A piece of the puzzle – part of Obama’s economic plan

I would like to try to make an informed decision when it comes time to vote for the next Prez this November, so being a good little voter, I am taking a few minutes to peruse some of the key issues at Obama’s campaign website.

I’m still a little undecided about the various tax cuts or increases discussed for the various income classes, but there is one thing targeting the middle class that really caught my eye:

Simplify Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans: Obama and Biden will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes….

I’m going to refrain from jumping to conclusions about this until I learn more about it.  They claim they would make the IRS use information that is already in the hands of the banks & employers and offer a pre-filled in form that people would simply have to verify, sign & turn in.

Would this include things like the options to write off various things like mortgage interest, business write-offs, and any other kind of item or cost that could be written off by an individual or small business owner?   What about the tax credits for alternate fuel vehicles, and other money saving, fuel-saving things like solar panel installations?

For the mortgage interest, I would have to hope that because those are usually owned by banks, that this would be one of those things that the IRS would already need to have on file.  But what about other write-offs that aren’t “owned” by any banks?  How would that figure into this “quick and easy” tax form?  Many people depend on these write-offs to get the most of their tax refunds, or to lessen the amount they would otherwise have to cough up and PAY if they happen to owe more taxes than they put in.  If this reform of the tax form (ha ha) would end up stripping these line items of even being an option, what this would really do is cause people to end up paying MORE.  So those neat little tax cuts he touts would only maybe bring some people back to the level they were at before the changes, and how exactly is this a benefit to anyone??

And on this same item it says they want to save people the cost of tax preparation fees.  Ahem.  Last time I checked, those fees are almost completely eligible to be written off the following year.  Pray tell WHY this type of elmination would be a benefit?  Not to mention all of those tax-preparers and accountants that would be out of work as a result of this simplified tax form??  It is apparent to me that someone really isn’t thinking through all of the potential repercussions of this were to happen.

Quite frankly, in my household, we use TurboTax to prepare our taxes.  It asks all of the questions, including anything regarding any eligible credits or write-offs, and costs between $50-$90 depending on the options one may or may not need when they file.  After paying the fee to e-file, we’re looking at less than $100 spent to file our taxes, which we can then claim most of it on the following year (if we remember, often we forget to do so).  We have no problems filing our taxes with this software, and really see no need for a simpler form. If he gets elected, and actually is able to follow through with this, then they darn well better make the revised form OPTIONAL, and let people who still want to file the old way, do so if they so wish. 


There is still a lot more to read up on, but as I said this just caught my eye and with the vagueness about how exactly it would impact all of the options currently available to tax payers, it’s making me a little uneasy.  If it is ultimately going to hit me in the pocketbook, I’m not going to jump on that wagon, no way no how.

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 19th, 2008 at 11:32 am and is filed under Just Life, Just Random. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.