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Preparing tax returns could take as little as five minutes

Published: Monday, April 1 2013 1:21 p.m. MDT

Robert Martinez works to prepare his tax papers at the United States Post Office at 2100 South and Redwood Road.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

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Filing taxes takes about five minutes in Denmark, Sweden and Spain.

Each taxpayer is given a tax return, already filled out by the government, showing the estimates owed. It is fixed by the individual and then sent back in. It’s called “return-free filing,” and though possible — and suggested previously in the United States — it’s been opposed by some loud voices, according to an article by Pro Publica and NPR.

Intuit, the maker of Turbo Tax, and Grover Norquist, a conservative tax activist, have spent $11.5 million on federal lobbying the past five years.

If return-free filing was established in the United States, an estimated $2 billion could be saved collectively by the tens of millions of taxpayers who would be able to use it. Additionally, 225 million hours in preparation costs and time would be saved.

For companies like Inuit’s Turbo Tax, which helps Americans who wish to file independently without having an advisor, a government from would pose a threat.

Intuit said if the IRS prepare the forms instead of making people accountable for actually paying, the preparer could end up paying more money.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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