to process the form.
This practice is a growing trend in New York, with paper forms declining nearly 10 percent last year. The department hopes to match that figure.
The release cites numerous personal benefits for people who e-file:
1. No trip to the post office (but you will have to go to a store and buy the tax software).
2. Your return will be accurate and will be processed faster, which means you could get your refund faster (or a quicker notice concerning owed taxes).
3. Your information is protected (because no one has ever cracked the internet).
Ok, so I may seem down on electronic filing, but I'm actually just down on this release from the Tax Department. They simply should have said: THE STATE HAS NO MONEY AND WE CAN SAVE MONEY IF YOU USE YOUR COMPUTER! DO IT OR WE'LL RAISE YOUR TAXES!
It works because it's reasonable and fear mongering.
Now enjoy this Beatles cartoon that ends in them singing George Harrison's TAXMAN...

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