Tax returns as a collaborative working document

Every time I work on my taxes I can’t help thinking to myself I’m spending all this time pouring through complicated questions and digging around in remote corners of numbers that, at the heart, are really very simple. And the primary goal is to simply enter all the same information that the government already has received electronically from the employers via W-2 and 1099 and various bank forms.

Yes, there are a small handful of lines of data that I provide that the government did not already have. But is it worth me having all these opportunities to make all these errors on all the other parts that have already been reported, just to get to the few lines that actually still need to be reported?

I sure hope someday our tax returns can be treated like a collaborative working document, where on January 31st the government sends me a report of what it’s got, and then I make any needed adjustments and send back my final version with my sign-off. I’d be done in less than 15 minutes that way.

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