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They also can't force you to type truthful numbers into TurboTax, paper forms, or whatnot. Hence the audit in the first place. There's no reason you'd have to file your own taxes with or without TurboTax. The IRS just asking the questions, optionally online, and having their computer crunch the taxes ought to be a no-brainer but I don't know what the real reason is why that is so difficult in the USA (and the article didn't really answer that: I doubt Intuit has more than a squat of real-world influence on the thing).

I live in Scandinavia and that's how it works here: you basically get a proposal based on what the tax office knows (salaries, local capital gains/losses, interest deductions if you have mortgage etc.), and then you submit diffs, if any, and they calculate everything based on that.

I've only ever had to change my tax proposal when I've married/divorced/had kids or had activity in a brokerage firm abroad (who wouldn't report my gains directly to my local authorities). Buying and selling property also shows up automatically as the registration process goes through the government anyway.

Now the tax authorities have even stopped sending any papers with a return envelope. They just point to the online service where you can easily augment whatever fields that might be missing input.

As a fellow Scandinavian, I find this kind of American distrust of government quite amusing. “We don’t like it when the government controls us, so let’s have it bury us in paperwork and complicated bureaucracy whenever we want to do anything whatsoever so we remember that the government still exists”.

Also, in many cases, there could be other, existing records that could optionally be sent to the IRS about changes in tax filings -- for example, the hospital could choose to forward to the IRS birth/death notices, same for marriage certificates and courts that approve divorces.

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