I’m working on my 2013 taxes. My accountant says that I can have a PIN to electronically communicate with the IRS regarding estimated taxes, electronic signatures, and bank transfers. Meanwhile I am gathering up a lot of paper forms and downloadable PDFs from various financial institutions that reported simultaneously to me and the IRS how much they paid me in dividends and interest. I’m wondering why I have to do this. Isn’t the IRS’s own computer system the best source of data regarding how much an American was paid by an American bank? If taxpayers have a secure way of dealing with the IRS, which we apparently do, shouldn’t we be able to go to irs.gov at tax time and just check a box saying “that’s all of the interest and dividends that I got”?
(And yes I recognize that healthcare.gov was not exactly a shining moment for Federal government IT, but I do think the IRS could build a Web site that queries a database by SSN and uses a SUM function.)