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> The second argument blows my mind because I can't imagine that the set of people who would just pay the IRS without double checking their math are reviewing the tax filings from the third party they use right now. In other words, I would really like to see a survey of how people currently file their taxes in comparison to how they think they would if there was an IRS free filing for everyone or something like the ReadyReturn mentioned in the NPR story.

I'm actually of the second opinion and, aside from two years dealing with medical issues with my wife, I've filed my taxes by hand for my entire life, and think everyone else should too.

There's a few companies that are allowed to efile that do very little besides convert the IRS paper forms to web forms and do the arithmetic for you. They tend to be a lot cheaper than TurboTax/H&R Block. I've been using one of them (OLT) the last two years has worked well enough for me and efile processes a lot faster than paper.

I also believe people should be filing their own taxes and understanding how the system works. I've owed money the last two years by underestimating self-employment taxes, so this year I've set up a spreadsheet that tells me how much I'll owe each quarter with all deductions built in and a tiny bit of overestimation.

I make sure to mail them in so uncle sam has to waste his money paying an actual person to input my data.

It’s worth it to me to pay a couple hundred dollars not to deal with it it and have someone else's signature on my return - that being said I have a back of the envelope spreadsheet that estimates my tax liability using about 5 inputs and is usually pretty accurate vs my prepared return

Are you under the impression that having someones signature on the return means you do not owe tax penalties if they do it wrong? If you read the copious amount of detailed instructions the irs provides, you'll soon find that thats not the case

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