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(in the US) I would trust the government provided tax-return software to provide the smallest refund possible. It will also take $50 billion and 3-4 years to develop, and it will be down from April 1st to May 7th due to overload on the system. Your confirmation emails won't come through, and the database will be hacked and all records leaked within the first 18 months of operation.

Then you can go ahead and use the option to check them for things they forgot. You can also probably use an option to file yourself, which might be the case if you have complicated taxes. The great majority of Americans, however, are pretty poor and qualify for few tax breaks that cannot be done automatically. All they need to do to encourage the automatic filing would be to consistently prove to be accurate.

The database will be hacked and all records leaked within the fist 18 months of operation

You know, the same information they need for most people's taxes is already in the IRS database.

I'd also like to say that I've had automatic filing for my Norwegian taxes since moving here to Norway, and always have to file American taxes manually. The emails get sent to a secure email system which you can check. Letters get lost and stolen as well, by the way. The system doesn't have to go down either - I don't even have to interact. I just get the email telling me I can check taxes, but it is not required that I do. (Safer to do so in case of owing). They tell me I'll get my money in a 3-month timeframe. It goes to the same place paychecks go to, though I imagine if anyone gets checks they take longer, as do the people that manually file.

I'm also pretty sure that the reason it would be expensive is that the government isn't exactly known to keep the IRS fairly current and the government isn't really set up to handle the digital age well. But then again, the records are already there. They already plan on getting refunds. And easier filing means more people do tax returns... and it catches more people that owe. Oh, and you won't need as many people working at the call centers because fewer people will need to actually calculate their taxes. I'm gonna guess it would be a net benefit and profit within a very short amount of time.

The main people that do badly with this sort of system are the tax filing companies along with, I'm guessing, some accountants.

We used to have a telefile option where you spent ten minutes on the phone punching in numbers off your W-2 forms and then you wrote down a confirmation number. It only worked if you had a really simple tax situation, but it was so easy. I assume it was killed by the same lobbyists.

Some flash website sites from the government don't do much to address actual concerns.

Weak security: [1]

Cost overrun: [2]

Inability to design a highly available website From [3]: > The basic architecture of the site, built by federal contractors overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, was flawed in design, poorly tested and ultimately not functional.

[1] https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/06/epic-... [2] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/07/obamaca... [3] http://swampland.time.com/2013/10/24/traffic-didnt-crash-the...

Then vote a better government.

Why do you believe voting works? Remember when people voted for BRexit?

I believe "Voting doesn't work" works very well for preserving the status quo. Don't you agree?

If voting is shown to not work, I'm not sure how you would peaceably replace such a system, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be replaced.

> voting is shown to not work

I'll grant that voting works only sometimes. And when it does change things, it's often not everything we want changed, and definitively not fast enough. But it can change things. If it didn't, voter suppression would not exist[1]. (One of the ways of suppressing vote is promoting voter apathy, by the way).

The only sure guarantee is that not voting doesn't work.

> peaceably

Even something as seemingly mundane as voting carries a lot of risk of physical violence in some places. That's how voting was in the US in the 1870s[2], if you were black. It might sound like a far away past for certain US citizen, but I (an European) own a house older than that.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_suppression_in_the_Unite... [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disenfranchisement_after_the_R...

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