I am pushing so hard to make it better and more useful to more people, like being able to add capital gain that is not currently supported.
these are the push backs that I am getting:
1. Last time they tried to do what all of you ask, a ready return. TurboTax and others hired bunch of lobbyist and put so much pressure on people here and killed the project. People are still afraid and don't want to do too much to grab the attention of their lobbyist!
2. Use of CalFile goes down every year and if trend continues, it would be killed in the near future.
when you have your Federal return it is much easier to pay a little more and file your state tax with it too.
No body even knows CalFile exist because we don't have a marketing budget to promote it.
3. Even people here buy the argument that free software exist and people could file their taxes for free.
For number 2 can you import fed return with calfile?
IRS free returns going down too so you are not alone: https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/Free_File_Program_Is_Failin...
This is a large reason why Prorepublica keeps digging at this - it’s fucking crazy actual free filing is going down while these paid shenanigan products are holding strong with their ginormous marketing budgets.
With all due respect to the OP, most state run software operations are complete, utter, garbage. I'd happily pay money to avoid some of the clunky, poor UI/UX, and downright broken web tools that the state of California produces.
TurboTax on the other hand, is a relatively nice experience.
I never wanted "linear". My ideal tax software just has the forms to fill out on screen, but applies all the constraints and rules so that the return is either consistent or you have a comprehensive list of discrepancies. And cascades any fields that can be derived from others. Really, just like a compiler for taxes.
TurboTax used to work like this...
Intuit's tax products are regulatory capture, plain and simple, and deserve no defending.
> The government, on the other hand, exists to defend the citizens.
Never a truer word spoken.
Other government competition with private enterprise is not so clear. Paving roads? Providing medicine? Delivering packages? Its been a rocky road.
And the USPS has been going broke for decades now. Not a good example of a well-run service.
It runs excellently otherwise.
Congress did that. It's political. It can be undone.
Free market people want the USPS gone. Trouble is the Post Office is in the Constitution, must exist barring some Amendment, and must be run by the Federal Government.
None of those are bad things. The Post Office has been exemplary.
The trouble began during the Bush administration. Two things were done:
1. Rate changes that turn big bulk mailings for companies into a subsidy. Deep discounted rates. That was coupled with significant increases for ordinary people and smaller publishers. None of that made much sense.
2. Forced advanced payments on benefits. At the time it was done, there were people not even born yet, who would end up working for the Post, whose benefits were being paid now, basically.
In terms of the self-reliant rural communities, you’re not factoring the very significant cost that the entire population pays to support your rural lifestyle. As agriculture continues to decline and consolidate, those externalities costs will continue to grow.
Efficiency, sure, what's inefficient about the USPS? I sent a package over my lunch break today, and my package delivery is 10x better delivered by a USPS mailperson than someone hired by amazon. (A USPS mailperson leaves a package at my door, but I've had packages from amazon thrown into my bushes, or dropped beside the street)
Medicare is still more efficient than private insurance, even allowing for Social Security handling a lot of the administration you mention. Social Security must exist, and must provide the services it does, so you would of course rely on their infra if you're Medicare.
could you please share your thoughts about internet access in the US of A? it seems that despite the best efforts of Saint Market, long may he reign, and all of this wonderful competition and efficient allocation of resources and so forth optimizing for short term outcomes has led to mediocre speeds and monopoly-ish behavior/choice in most areas.
or that Saint Market has led to pretty poor health outcomes in the USA despite spending massively amount more per capita than other nations
or that Saint Market's desire for profitability and efficiency leads them to, say, not replace lead pipes which ruin health of various communities (probably far away from yours, so it's OK .... for now)
it's almost like evaluating things based on extremely myopic criteria that people use to judge for-profit companies leads to outcomes that optimize for local maxima but are horrible when viewed from even slightly more far out, like, i dunno, a few years.
can you acknowledge that some things are best evaluated on performance outside of "profitability" and "efficiency" in the time span of 3 months?
Management responsible to the bottom line will sometimes improve those things. Management responsible to … I don't know what a government agency is responsible to? rarely upgrades, review, improves. It is axiomatic of government agencies that they exist for their own sake. And cost a bucketload of (our) money.
