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To me (as a Dutchman) this sounds crazy. Here in Holland the only way to file your taxes as in individual (I don't know about company's) is to login to the government tax website (with my digid (a government issued digital identity)) and then to simply check if all the information that they have collected on me is correct. It usualy is.

All I have to add is my deduction items, and BAM! it's done. Also, we automatically pre-pay our taxes because it is calculated and payed for by all employers.

The dutch tax service even has a great slogan for this ideology: "Leuker kunnen we het niet maken. Wel makkelijker". Roughly translated, this means: "We can't make it nicer. But we can make it easier.".

Every year, they add some improvements to the entire system. They basically prefill your entire income and capital. Including stocks, dividends and other things. The only things you need to fill in yourself are some of your deductions (there are some which are prefilled as well).

They open the filing of taxes every year on march first. And every year there are lots of people who fill it in on the first day. This year there was even someone who handed their taxes in 18 seconds past midnight.

For those who are concerned about privacy: the banks are required to file your 1st of January balances and only the whole sum, not the specification and only the Social Security number in combination with the balances. You can specify more detailed (e.g. 'green' investments) but that is up to you.

I find the Dutch way (slightly) crazy, as someone from NZ for the most part, you just don't file taxes and it works out. If you have a more complicated situation you might need to, but otherwise there's no point. Everything is withheld correctly.

At least the Dutch ones tend to just be click-click-check-done, so it's not too bad. But it was sad moving to filing annual tax returns from a much simpler system.

> I find the Dutch way (slightly) crazy, as someone from NZ for the most part, you just don't file taxes and it works out.

This is generally the case as long as you do not deviate. In the past I requested to delay having to file taxes and they rejected my request because I did not have to. The 'but' is that as soon as you screw up, or one of your bosses screws up, or you forgot to file something, you have to file from that point onward.

It is always a good thing to do anyways as you might get money back.

Also from NZ. Is 'file taxes' a synonym for a post-facto 'tax return' when the government overcharges, due to charitable donations etc? Otherwise I can't imagine any reason why I as an NZ employee would ever need to consciously think about _paying_ tax :)

Yes, in the US, the default is to have part of your paycheck withheld for taxes. Sometime in January, you get a total of how much you were paid last year and how much federal/state income tax you paid. You fill out a form either using software or paper with that information. There is a standard deduction which is several thousand dollars you can subtract from your pretax income or you can itemize your deductions which is what you may want to do if you have children, just bought a home, made a lot of donations, or have a more complicated tax situation than just a single person renting an apartment with zero major assets. Most people will take the standard deduction because it's more than what they would get from an itemized deduction. You add up all the deduction(s), subtract that from your pre-tax income, then run the numbers again to see how much tax you should have paid. If the number is less than what you paid throughout the year, the govt cuts you a check otherwise you owe them money. If you planned to just take the standard deduction and have a simple tax situation, you could probably get away with not doing anything. You can fine tune your withholding number for your paycheck to minimize the amount they take out or you can increase the withholding if, for example, you know you are going to have a child lose their dependent status that year. I do the standard deduction and withholding. I got about $2000 back from the govt in overpaid taxes this year. I probably woulnd't have saved that money if I had fine tuned my withholding and was getting the extra $77 on each paycheck.

You can have an accountant do it for you. I don't file my taxes in The Netherlands. This makes sense if you own a business.

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