Experts say federal government could make filing taxes easier by taking over for private companies

CLEVELAND - Are you afraid to file your own taxes, but don't want to pay someone big bucks to do them? Some tax experts say the federal government could make it easier to file your taxes -- by taking over the process from private companies.

Americans spend billions of dollars and hours filing taxes, filling in all those boxes and numbers.

If you think the process should be easier, you're right. But one economist says it won't because the business of tax preparation is huge.

Virtually every attempt to simplify taxes in recent years has been beaten back in part by the tax preparation industry, by companies like the one who gave us TurboTax, which is used by 25 million Americans.

"And if we could make the process easy for taxpayers to simply file online themselves, it stands to reason that they'd save some money and of course, if you're in business, providing services, that would be bad for you." 

TurboTax is made by Intuit, a corporation that has long lobbied Congress to "oppose IRS government tax preparation."

In a statement to CNN, Intuit said, "It's a conflict of interest for the government to play the role of tax collector and tax preparer. A government tax return system would lead to millions of Americans being deprived of the credits and deductions to which they are legally entitled."

Jeff Eisenach with the American Enterprise Institute agrees, saying letting the IRS manage it all would expand bureaucracy, reduce privacy, and maybe not even work.

"And it's not that they're bad or they're stupid. It's that it is a big government agency, and big government agencies have a hard time with big technology projects."

Still, some other countries are already doing it. But for now, don't expect any changes here, helping struggling taxpayers navigate our complicated tax code is worth a fortune -- and the companies that do it best, expect many more years of happy returns.

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