With taxes you're interfacing directly with the government; that's either as a citizen or Turbo Tax as a proxy for the citizen. To me, that seems more appropriate for the government to handle than fire, police, or sewer service. Whether it's the citizen or Turbo Tax, it costs money to implement Congress' tax code and build out a "UI" (tax forms). It still costs money to audit. So you're outsourcing one portion of the interface, you still have to build/maintain an e-file protocol, and you're doubling up on the auditing.
History bears this out as a band-aid. The program started in 2001 under GW because other countries already had online tax filing and engaging the private sector was seen as a way to "catch up" quickly. 20 years later it's still miserable for the average citizen and there are countless examples of other countries showing how much easier it can be.
A big advantage is overhead. If the work scales out, government employees get paid less, especially executives. The disadvantage was that you couldn’t make money to re-invest, and capitalizing new services was difficult.
.gov orgs get a lot of grief, but if you compare them to an average large company, they aren’t as awful as most people think.
My experience is that in the public sector, things often move slower, but the range of productivity seems to have a significant overlap with an average large company. I think the cost of nobody believing in what they are doing is an underappreciated drag on many private sector workplaces. The fact that failure is not an option in the public sector has several oft repeated negative consequences, but it also means that you have a reason for coming to work and making an effort, (other than not starving) even if nobody appreciates it, management is terrible, working conditions are lousy, pay is poor, co-workers are idiots, etc. That counts for something towards effectiveness, if there is a core group that hasn't descended into nihilism.
The leadership of government organizations has pressure to get re-elected, or to get someone from their party elected.
I'm not sure whether you are simply ignorant how representative democracy is supposed to work, or whether you're feigning ignorance. Is it really so unfathomable that people might be motivated by something other than financial gain? Are we expected to take anything else you say seriously if this is the starting point of your ideology?
One only has to take a look at the Obama administration's apparent panic over healthcare.gov to see this at work. When it wasn't going well, it very much was a political issue at the forefront of political conversation.
For this tax year I used TurboTax. I have a relatively simple return, but editing stock sales was extremely tedious and I was constantly upsold on random products when I just wanted to go to the e-file page.
One example where it worked well before and became a complicated mess now: for some deductions you need answer a lot of questions just for it to tell you that you are not eligible because of your income. Why not to check this in the very beginning?
Question, the site and now you mention it does not support Capital gain/loss. I used it anyway, it asked for Adjusted Income from federal return, which takes those into account? So it appears to support it after all. Still confused about that.
(I refuse to share my financial info with a malicious third party, and continue to.)
One nitpick on the Calfile UI, it puts the "Continue" buttons on the left instead of the right side, which seems odd for folks that read left to right.
After college I quickly weaned myself off TurboTax in favor of filing taxes for free with CalFile & Free Fillable Forms with an occasional paper mailing of PDFs that I download and fill out. Much like my opposition to using proprietary word processors, my disdain of paid tax return services that own your data is deep and profound.
While a bit painful and limited in feature set, the mere existence of a free filing option is crucial to keeping Intuit from forcing me to pay to file my returns. I find Intuit to be a rather evil company. Filing a return is mandated by law with steep penalties. They intentionally keep the process complicated and convoluted. It's a plundering of everyone's time for unproductive work and overspending on something that should be quick and easy.
Heads up then because Intuit is behind Free Fillable Forms.
In fact, when confirming phone numbers the calling number is from Intuit.
That is not unexpected because they are part of the consortium running Free Fillable Forms.
It's just one of those things where the USA lags behind the rest of the world, not being able to file directly with the tax authority.
Thank you for pointing this out, but yes I am aware. It is the only method to electronically file federal taxes for free. If FFF gets dropped due to Intuit's posturing then I will have to resort to paper filing.
This is insane. Where are the actual citizens at the negotiating table?
There are efforts to fund politics on small donations. I'm on board.
Consider looking into them.
Honestly, the citizens will have no place at the policy table, until they take some seats on their own dime.
So, that's happening. Ideally, other changes can be made, but to even get at those, some power is required.
Can you help me understand?
You look at donations to people from corporations or through lobbyists and they don't look that large, $15-20k and they are getting big bills passed.
That $15-20k isn't buying the politician or their vote. The threat to give millions of dollars to the opposing politician that will support them is.
The people who are hurt by not having free taxes certainly can't afford lobbyists, and even if they could... they would have to spend so much more than they pay in tax preparation fees for their whole life to compete with TurboTax money. Who would do that?
If they can afford TurboTax, they can afford the lobbyist.
