The Boundaries of Government in a Digital Age: Should the Government Prepare Personal Income Tax Returns?

British MP Ian Liddell-Grainger will present a new bi-partisan Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Taxation Group that examines the UK’s experience with “return-free” tax filing, under which the tax authority prepares individuals’ income tax returns. Mr. Liddell-Grainger’s presentation will be discussed by former Congressman Bill Frenzel, George Washington University economist Joseph Cordes, and Brookings economist William Gale. Frenzel, currently a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, was ranking minority member on the House Budget Committee and a member of the President’s Advisory Panel on Tax Reform during 2005. Cordes has held senior positions at both the Treasury Department and the CBO. Gale is co-director of the Urban-Brookings tax policy center.

Return-free filing is a timely issue, because the Volcker task force on tax reform is expected to consider return-free filing as one of its tax simplification recommendations. Advocates point to hours saved by tax filers in preparing forms and gathering documents and in reduced payments to tax preparers. Critics worry about the potential for new burdens on taxpayers, employers, and the IRS, as well as reduced transparency of the tax code.

Ian Liddell-GraingerMP, Chairman, All-Party Parliamentary Taxation Group
Joseph Cordes, George Washington University
William Frenzel, Brookings Institution
William Gale, Brookings Institution
Arlene Holen, Technology Policy Institute

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