New Poll Shows Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Proposal To Have IRS Prepare Individuals' Tax Returns

Sep 28, 2011, 12:32 ET from Computer & Communications Industry Association

71% Said They Would NOT trust the IRS to Prepare Their Returns, Determine Their Refund or How Much They Owe in Taxes

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) released the findings of a new Public Policy Polling survey which found overwhelming opposition from voters to the expansion of the IRS's involvement in preparing individuals' tax returns, a potential backdoor plan to raise taxes on Americans.

"This poll makes clear that voters believe, as we do, that a 'Simple Return' system is a fundamentally flawed scheme that would intrusively insert the government into the most personal affairs of citizens," said Ed Black, the President and CEO of CCIA. "The American people deserve a system that enables and encourages them to pay only the taxes they legally owe, and not a penny more."    

The "Simple Return" or "Return Free" filing system that is currently being debated in Congress would allow the IRS to prepare taxpayer's annual returns and unilaterally determine their obligation to the federal government or their refund. Members of Congress have suggested that having the IRS prepare tax returns could raise as much as $345 billion in new revenue – but the poll shows people clearly believe that the money will come out of their pockets in lost tax deductions and credits to which they are legally entitled.

President Obama, who supports having the IRS prepare people's taxes, stated in his proposal to Congress: "…taxpayers filing Form 1040 spent an average of 21 hours preparing their returns and most taxpayers— about 60 percent—find themselves paying tax preparers to fill out their returns." This plan, which would impact 40 million of the nation's 135 million taxpayer households, is the definition of a backdoor tax increase on middle class Americans.

Key findings from the poll include:

  • When asked if they would "trust the IRS to prepare their returns, determine their refund and/or how much they owe in taxes," 71% of voters nationally said they would not trust the IRS. Only 19% said they would trust the IRS.  By a margin of 73% to 21%, voters said they believe it would be a conflict of interest for the IRS to be both the nation's tax collector and a tax preparer for people.
  • This issue resonates with Democratic, Republican and Independent voters nationally and with Republican voters in key early primary states.
    • Nationally, 80% of all voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who backed an IRS expansion that involved the agency taking over tax return preparation.
    • In both Iowa and New Hampshire, 93% of Republicans say they would be less inclined to vote for a candidate who supported this plan.  
  • Feelings towards an IRS takeover of tax preparation extend beyond the voting booth. A  majority of voters in both parties said they oppose any effort by the new "super committee" to use a new program that allowed the IRS to prepare tax returns as a way to raise revenue or cut government spending:
    • 79% of voters said they would be displeased if the congressional super committee supported a new IRS program to prepare tax returns. Only 11% of voters approved.
  • Voters expressed several concerns with regard to IRS involvement in tax preparation:  
    • 63% said they did not trust the IRS to keep their personal information safe and secure from hackers and identity thieves.
    • 75% believe the IRS would be most concerned with getting the maximum tax revenue possible from individuals.

CCIA is a nonprofit membership organization for a wide range of companies in the computer, Internet, information technology, and telecommunications industries, represented by their senior executives. Created over three decades ago, CCIA promotes open markets, open systems, open networks, and full, fair, and open competition. CCIA serves as an additional, and sometimes the only, eyes, ears, and voice, in Washington for our members. Our goal is to proactively protect and promote their legitimate interests, and to advance the broad common interests of our industries.

SOURCE Computer & Communications Industry Association