You might say that you should donate out to the fund out of moral principle of a just cause, but there are a million just causes, a million small rent seeking industries that do this sort of thing. Which of them do I donate to fight against? Why income tax and not one of the others?
TurboTax is going to be willing to spend a LOT of money to fight this... you are going to have to get a LOT of people to choose your moral cause, and donate to the PAC.... and then find even more when TurboTax spends even more on lobbying to counteract your PAC. Who is going to give up first?
In the case of ReadyReturn, one of the key players is Grover Norquist, an anti-tax activist. (see https://priceonomics.com/the-stanford-professor-who-fought-t... for some of the older history here) He has this incredible network of anti-tax groups, media figures, and others that can be activated to attack and take down politicians, particularly republicans, without spending a dime (altough they also have money to spend).
It might seem wrong, but it is fundamentally the same mechanism by which liberal action networks (like human rights campaign or NARAL) drive their political influence as well.
It is these networks of influence that politicians really fear, because they are so much more effective then money.
If a politician influenced by a lobbyist start to question the decision of an agency, have hearings, grill the management on the reasons they decided to waste tax payers money, etc. that is not fun for those employees.
There is no incentive for that trouble and people try to avoid it as much as possible.
Now that I know about this, I'm definately going to use it. Can I use it for federal too? or do I need to use something else for federal, then I can use CalFile for state.
You may want to read the ProPublica article.
The Pro Publica reporting about TurboTax's efforts to suppress the free option is eye-opening.
Open source word processors and spreadsheets? Open source ride hailing apps? Open source social media? Open source chat applications? Open source consumer operating systems?
Only in a few niches (mostly developer tools or platforms) is open source giving "tough competition".
I would imagine it would have to be managed by the government (or someone with liability) but accept contributions that would be vetted and approved by the government.
You literally have office politics. I salute you.
The linked site is not mobile friendly BTW as text is cut off (OnePlus 5 Chrome).
The UI isn't great* and if you do complex stock trading it can be a pain to add the necessary information, but for the vast majority of people it works just fine.
It also shows if it is better to use the standard deduction or the itemized deductions for your particular case and also calculates your effective tax rate.
In fact, the Java App has for years been the only way to file personal income federal* tax. The paper forms were abolished because (almost) no one used them and they had a large rate of mistakes.
* The Java desktop app runs on Linux, macOS and Windows. (And possibly others)
* There is a separate mobile app but I haven't actually used it.
* In macOS there was bug in last year's version: it used ctrl instead of command for things like copy and paste.
* There is no state income tax in Brazil.
OS portability has greatly improved with their online app , which is actually very good and easy to use. Before, the only stable way to run their Desktop application on Linux was through wine.
However it misses the most important part. In Sweden your tax declaration comes pre-populated with data they already have, like salary/pension/savings/stock sales/etc., and you can either just accept it as it is or make changes to the already existing data.
It's so easy that you in fact just can send an SMS (that is verified to be from you) to the taxation agency saying that their suggestion is right.
The total time spend combined for me filing taxes for the last 10 years is less than 15 minutes. And the reason it isn't less than 3 is because I've logged in (using biometrics and password on my phone that is a hardware token to my bank wich is used for instant secure identification) to check that everything looks OK and to add the commuting at least 10 km/day on bike deduction.
Also, some things, like capital gains, you don't even need to declare if you used only German brokers, since they are legally required to submit it for you.
It's first version was released to the public in 1999, so... Yes, ELSTER is around for almost 20 years now, getting constantly refined at least in the front-end.
All in all, it's something you wouldn't have expected here in Germany in terms of software projects from the government.
It presents as the equivalent of the paper form but with many of the fields autocalculating for you, and offering contextual help. Quite nifty.
It's really an old joke. On any reference I have ever found, no matter how old, the joke is already old and the readership is expected to know it.
Which is obviously intentionally ironic considering that
> The lion's share is an idiomatic expression which refers to the major share of something.
I wonder what other countries tuck these kinds of harmlessly blatant humor in similarly unexpected places. It's nice.
As an extension of schat we also have schatkist, which means treasure chest, which is also used as the translation for treasury.
When I look up the meaning of schat the dictionary says: A large collection of valuables. I see how an organization gets named after the very thing they are supposed to handle.
The danes have chosen to name their tax authority not "skat authority" or something like that, just "skat" which evokes the friendly/funny pun.
All invoices are digital. Every person who gets a TaxId also gets a Private/Public keypair and generating invoices means signing the document with that key. The amazing thing is that now accountants talk about the XML, which is the legal representation of the invoice.
