Most years I don't interact with them at all. Don't even have to file.
I guess in the USA they are worried the IRS will get it wrong, so on the chance they will, everyone has to follow really complicated processes, even if their tax affairs are simple...Am I wrong?
I don't trust our government as much as the US population doesn't trust its government but this level of paranoia only leads to inefficiencies. Now instead of a central authority providing codified norms in software, you have countless tax filling vendors providing theirs, lobbying, etc.
Same with right to bear guns against the government. I guess it's the old shovels and gold digging, there's someone profitting from your hopes and dreams, or in this case, fears.
It's the same structure that makes you pay 3% extra for everything you but so you can get 1-2% back as a credit card refund, and makes you get a supermarket loyalty card, and frequent flier miles, etc.
For pretty much everything is prefilled, and you just double check from your own records, fill in the various deduction screens for whatever class of deductions you're claiming.
The software is actually bad for you because you forget that reading every IRS booklet and form is about the only way to learn the logic of the tax system if you wish to exploit it correctly.
Even if you are self employed or run your own company you can do most things online, with a nice easy to use form. Last few years when I've done it, it takes around 30 minutes to get everything done (including finding all the numbers I need to enter from banks, my accountant, etc).
New Zealand has extremely limited deductions compared to the United States: http://taxsummaries.pwc.com/uk/taxsummaries/wwts.nsf/ID/New-.... For example, just from Google, it looks like you can't deduct expenses for daycare in New Zealand.
What we're worried about in the U.S. is that making deductions "opt in" will lead to an effective tax increase from people not claiming them (or being afraid to contest the "bill" sent to them by the IRS). You know the studies showing how organ donation rates shot up when it was made "opt out" instead of "opt in"? Same thing.