Studipidity in motion – Schumer Brokers Deal to Eliminate E-File (TurboTax, TaxAct)


Yesterday, I heard on the news that Chuck Schumer had brokered a deal to eliminate e-filing fees. If you have not seen the article, you can view the New York Daily News article here.
 
Now this sounds great. Even Schumer crows, "While New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet, the last thing they need is a tax on paying taxes." THe problem is what Schumer did, at least for tax filers this year, is NOTHING.
 
Skeptical. I don’t blame you. Go look at the Turbo Tax site. Every single one of the online filing versions have free e-filing. But that is today, right. Check out the site on the wayback machine and you see that every cached version of Turbo Tax from recent times has free e-filing. Perhaps this is the boxed edition? According to the Amazon site:
This year, each TurboTax 2008 product includes five free federal e-files and unlimited printed returns. Skip the post office this year and send your (and your family members’) finished returns instantly to the IRS for a faster refund.
 
How about Tax Act. Certainly Schumer would not state he had saved the people millions if he had done NOTHING, right? I mean, he couldn’t be a liar, could he? Nope Tax Act is free for 2008, as well, according to their website: Receive your refund in as few as 8 days when you use e-file with direct deposit. IRS efile is FREE with TaxACT, something they have had on their website (wayback machine again) since at least August of 2007.
 
What has happened here is TaxAct got rid of eFile fees and Turbo Tax, following the competition, did the same. This is what happens when there is competition in the market. If you picked up either of these software packages for last year’s taxes, you got a free e-file. I cannot guarantee it would continue this year, but as long as the competition does it, it is likely to stay.
 
So, what did Schumer do? I am not completely sure, but I am fairly sure there was some money involved. For the brainwashed, you can rest at night, as it is not your money – it is the government’s. For the not so brainwashed, the government has no money – it is yours. Considering the two companies were already giving this away, it is just plain stupid. Why should we pay for something, even through the backdoor of the "government’s money", when we already had it for free?
 
Some may argue that Schumer was guaranteeing future free e-filing, which may be the case. But, it is still stupid. It would have been better to see if they continued to compete (which is likely) prior to brokering a deal where the government pays them. Frankly, every New Yorker – nix that, every American, should be writing Schumer to tell him what a monumentous idiot he is.
 
Strike that. Schumer is not an idiot, as he KNOWS the majority of Americans will not figure this out and he will get credit for saving Americans money on e-filing rathre than ridicule for paying for something that was already free.
 
Peace and Grace,
Greg
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3 Responses to Studipidity in motion – Schumer Brokers Deal to Eliminate E-File (TurboTax, TaxAct)

  1. Jane says:

    While I appreciate your enthusiasm greg, I’ve got to burst your bubble. Senator Schumer did indeed make e-filing free. Sure, you have always been able to file for free if you purchased software like TurboTax – because the filing fee is calculated into the price of the software (which by the way can be very expensive!). Now, you can file for free without a paid preparer or expensive software by going to irs.gov. This is definitely a smart move.

  2. Greg says:

    While I can’t speak for our competitors, TaxACT has been offering free preparation, printing and e-filing of federal returns for any US taxpayer regardless of age or income since 2006. TaxACT Standard is completely free and will handle complex returns (including returns that require Schedules C,D,E,F). While we do have paid services, the fees bring you additional support and access to specialized tools. TaxACT Standard is a complete, and completely free federal tax preparation product.

  3. Gregory says:

    Jane:I appreciate your enthusiasm as well, but I wonder if you have looked at the entire package. TurboTax offers free filing and tax returns, for basic purposes, online. TaxACT has done the same for quite some time. The cost of basic software packages, if you purchase, is nominal for basic returns. Even the cost of $45 for the Professional version TurboTax (less for TaxACT) is nominal when you consider the level you have to reach to warrant moving up to this package. The most expensive package is less than $100 for both, which is still minor in comparison to the money saved.I am not sure about irs.gov, but I would be willing to be if we examined the stats, very few filers are filing directly at irs.gov. Would you be willing to take that challenge?Peace and Grace,Greg

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