>Does TurboTax make the tax code more complicated?


So argued Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center last week.  He states that because we have software and paid preparers, complicated tax provisions like the AMT are more likely to continue without complaint, rather than be removed from the tax code at the demand of angry taxpayers.

I know in my case, I just plugged my data into TurboTax and accepted its conclusion that I don’t owe the AMT.  He’s probably right.  I’m not that upset there’s an AMT, but then again I spent about 20 seconds thinking about it out of about 10 hours total preparing taxes. 

In other news, I’m not posting much on Infosnack lately as you can tell.  Most of my blogging is going up over at Greater Greater Washington, including approximately weekly live chats with local politicians, officials, authors, and others involved in transit, smart growth and other local issues.  If the volume of posts at GGW (about 3-4 daily) would overwhelm your reader, periodically check this link, which is for my posts only. 

Infosnack is not dead.  I will continue to post here when I get the chance.  Most of my writing will be going up on Greater Greater, and often Infosnack will get the "rough draft" version of the same post.  I appreciate if you prefer to read only Infosnack and I’ll still be reading any comments you put here.


About perkinsms

I'm an engineer and father interested in transit, parking and economics.
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1 Response to >Does TurboTax make the tax code more complicated?

  1. Mark says:

    >A much worse consequence of a complicated tax code is that the optimal individual strategy often involves learning a great deal about taxes in order to save paying them.As such, we might have tens, if not hundreds of millions of man-hours lost each year to ‘learning about taxes and planning for them’. Worse, these are high earners, so their time is actually very valuable.On the other hand, we often end up rewarding those people who play the tax code game, rather than those who ‘just do productive work’.Consider, for example, medical expense flexible spending accounts. If someone has a, say, 100k job, he probably has one of those, and he probably uses it because it will save him several hundred dollars a year in taxes. But if you just lowered the his tax rate by a percent, he’d also save that money, and it would not take layers of clerks and effort.Or, consider how housing is an ‘extra good’ investment, both because you can deduct mortgage interest (for no particular good reason, since I cannot deduct rent or interest on loans to play the stock market), and you only pay capital gains taxes one or zero times.

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