It’s hard for the federal government to build trust with Americans when the most direct interaction they have is something painful: Americans dread the coming of tax season. The specter of needing to figure out the complex rules of the tax code hangs over each of us for the first third of the year, and most of us rush during April to come in under the deadline.
75% of Americans receive refunds. For those Americans, they’ve been (essentially) giving the US Government an interest-free loan through most of the year. They’d be better off having access to that money at the time they earn it. For the other 25% of Americans, needing to find the money to pay their tax balance adds unnecessary stress to their lives.
After taxes are filed, many Americans then spend weeks dreading an audit, hoping that the IRS doesn’t randomly select them. That process itself can add cost to the tax process, as most people don’t have the required expertise to deal with the IRS’s auditors.
Currently, paying taxes is a slog. Let’s make it a celebration.
The IRS has almost all the information they need to calculate your taxes within a fair degree of accuracy. They can do this automatically, guaranteeing that you hold on to more of your money throughout the year and will never need to spend money on expensive tax-preparation services or audit-protection insurance.
With the pain of filing taxes out of the way, we can change that April date to Revenue Day a federal holiday where we celebrate everything the federal government does for American citizens.
Each American should be able to direct 1% of their taxes to a specific project. During Revenue Day, these projects will be highlighted, showing what, exactly, America’s money was able to accomplish during the previous year. Initial profiles of the next year’s projects will also be announced so people can get excited for them.
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Problems to be Solved
- Taxes are viewed as a burden instead of a contribution to our shared society.
- Preparing your taxes is a difficult process that requires hours of time, expensive software or paid specialists.
- Tax day is dreaded, not celebrated.
- Going through an audit is stressful and expensive, and if you did anything wrong, it’s most likely unintentional.
Right now most of us dread paying taxes for good reason. None of us has time to figure out where the receipts are and what we owe, and we’re constantly stressed that we’re screwing things up or leaving money on the table. Turning us into a nation of tax experts is a ridiculous waste of citizen time and energy. The IRS should be able to tell us how much we owe and automatically file our taxes for us. Every time we do something that we think is tax-relevant, we should just forward it to a particular email address or account and it gets added in. Taxes are a perfect candidate for automation and artificial intelligence because there are clear rules to follow. Let's use technology to simplify all of our lives and focus on more important things.
- Make paying taxes patriotic and fun
- Remove the stress of filing taxes for the average American and get more money into the economy faster
As President, I will...
- Instruct the IRS to implement a system whereby any American can opt into a program to have their taxes filed automatically.
- Instruct the IRS to coordinate with the Treasury to prepare a report on federal spending, and send each taxpayer a rundown of the actual amount of their taxes that went to each major spending area (e.g., domestic programs, foreign aid, military, etc), and allow each taxpayer to select a project for 1% of their taxes to go to.
- Increase the budget of the IRS by 50% to ~$17 billion and modernize it with the latest technology. Money spent on the IRS will almost certainly pay for itself many times over via better tax compliance and less wasted time of citizens.
- Declare Tax Day to be Revenue Day, a federal holiday to celebrate all the projects undertaken or completed by the federal government in the previous year, and announcing new projects.
- Allow each American to direct 1% of their taxes to a specific project, department or activity of government (e.g. Veterans Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, etc.).