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IRS Nominee Says Pre-Filled Returns Not a Priority

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(Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s nominee to run the Internal Revenue Service told a Senate committee it’s not a high priority for the service to present taxpayers with pre-filled-out tax returns, even as high ranking Republican senators expressed their support for his confirmation.

John Koskinen

Obama discussed the idea of tax returns that already include information that taxpayers would check, complete and send to the agency during his 2008 presidential campaign, though he hasn’t advanced it since taking office.

“It’ll be a long time before we get to the stage when the code is simple enough when the IRS can pre-populate a form for you,” John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner nominee, said today in testifying before the Senate Finance Committee.

Such a system could curtail business for companies including H&R Block Inc. and Intuit Inc., the maker of TurboTax.

Koskinen, 74, is a former chairman of Freddie Mac. He said the IRS has greater technology priorities than the pre-filled form.

He was responding to a question from Wyoming Republican Senator Mike Enzi.

“These efforts could dismantle a currently successful and free public-private partnership,” Enzi said.

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