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Stolen from Twitter [1]:

"Government: You owe us money. It’s called taxes.

Me: How much do I owe?

Gov’t: You have to figure that out.

Me: I just pay what I want?

Gov’t: Oh, no we know exactly how much you owe. But you have to guess that number too.

Me: What if I get it wrong?

Gov’t: You go to prison"

[1] https://twitter.com/jordan_stratton/status/11181414550616719...

I'm very happy this sentiment is becoming more common. It is just insane when you think about it.

I don't think the IRS sends people to prison for filing incorrectly. There's a difference between misreading the instructions and “willfully [making and subscribing] any return, statement, or other document, which contains or is verified by a written declaration that is made under the penalties of perjury, and which he does not believe to be true and correct as to every material matter.”

You realize that only a portion of people get audited right?

Sure, your government could calculate everyone's taxes but I'm guessing those taxes would need to go up...

The IRS does in fact compare the data you send them to the data they have. Presumably the IRS, famous for it's computer system, isn't hand-checking every return.

The government does exactly that for the majority of tax residents in most countries in the world. US, with its Byzantine tax return system, is an outlier.

Try filing your taxes using different numbers than on your W2/1099 and see what happens.

I guarantee you'll get a discrepancy letter.

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