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News Posted on April 11, 2013

Professor Ventry Co-authors Commentary on Tax Preparation for Forbes

Professor Dennis Ventry co-authored a commentary for Forbes on the potential benefits of allowing the federal government to provide taxpayers with returns that have been pre-populated with information the government collects from taxpayers, employers, and third parties. In "The Case for Easy, Free Tax Filing," co-authored with Stanford Law School Professor Joseph Bankman, Ventry argues that such a system would save time and money for both taxpayers and the government, and debunks five myths promoted by manufacturers of fee-based tax preparation software about pre-filled return programs. 

For years, Ventry and Bankman have argued that there is no reason that taxpayers with simple returns should pay a dollar to file their taxes, particularly if the government can provide a more efficient service. And when it comes to maximizing efficiencies in the filing process, the government enjoys a competitive advantage due to strict taxpayer confidentiality laws. 

"Next time you start collecting your tax data, think of your credit card statement," the op-ed concludes. "Visa doesn't send you a blank form each month, forcing you to save receipts, copy those figures on the right line on the form, add the totals, and pay a penalty if you forget something. If it did, you'd probably have to hire a preparer to help you pay that bill, too."

Professor Ventry is an expert in tax policy and legal ethics. His research interests include tax expenditure analysis, family taxation, professional responsibility and standards of care, tax filing and administration, tax compliance, public finance, and tax and legal history. In addition, he was recently added as a co-author on the casebook, Legal Ethics and Corporate Practice.

"The Case for Easy, Free Tax Filing"