Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Intuit Convinces Politicians That E-Filing Should Go Through Them

from the politics-before-reason?!? dept

I'm sure it's positively shocking (shocking!) to find out that a company has convinced politicians to sneak in a bit of language to a bill that favors them over the good of everyone else. The latest is everyone's favorite tax-preparation software maker, Intuit, (who you may recall for their effort to remove features for customers who don't regularly upgrade), who has been lobbying hard to add some language to a funding bill that would prevent the IRS from offering its own e-filing software or service. The reasoning is pretty obvious. And, if pushed on it, the politicians who were lobbied on this point would trot out some prepared phrase about how the government shouldn't compete with private companies. This would be the same argument that was used a few months ago in an attempt to block the National Weather Service from providing its info to the public. Of course, as others have pointed out that makes about as much sense as saying cities shouldn't offer public transportation because it competes with taxi services. Meanwhile, politicians don't seem to have a problem funding public competition for private businesses in areas like venture capital. Apparently, the VC community hasn't contributed enough to various politicians' re-election campaigns.

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  • identicon
    Bob Dole, 31 Oct 2005 @ 7:19am

    Not to defend Intuit

    The problem here is the ReadyReturn idea. Having the government prepare your tax returns is a pretty big conflict of interest. Intuit just wants to take $20 from you every year -- the IRS wants to take a whole lot more. Sure, the program would start by giving the option of filing your own return, but that's the sort of choice that can disappear over time "to fight tax fraud," "to save the children," etc.

    (I'm still mad at Intuit's Turbo Tax copy protection fiasco from a few years ago.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jay Camp, 31 Oct 2005 @ 7:40am


    I say keep sending the IRS your dead tree forms then. They cost more to process. Unfortunately that means the cost comes right back to us but at least I think it'd make them work harder to make filing electronically easier. Absolutely ridiculous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2005 @ 9:37am

    I can't find it

    I've searched for the offending quote ("income tax electronic filing") from the article at and can't find it. Can anyone link to the actual bill? I don't like to complain to government representatives about things that may not really be there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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