As a result, every year if you file your taxes, you go I to the government freely provided website , get into your account and most of the data is there for the exercise, including deducted money that you can get back.
If you are a standard worker earning less than certain amount (very sensible, so the vast majority of workers fall in there) you don't even have to file your taxes.
That's one thing that is good about this country.
Tangential curiosity: how is this part done? Do you download the keys from a government website? How do they handle key reissues if a private key is compromised?
It's a somewhat tedious process, but if you keep the key safe, which they very much advice, most of the procedures, including tax fillings, are pretty easy and fast.
So if the doctor's office punches in my legal ID number with the receipt (or if the ID gets added automatically from the billing system that a large hospital would have), then when the office sends all their receipt files to the tax office, the tax office will automatically add that electronic receipt to my tax deduction.
When that happens they ask you for your TAX ID and then the business generates the invoice and your taxid and their taxid makes the tie. The Mexican IRS systems see all of this. So at the tax reporting moment, the system will have all that info.
It is pretty neat actually. However I think it is possible bc in Mexico people are not that concerned with privacy and all that.
I'd like it if we could take up other, simpler models of sorting out income tax but I use software out of this pool† every year and its served me just fine:
† usually StudioTax. I donated to them last year. It's not pretty software but it's effective and easy to use. https://www.studiotax.com/en/
"Our business model is similar to that of a street performer. You can use and enjoy our software and later decide if the experience was worth it and you can afford a donation.
However, based on many users’ feedback, you should be wary of recent free offerings from big commercial organizations. To use our previous analogy, they are big circuses that send their clowns out to the street to attract unsuspecting customers to their tents and pressure them in paying for their overpriced shows."
In Ireland you don’t do anything in the usual case, unless you think it’s wrong, everything is taxed at source by the employers/banks.
Both cases different if you’re a company ofc.
However, they require a digital certificate to download (probably for privacy reasons) and I don't have one so I couldn't test it.
The government makes a draft declaration for you, if it's OK you just have to digitally sign your agreement and provide a bank account to pay or receive your return (if you haven't already done that in the past). Otherwise you need to edit it adding whatever they've missed, but this is only needed if you do complex stock trading, operate with money abroad, etc. For most people it's just skimming through it in case there is an obvious error, and confirming the draft.
Once you confirm the draft, it takes only around 2-4 days for the tax return money to appear in your bank account.
The website's UI is good. Spanish e-administration webapps are a bit hit-and-miss, some are dreadful (digital certificate request, I'm looking at you), but that particular one is fine and has always worked well for me.
Other fun stuff about that desktop app...
* Originally, it was a DOS-only program (yes, it's that old). Then for a while, it was Windows-only, then for some time (probably due to the Linux users complaining) there was both the Windows-only version and the Java multi-platform version, and later the Windows-only version was discontinued.
* The original way of sending the output of this program to Receita Federal was to write it to a floppy disk and take it to a bank, which would read and upload it. Later functionality was added to send it through the Internet instead, and some time later the floppy disk option was removed.
For a while a lot of non-aligned countries were mandating the exclusive use of open-source software by government agencies, because the idea of their government being beholden to a US corporation was anathema. I suspect this was the motivation behind eliminating the Microsoft-only government service.
I haven't heard much about that open-source requirement lately. I suspect the Long Reach has been making quiet moves behind the scenes, and the ascendancy of neofascist regimes in many of those countries will do what fascist regimes always do (ie. cater to the cartel making up the fasces).
In the Netherlands we had (for a very short while at least as far as I remember) a DOS program as well on diskette. I never used it but my dad did when internet explorer was not yet evil and msn was a network. You could send it in via modem (9k6 baud yay!) and it would work ... sometimes or hand it in via the diskette. Once the internet got going you could send it more easily as you could send the created files directly instead of relying on the modem dial-in via dos.
For myself I never filed on paper (2002 first one). After the introduction of windows programs they ported it to linux the next year (filed the first one on windows only on a library pc, program might have existed earlier) and have now switched to web based. If you had a company which did their taxes on time everything was (and is) filled out mostly correct. You check it and sign off. As a student it took a while to fill in all the deductibles but if you just have to pay you are done in minutes.
Is/was it perfect? Far from. Does it work for most people? Yes.
