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Is this similar to PAYE or do you actually have to submit a tax return but it's pre-filled for you?

In the UK, most people don't have to submit a tax return at all. Not sure the actual cost of this, but the convenience is unparalleled.






>Is this similar to PAYE or do you actually have to submit a tax return but it's pre-filled for you?

As long as your PAYE is like Ireland's (ROI) PAYE, then the American's system is far-removed from it.

Even though their tax revenue office gets the reports from businesses for how much they were paid and how much taxes they paid, the Americans still need to fill out a tax form - every year - to repeat the same information (it's an added benefit for the prison system, in that mistakes on tax forms can equate to jail time). They get a form from their employer (which their tax office also has), that contains all of this information.

>In the UK, most people don't have to submit a tax return at all. Not sure the actual cost of this, but the convenience is unparalleled.

Aye, it's the same in Ireland (ROI). You can just call-up or email Revenue and they check if you've overpaid, by how much, and they just send you the money. No forms. No bullshit. No threats of jail time. It's pretty deadly[0].

You want nothing to do with the Yanks' tax system, trust me.

[0] - https://www.whygo.com/ireland/irish-slang-deadly.html


> Even though their tax revenue office gets the reports from businesses for how much they were paid and how much taxes they paid, the Americans still need to fill out a tax form - every year - to repeat the same information (it's an added benefit for the prison system, in that mistakes on tax forms can equate to jail time). They get a form from their employer (which their tax office also has), that contains all of this information.

You seem quite ignorant of the U.S. tax system. There are no criminal penalties for mistakes on your tax form. (the IRS doesn't even have prosecution authority--all it can do is collect evidence of a crime, and refer the case to the Department of Justice.)

And your tax return doesn't just "repeat the same information" as your W-2s. For example, the W-2 reports income on an individual basis, while married couples file a return as a single unit. The amount of tax owed will generally be different for married couples versus the amount of tax withheld. (And there is no federal government database of marriages the IRS can use to match up things on the back end.) The IRS also has no idea how many children you have living with you, and can't give you the appropriate credits for that.


>There are no criminal penalties for mistakes on your tax form.

Odd, I thought you faced the penalty of perjury[0]?

[0] - https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2017/02/15/fudging-y...


Technically, the social security administration gives out social security numbers. But that aside, more than 40% of children don't live with both biological birth parents: https://ifstudies.org/blog/more-than-60-of-u-s-kids-live-wit.... So your automated calculation will get it wrong almost half the time.

> All of those tax credits you mention are given by our respective tax agencies when we become employed and/or we change status with the tax agency and/or we obtain a new job (depending on how you avail of tax credits).

There are many tax credits in the U.S. that aren't tied to changes in job status. Every year, I have to dig up receipts for what we spent on daycare, what we spent out of our HSA accounts, etc. The government doesn't track any of that.

> Odd, I thought you faced the penalty of perjury[0]?

Perjury requires willful (i.e. knowing and purposeful) false statements in your tax return. I guarantee you that if you make false statements using Ireland's online system for claiming tax credits, you're under penalty of perjury as well.


>Every year, I have to dig up receipts for what we spent on daycare, what we spent out of our HSA accounts, etc. The government doesn't track any of that.

Aside from the daycare costs (as an aside, creche in Ireland is quite decent[0]), isn't all of that is still reported to the IRS? Your HSA isn't sitting in some dark corner that the government doesn't know about, ever since the Patriot Act, yeah?

I'm fairly certain it is reported to the IRS because Americans find getting bank accounts overseas quite cumbersome because your government strong-arms agreements that demand that Americans' overseas bank accounts are reported to the IRS. Surely, more domestic reporting shouldn't come as a surprise or shock.

>I guarantee you that if you make false statements using Ireland's online system for claiming tax credits, you're under penalty of perjury as well.

What do I get for a broken guarantee[1]? :)

This batering back and forth really only arrives at the conclusion that I originally posited:

Those of us in the PAYE system[s] would abhor having to do things the American way and this wasn't meant as an affront (and I apologise if anyone may have taken it that way).

Our tax agencies are responsible for keeping track of these things and the only things we're responsible for is reporting status changes and/or providing receipts for other proofs of burden (such as Independent Contractors who file as Directors of Umbrella Corporations and need to write-off business expenses).

[0] - https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/education/pre_school_e...

[1] - https://www.revenue.ie/en/personal-tax-credits-reliefs-and-e...


The IRS does not in the ordinary course receive informational returns about people's bank accounts. They do receive informational returns about interest generated by bank accounts (and other places), but they don't get e.g. transaction lists by default. Google "1099-INT example" to see one of these informational returns. They're minimalistic and they are minimalistic precisely because a large portion of the US polity hates the notion that the IRS would have arbitrary read access to people's financial lives.

You can reasonably assume that the IRS can use subpoena power to compel a US financial institution or foreign financial institution to surrender records to it. This is an oppositional process and they use it relatively rarely next to the total universe of taxpayers and accounts, generally only after they already have evidence of hinkiness and want to quantify unsurveilled amounts and/or locate assets.

These are not secret facts about the world; the operations of the IRS are exhaustively public (trust me, I have weird hobbies). People on a programmer-dense message board should have more weight for "While I understand that X would be accomplishable via an API if it existed, it is possible that that API does not factually exist" than they often do.

Also, the number of times someone in the financial industry typed in git commit -m "tldr Patriot Act compliance" is orders of magnitude below the number that HN comments routinely predict.


No, your day care does not make itemized reports of potential deductions for all its clients to the IRS.

Do you live in the United States? It doesn't sound like it. This is not the way things work.

A tweak to W4 could easily encapsulate planned filing status.

Tax returns really do take a huge majority of repeat information and a tiny amount of additional metadata.

There's no reason for the vast majority of Americans this couldn't be automated.


Google already parses purchasing information from emails.

Alphabet Taxes doesn’t sound too bad.




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