At least that’s what we’re told by Those Who Know Better. E-filing of tax returns is going to save the whales, or the baby seals, or the Chesapeake Bay, or something like that.
Turns out what it does is enable massive tax fraud, by taxpayers, scam artists, and e-filers. Gee, who could have seen that coming in a system which removes any sort of paper trail, any wet signatures, any verification, in fact, that anyone in the system is actually who that person purports to be?
For myself, any communication I undertake with Uncle Sugar in respect of my or my firm’s taxes is not only done on paper, but via certified mail, return receipt requested. Sure enough, each year for the past three years I’ve got a letter, along about February, from the Social Security Administration, telling me I haven’t filed my W-3 and W-2s for the next preceding year. And each year I pull out my file copies, together with the return receipt showing the date on which they received them, make copies of everything, and send it back along. This past year, I even shoved a cover letter in, and as I explained to them, “anticipating the letter I expect to receive in February, 2013,” went ahead and enclosed copies of the 2011 forms as well. Do I expect it will have done any good? Scarcely.
The money quotation from the linked article: “In sum, e-filing helps the IRS with audit selection, costs the Treasury billions through fraud, and transfers many costs of tax administration to you.” Which makes it the quintessential government program.