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Intuit Lobbies Against Easy Tax Returns

March 30, 2013

By Paul Thomson :: 4:40 PM

Turbo Tax and Intuit fight easy tax returns.Intuit, the company behind personal financial software titles like Quicken and TurboTax, has been lobbying Congress for years against simplifying the tax return process.

News was released earlier this week that the company has spent at least $11 million to lobby the federal government away from adopting return-free filing options or more streamlined tax collection processes.

A return-free filing system is where the federal government prepares a tax return on your behalf with the information it already knows about your wages and other income that is reported to them each year. This removes the need for many individuals and families to hire a tax preparer or pay for tax return software solutions like TurboTax. Taxpayers are sent the prefilled return to review and approve, or they can make changes or amendments to the pre-filled return, or even reject it outright and file their own if they disagree with the government’s initial findings and assumptions.

Not all of the millions that Intuit spent over the past five years was directed to lobbying efforts against return-free filing specifically, but the company has publicly disclosed that it opposes allowing the government to prepare taxes for individuals, or allowing individuals to submit their taxes electronically, for free, to a government website without using tax preparation software as a middle man.

Intuit’s TurboTax software accounted for more than 35 percent of its total revenue in 2012. Nearly 25 million Americans used the software to file their taxes last year, and more than half of all individual electronically filed tax returns were filed with TurboTax software. Clearly, the company has a lot of skin in the game, and is working hard not to switch up the status quo in Washington with regards to tax filing.