I spent roughly three hours on my 2010 tax return, a period which strikes me as about two hours, fifty minutes too long, without even taking into consideration the unfortunate result of so doing (hint: it involved writing a large check). This is the sort of thing I would happily outsource, were it not for the expense, so I’m maybe giving this idea more consideration than I ought to:
It’s not like we aren’t already basically ruled by the IRS and all the other non-voted-in, non-destructible (apparently) federal bureaucracies. Why should we the people do what is basically unpaid work for the IRS? Let them hire a bunch of accountants to do everyone’s taxes for them (more jobs!), except for those people who opt to do it themselves. I know it would save a lot of people a lot of grief, because of the psychological fact that no one misses money they personally don’t see taken from them. (Or if they get money back, they are happy because they won’t have had to fill out a bunch of forms. It’s like prize money! And it will make the government more popular — who doesn’t like someone who gives you “free” money?)
The downside, of course, is the possibility of making the government “more popular,” which runs counter to the idea that we might actually want to rid ourselves of these non-voted-in, non-destructible bureaucracies. And I suspect that even with someone else doing the pencil work, I’d still have had to write that large a check.
Of course, my idea of a proper tax system puts us all circling a virtual Monopoly board, and four spaces past Go — four months past New Year’s? — we have to pay up either 10% or $200.