"For a big slice of the population, that's 100 percent of what's on their tax return." Taxpayers would have three options when they receive a pre-filled return: accept it as is; make adjustments, say to filing status or income; or reject it and file a return by other means.
"If you don't trust the government, you don't have to do it." Goolsbee has written in favor of the idea and published the estimate of $2 billion in saved preparation costs in a 2006 paper that also said return-free "could signiﬁcantly reduce the time lag in resolving disputes and accelerate the time to receive a refund." Other advocates point out that the IRS would be doing essentially the same work it does now.
The agency would simply share its tax calculation before a taxpayer files rather than afterward when it checks a return.
The company also lobbied on bills in 20 that would have barred the Treasury Department, which includes the IRS, from initiating return-free filing.
Intuit argues that allowing the IRS to act as a tax preparer could result in taxpayers paying more money.
(H&R Block, whose tax filing product H&R Block At Home competes with Turbo Tax, declined to discuss return-free filing with Pro Publica.
The company's disclosure forms state that it also has lobbied on at least one bill related to return-free filing.) * * * Proponents of return-free filing say Intuit and other critics are exaggerating the risks of government involvement.
Update, April 14, 2016: In 2013, we detailed how Intuit has lobbied against allowing the government to estimate your taxes for you.
So this week, we called Intuit and asked if they still oppose free, government-prepared returns. “Our legislative, our policy position on that hasn’t changed,” said spokeswoman Julie Miller.
The idea, known as "return-free filing," would be a voluntary alternative to hiring a tax preparer or using commercial tax software.