My cousin started work as a company messenger back in the early 80s and these are the sort of tasks he used to do. Its amazing that the profession has died out in in such relatively short space of time. I guess courier companies have filled in the slot but courier companies would never have coped with the number of documents that needed to be ferried about town in the old days.
It's been replaced by something far nicer and web based! Though the old application was still definitely better than doing taxes by hand or having to pay for some third-party thing.
It takes less than 5 minutes to do your taxes unless you have unusual sources of income.
I love it!
Windows only last time I did it (7 years ago?), things may have improved further since then.
I think the best I've seen so far is Andrew Yang's plan:
Opt in to have your taxes automatically done. National celebration of projects completed. Ability to specify where 1% of your taxes go.
So not only make it easy to do, but try to make it fun and shift the mindset from burden to societal contribution.
The only complexity for me came when I bought my house (some costs are deductible) and when I had to report Bitcoin held at Coinbase (and for that I had to report the (EUR) on January 1st 2018 specifically).
Only self-employed, people with side-jobs or people who make over a certain threshold need to file their taxes manually (and in that case things are a bit complicated).
Healthcare, pensions and benefits are paid as part of the paycheck if you are employed (they are universal and mandatory, so not the same as in the U.S.), there are no other deductibles that a regular person can claim.
Swiss one was way easier to understand by far. As a side effect of doing those taxes, it was easy to see my actual wealth and my actual net income for the year. Which in America is a sin.
The only out-of-date thing I've noticed on the UK one is stuff like 'this PDF of your tax return is 1.5mb, on a dial up modem this might take 5 mins to download' etc. And I guess some people might still be on that kind of link so fair enough
edit: And yeah in the UK you dont have to file at all if your situation is simple (e.g. you just have one job and one source of income).
Personally I don't have lots of stuff to file, but I did everything under 1 hour, while still discovering how to use the app and learning a bunch of taxes nomenclature.
Federal government charges taxes on income, production, import/export and over bank operations; states charge consumption and vehicle taxes; cities charge service and property taxes. Then there's also contributions that employers pay for workers, and some that workers pay.
However, consumption tax can compound itself (because of sales between distributors, or taxes over raw materials), so there's a "substitution" formula which can get pretty weird (but companies take care of it).
TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans from Filing Taxes for Free; 211 points -- 54 minutes ago
TurboTax to charge more lower-income customers; 144 points -- 3 months ago
Congress Scraps Provision to Restrict IRS from Competing with TurboTax; 82 points -- 4 months ago
Listen to TurboTax Lie to Get Out of Refunding Overcharged Customers; 171 points -- 5 months ago
TurboTax Uses a “Military Discount” to Trick Troops into Paying to File Taxes; 170 points -- 5 months ago
TurboTax and H&R Block Saw Free Tax Filing as a Threat; 355 points -- 6 months ago
TurboTax Hides Its Free File Page from Search Engines; 881 points -- 6 months ago
TurboTax Uses Dark Patterns to Trick You into Paying to File Your Taxes; 608 points -- 6 months ago
How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing (2013); 462 points -- 7 months ago
edit: if you _still_ haven't gotten enough TurboTax reporting, there's a great Reply All episode that covers propublica's reporting as well https://gimletmedia.com/shows/reply-all/6nhgol
In this particular case, the rich are actively using the system to stop an improvement to the quality of life of regular people.
What's the point in living in the richest country in the world when your quality of life is lower than many countries that don't have nearly so much money?
1: (its 4 micro city states above it, which are economically special, and 5 nations that could reasonably be considered full sized countries, however all of them still have relatively small populations)
However, I agree with the point that you're making wholeheartedly. There's a very serious amount of wealth disparity around the world, and the rich have gotten so rich that they can't even feasibly spend all of their money if they had to.
The lives of middle and lower class people in Australia, Canada, Scandinavia, etc. are much, much, much better than Americans, and improving all the time.
Furthermore, the government has surely implemented the algorithm itself in order to verify submitted tax returns, so the implementation cost of pre-computing everyone's tax should be comparatively small.
Everyone is hating on TurboTax for making money, but they’re pretending the government tax machine has no such motivation, which simply is not true.
The only times I've heard of the IRS going after people who unintentionally violated the rules, they were intentionally and obviously violating the spirit of the law but thought they were within the letter and were wrong.
