In the US, the IRS supported an e-file system that basically allowed electronic versions of forms to be submitted, but it was arcane enough that a cottage industry developed to assist users in prepping documents for e-file.
How does Finland support tax preparation services; what sort of facilities do they offer for people filing on behalf of others?
Even if the US went to an IRS-pre-filled return, there would still be room for third-party tax software that improved on the user experience, so I think if the IRS supported direct filing of taxes it would also be good to preserve the ability for software or designated parties to submit information on the taxpayer's behalf.
The taxation has been pretty automated for a long time.
As a regular taxpayer nowadays I just get a paper form that describes the precalculated taxes, and if they are fine, I don't have to return anything. There are some pre-deducted things, and if I have anything add to that,
I'll then just either fill in the paper form or the electronic equivalent.
So yes, there was a basic "semi automated" scheme that has been steadily improving and now the tax authority has just added a web based interface for feeding data into it.
About filling the taxes on behalf of someone else -
There really is no need for tax preparation services unless you are business entity (in which case you likely already have your own accountant doing it) or the wealth is considerable enough to merit actual tax planning. Otherwise the tax code is so straightforward and simple that anyone can do it. If there are some questions, you can always contact the tax services and they will usually offer helpful and professional advice on how to proceed.
So there is no market for that kind of thing in the large. The "defaults" provided by government help in this regard as well.
I kinda understand the adverserial positioning of "people vs. the government" in the US - it just sounds to an outsider the main reason not to make things easier is because that would eradicate business from turbo tax. Kinda like the government mandated you need to own a useless dead parrot, that you can only buy from Parrot Co, that needs to be kept in the refridgerator in an exact position mandated by the law.
The "tax return suggestion" was introduced in 1996. So it predates all electronic filing.
Filling tax returns via a web service became available in 2008.
The first (non-web) electronic tax filings were made in 1997, but those were for corporate returns. Not sure when it became available for income tax returns (that use case is rare here).
Source: Finnish Tax Administration https://www.vero.fi/contentassets/09b6f07e61dd490ab0caabba8e... (Finnish PDF)
> How does Finland support tax preparation services; what sort of facilities do they offer for people filing on behalf of others?
Electronic tax filing using files is available: https://www.ilmoitin.fi/webtamo/sivut/Esittelysivu?kieli=en
You can use an online service to authorize another person to file your taxes: https://www.vero.fi/en/About-us/contact-us/efil/authorisatio...
The other person can then file using paper, file, or web.