Search This Blog

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tax errors and fraud should be reduced by automation

A letter from Congressman Peter DeFazio responding to my my IRS ADA complaint

PHOTO: A letter from Congressman Peter DeFazio responded to my IRS ADA complaint by starting a Congressional investigation on the matter. He had read the letter to the editor by me, Thomas Kraemer, "IRS ignores plea for help," Gazette-Times, Feb. 5, 2012, p. D5. (See previous posts IRS tax forms are not low vision accessible and violate ADA law (2/5/12) and Congressman Peter DeFazio responds to my IRS ADA complaint (2/19/12)

I thanked Rep. Peter DeFazio in a later letter to the editor and I shared my experience with trying to get my taxes done by a Certified Public Accountant who made several errors:

Before the April 15 tax filing deadline, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a letter from my U.S. Rep. Rep. Peter DeFazio. It said he had initiated a congressional investigation into the allegations I made in my Sunday, Feb. 5, letter to the editor, "IRS ignores plea for help."

Briefly, for no technical or financial reason, the IRS "free file fillable forms" electronic filing process doesn't provide equal access to taxpayers with the very common disability of low-vision blindness.

Last year, my vision deteriorated enough to notice this illegality.

Consequently, to make sure my tax return was filed correctly, I decided it would be wise to hire, for $250, an established certified public accounting firm.

Due to my low vision, it took me hours to catch only one of the errors made by my CPA. These errors almost caused me to pay a penalty I didn't owe and thousands more in taxes. Such errors are common according to Consumer Reports.

The root problem here isn't an incompetent CPA or web designer. It is that Congress has not mandated nor fully funded the IRS's efforts to reduce errors and tax fraud by automating the data collection and calculation of everyone's taxes.

Furthermore, Congress should require it to be implemented on a publicly accessible IRS computer, instead of by private companies with conflicts of interest, so it would be auditable by Congress.

Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis (April 7)

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Mailbag: DeFazio looks into it," Gazette-Times, April 22, 2012, p. D5)

UPDATE: the editor ran next to my letter: "Editorial: The mother of all mandates," Gazette-Times, Apr. 22, 2012, p. D5 that talked about Obamacare, taxes and automation of your taxes in the information age -- a nod to the point of my letter.