In my experience you can make a good faith effort to figure out what your supposed to owe and pay it. In this case the IRS will treat you fairly and waive all types of fines. Or you can try to aggressively avoid taxes that you should owe in spirit. And in this case you have to be damn sure you're within the letter of the law because the IRS will try to hammer you if you color outside the lines. These seem like two fair options to me. And everyone I know who was slammed by the IRS was doing the latter.
Many countries pre-fill the tax return, but require the citizen to submit it. The citizen is responsible for the submitted information, not the government.
Now you are criticizing someone for giving a factual response. Time for some reflection.
Also no mention of filling out the free 1040 form... that’s too difficult. As if the companies charging you to do that for you just existed because they were forcing people to pay them...
For example, I used to work in New Jersey, and live in New York, meaning I would have to file two state tax returns, in addition to the federal. There are weird rules that you can deduct one state's taxes from the other, and then deduct the remainder from the federal taxes. The rules get complex really quickly, and even with helpful software I made a mistake one year resulting in a fine. I can't imagine how frequently I'd make mistakes if I had to do it manually.
TurboTax definitely provides a service by making it so that schmucks like me can do taxes, but if the tax code is that complex, shouldn't we have a software like this for free? At the very least, to provide some motivations to politicians to help simplify the tax code?
You speak of NJ, NY, taxes, "mistakes", fines, potential "audits" by the IRS, then wonder why politicians would want to simplify and improve something that many of them likely grift from or cheat on themselves, due to that same complexity...
...and one of the biggest of these tax cheats hails from NY, likely has had his now (on again, off again) lawyer, who used to be mayor of NYC and before that as a US AG - probably ran interference for his cheating and other scams.
But all of them - and plenty of others - benefit from the complexity and other issues, and don't want it any other way, unfortunately. No real good solutions to that.
That’s absolutely not acceptable in this thread (I tried)!
It wasn't actually directly due to the multi-state thing. I paid for my wife's college, and NY has a thing to let you deduct tuition from dependents on taxes. I had forgotten to attach the proof of payment for tuition, leading to me getting audited (in the most technical send of the word) and fined slightly. The biggest pain in the ass was the back-and-forth I had to do to close my case, which involved me faxing things multiple times.
I went to experienced tax professionals to help me with those returns, and _they_ were baffled, spent hours pulling out phone book-sized paper guidebooks, and debating with each other, and making phone calls to colleagues, and I had to file amended returns - in one case, _twice_. Fortunately they never charged me anything to correct the errors, but... wow.
What hope would I have had to get it right myself, trying to fill out the various schedules?
Still, it's an irksome chore that I would prefer not to have to do.
Within a few days I received a letter from a private company informing me that unless I pay them $1000 to publish the name of my LLC in two public newspapers for six weeks, one daily newspaper and one weekly newspaper, in 120 days my LLC would need to cease doing business in NY. I pull out my phone and did a quick online search. Lo and behold, there is a law that says the same.
In this golden age, the government has chosen to require me to pay a private archaic company to print in ink thousands of times on paper the silly name of an LLC I just came up with, then proceed to distribute it by truck to a bunch of old people that then proceed to throw it in the garbage.
No fancy tax algorithms would be required for NY to simply drop this nonsensical requirement. Maybe this process exists because there are groups of people making a small fortune from it?
I do see the value in publicly announcing things, but I do see newspapers as archaic.
The clerks at this court look at the scanned pages and confirm that yes they do say what the XML says, and then this gets published.
People can search for company histories, look at their bylaws, etc.
Similarly there's a different gov service for publishing corporate yearly financial reports.
Why isn't something like that for US states?
I think this is fairly common.
> After you get done publishing, the newspaper will provide an Affidavit of Publication, and you send that to the New York Division of Corporations with a Certificate of Publication that carries a $50 filing fee.
I live in NY but never filed an LLC, but I Google'd that. I can't believe such nonsense exists to get money in a state that already has high state / sales taxes.
Best argument I’ve heard is “gotta keep people employed somehow, can’t be too efficient”
1. Please ignore almost all the mail you get initially. There are public companies that troll NYS business registration logs and send TONS of false and highly misleading if not illegal advertisements. "You totally need this $900 OSHA poster you can just print for free and paste on the wall". "Ignore the fact we copied NYS' letterhead but aren't a governemnt entity", etc.
2. The NYS tax department will send you one real piece of mail as a questionnaire.
3. Yes, the newspaper requirement is real and fucking terrible. It's a very old holdover however politicians don't want to get rid of it because quite literally, it's a handout program for newspapers. It would make alot of "local" papers nobody reads, close up shops.
