Tax prep circa 2020 = no tax prep required
When IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman speaks, people listen. And so it is that we're listening carefully as he describes his vision for the future of tax preparation. I have gone on record stating that my personal prediction for the future of public accounting includes an end to individual income tax preparation as we know it. Commissioner Shulman seems to be reading from a similar blueprint when he describes a time in the future when the IRS will essentially prepare our tax returns for us based on the information returns it receives.
"The IRS would get all the information returns from third parties…. Taxpayers would then add any self-reported and supplemental information to their returns, and file the returns with us." And the taxpayers who don't add any supplemental information - the logical conclusion to draw here is that the IRS will assess taxes (and draw from withheld funds) based on the information returns received. One can easily imagine a time when most taxpayers, not wanting to bother with collecting receipts and filing additional information, will merely accept the IRS assessment and be done with the tax process.
This takes us back to the recent legislation to not require all of the 1099 forms that the government tried to include with the health care law. Maybe today that process is voted down. But tomorrow, it will become a necessity in order for the IRS to activate its vision of a truly paperless (and participationless) tax preparation process. I'm not sure I believe this is a good thing.
Gail Perry, editor-in-chief
Prior to this role, Caleb served as the editor of Going Concern since its founding in 2009. During his time as editor, Going Concern quickly became one of the most popular and talked about websites in the accounting profession. He has been named one of Accounting Today's Top 100 Most Influential People every year since 2011 and has been published on numerous websites, including Above the Law, Deadspin, Denver Business Journal, and the Huffington Post.
Caleb is an adjunct professor of journalism the Community College of Denver in Denver, Colorado, where he teaches Internet Media.
Prior to falling bass ackwards into the media business, Caleb spent over five years working in public accounting, with more than three of those years at KPMG. Caleb received a Master of Science in Accounting from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Caleb spends a lot of time on a bicycle and reading, but never at the same time.