Congress Introduces Bill to Have IRS Automatically Fill out Tax Forms

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A pair of Congressmen have introduced legislation that would allow the Internal Revenue Service to provide taxpayers with a tax form already containing information received from employers and banks to streamline the tax prep process.

The two Illinois Democrats, Rep. Bill Foster and Mike Quigley, introduced the Autofill Act of 2013 last Friday to simplify the process of filling out federal income tax forms and save taxpayers time and money.

Taxpayers spend an estimated 6.1 billion hours a year complying with the Tax Code and an average of over $200 on tax preparation fees.

The Autofill Act of 2013 would create a voluntary tax filing program that would allow individuals to log in to a secure IRS Web site and download a tax form automatically populated with information the IRS already collects from employers, the Social Security Administration and financial institutions.

“Our Tax Code is complicated enough,” Foster said in a statement.  “We shouldn’t be asking taxpayers to submit information the IRS already has. It’s time to bring the tax filing system into the 21st century with a commonsense solution that reduces the burden on taxpayers and decreases the costs associated with filling out tax forms.”

The information from the populated tax forms would be available as both a printable document file and a computer-readable form that would be compatible with existing tax preparation software. Taxpayers could simply review the returns for accuracy and sign at the bottom, saving them time, money and anxiety.

The Autofill Act of 2013 is estimated to save $2 billion a year in tax prep fees and 225 million hours of time. In California, the state’s two tax filing programs, which also pre-populate tax forms, save the state an estimated $500,000 annually and 98 percent of users have indicated that they would use it again.

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