4. Shop around, there are a few ways to save money on it.
Honestly, I made a LLC 2 years ago in NYS and haven't even used it business wise. I have yet to do the publicatinon requirement. You just can't legally do business until you do so BUT it doesn't give a deadline.
I think the idea is that anyone who the company owes money to can file a claim before any remaining funds are distributed.
Of course there are much better and more cost-effective ways of doing this (even pre-internet). It’s just absurd rent-seeking by unproductive leeches on the economy as far as I can tell.
They publish notice of all laws, all insolvencies, all changes of name, new holder of certain public offices etc. I don't think there is any news or anything beyond the UK.
I bet it would be 5x more if you had to take out an ad in the Times or Telegraph. :)
I wrote to my state assembly person; she wrote back saying A8125 was introduced to repeal the requirement, but no action taken. I would encourage you to write to your assembly person and senator, because this is just a drag on NY businesses.
Unfortunately the numbers are year specific.
Reading that as “one daily newspaper and one weekly newspaper”, that would be 6 (weeks) times at least (6 + 1) = 42 adverts in a newspaper (I can also read it as “2 public, one daily and one weekly”. That would increase the number of adverts). Price per advert would be about $25.
I guess most LLCs get incorporated in an at least somewhat large city, so the circulation of the paper will be somewhat high. $25 per advert then doesn’t sound that bad to me.
I know zilch of advertising prices, though, so let’s google it. Reading https://fitsmallbusiness.com/newspaper-advertising-costs/ (a link that google gave me, but that I don’t know the quality of), I see the price per “column inch” go down from about €18 to about €13 when you advertise more often.
⇒ it could well be that $1,000 is a fair price, giving the higher price you would have to pay and the amount of work you would have to do if you did it alone.
(Still seems a weird law, though. I can imagine that one should give people to object if your company will be noisy, stinky, or the like, but then, the city, IMO, should require a permit)
That likely still is true, but less so (fewer people subscribe to papers), and the assumption that people who read the paper would spot your advert probably only held back in the time when papers had reasonably small coverage (so that your advert wouldn’t appear in a large section of the paper, but stand on its own), and were about the only source of news (which made them much better read)
Can the government please make something that's easy to use? Filing taxes isn't something that requires a separate company to help with, and I see no reason why these products have a right to exist (and especially not be canonized), especially with how exploitive they are or can be.
But if we remove the annual pain of dealing with taxes, then Americans will get complacent and may stop being bothered by having to pay taxes.
- The serious ideology of a major American political party vis-a-vis taxes.
Similarly, there is a group in the US whose main goal is to change the law so that employers can't pay your taxes on your behalf. Instead, you would get your full salary, and then have to write a check to pay your taxes. The group believes this would raise tax awareness.
Doesn't seem like a particularly useful way to approach life, to me.
But forcing it just wastes everyones time, adds red tape, and additional bureaucracy they purport to rail against.
That's called Weight Watchers. The general principle was pretty effective for me. Most people don't keep a log of wear and tear on their car, but we definitely operate airplanes that way. That also seems pretty productive to me.
But yeah, it's not the only way to operate. I don't really like the idea of putting more responsibility on people in order to "raise awareness". I take that to really mean someone would like everyone to be more upset about taxes, and would like to make them less convenient to increase upsetness.
If a politician raises taxes, and all it does is change the value of a annual withdrawal on your account, I think that pain would be the same, regardless of difficulty of filing.
The pain is estimating and filing 4 times a year.
They simply do not understand the fact that, no, that check is not "free government money" but is instead money that the government took, held onto for free all year, interest free, and then let you have back after you filed the proper forms.
So the suggestions to have people cut checks to the government (quarterly, monthly, annually) is generally made from trying to overcome that viewpoint that too many folks view their tax return as some form of "gift" from the government, and instead get them to recognize just how much tax money is being consumed.
Which individuals? How do you know these people?
Also I don't agree with your perspective on tax withholding. If you don't want your employer to withhold taxes, I think they have to stop withholding taxes. It's a convenient default, in my opinion.
I appreciate transparency like that, but I hate other examples that add additional steps or paperwork to the process.
But it doesn't work for low-income people that are already living paycheck-to-paycheck.
In principle I like your suggestion but in actuality I think many Americans will not like their "yearly tax bill." Just think about people who are already living paycheck to paycheck; not saving much, or just overall spending every penny that comes into their bank account. They would be in trouble come April if they had to pay it at that point.
Perhaps they could do a monthly installment payment for last year's taxes... And the taxpayer would auto pay once or twice a month when they get paid... But then, we're back to where we started.
Tldr in an ideal world where every citizen is disciplined about not spending every penny they get, this suggestion would be great.
I know some people _have_ to spend every penny because they need to to survive, but there are also plenty of people who spend every penny because they just have no discipline and buy anything they want without regard to whether or not they could afford it. Ideally the people in the former category would get some sort of welfare. Not sure what, if anything, to do with the people in the latter.
Also Reply All did an episode recently on the Propublica Intuit story.
It comes down to this and I do not blame Turbo Tax or any other company in this area. The Federal and State Tax codes are weaponized by politicians and until that stops the system will be too complex for many to do the the filing on their own and some of that is because there is always that "did I forget something" feeling.
At least the changes made recently helped the lower and middle classes out a lot, that doubling of the personal deduction was a god send in reducing the work needed as many will never need to itemize again
Yes they will. I don't know why you bother to make up a lie so easily disproved.
On September 9, 2019, I received a CP16 that stated
"We believe there are miscalculations on your 2018 Form 1040, which affect the following areas of your return:
- Tax Computation
We made changes to your return that correct these errors. As a result, your overpayment is $21,886.35.
Information was changed because of the following:
We changed the amount of tax reported on your tax return because the tax rates on Qualified Dividends and Capital Gains are generally lower than the standard rates. It
appears your tax was not computed using these rates or the amount of tax was computed incorrectly. (211D)"
I have never actually done that; but my parents did well after I was using software, which sure is more convenient.
wait, does the Transmogrifier Deduction for Frobnubilors apply when you claim to be Single-and-Only Highlander? pauses and takes 1 hour to read up on the IRS rules for this and compares with the advice of $random_internet_guy
And after the personal satisfaction of having completed everything myself, I file and a few months later get a letter from the IRS to the effect of "Dear Mr Bonehead, you totally forgot this obvious item, so we're going to refund you a bit more. You're welcome."
Taxes are not hard if you know how all of the rules apply to your special situation. If you don't, like most people, you're in the dark and it becomes a very poor use of time, with lost money at stake—or worse if your intentions are deemed to be fraudulent.
The only time I didn't do my own taxes and paid a CPA, he messed up even though I told him that I withheld more than required (and gave him last year's return so he could see what last year's taxes were and that I had more than 110% withheld).
He still filled the form out wrong so that I would have had to pay a penalty. Then when I told him he filled it out wrong, he just took the penalty off, without properly updating the 1040. When I ended up getting the inevitable "you owe us a penalty letter", I just ended up dealing with it myself rather than use his boneheaded explanation basically "pretty please" as opposed to the actual "I made more money, and withheld enough more money, so penalties are waived."
For example, I've been considering installing solar panels on my house. There is a federal tax credit for installing solar, and it includes associated costs like repairing your roof to support the panels. But as a normal person the entirety of the guidance is this:
"No costs relating to a solar panel or other property installed as a roof (or portion thereof) will fail to qualify solely because the property constitutes a structural component of the structure on which it is installed."
So if you get a new roof to support the panels will the tax credit cover the entire roof job, or only the part covered by the panels? I've heard from two accountants on this who had two diametrically opposed opinions on this. And if I guess wrong it's potentially Felony Tax Fraud, the kind that put Al Capone in jail for 11 years. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
So I call the IRS help line to get the official guidance on this and the official IRS position is: "We can not give guidance on this subject." It's not like TurboTax is going to have any more official of an opinion on this either. The only way to safely handle this is to pass liability off to a third party, which makes filling out your own taxes not an option.
Many law makers don't want the Government to make this process easy on the assumption that the easier it is for the Government to tax, the more it will do so.
To be frank, the government has issues making things usable, and "usable" is a pretty small target when you're talking about the entire US workforce.
They brought in a bunch of dedicated experienced software pros who among other things rescued the federal health insurance exchange site.
I think they could do a fine job with tax software.
I've just filled in a new ESTA application on the US gov site too, simple (albeit stupid), and worked.
This morning however I tried using enterprise b2b to book a hire car, it took 6 attempts before it actually worked. Almost all corporate tools seem to be terrible.