You’ll never miss your anus ’till it’s gone

John Oliver did a segment on the IRS, calling it the “anus of the nation”, something you don’t like, but can’t live without.

Now, I know you guys (USA) hate when we point out how far behind you are, but I really can’t help myself.

In this segment we have IRS people complaining of the ugly state of checks they receive. Checks… really? What is this, the middle ages?

People also complain about waiting lines to get in to get IRS assistance. Really? You don’t have phones? Ah, yes, they don’t work. Over here, the IRS actually answer the phones, or they call you back. They really do. They’re polite and very thorough. The few times I needed to ask about anything, I got so much information and advice there was no way I could misunderstand. An hour on the phone with two advisers is nothing out of the ordinary. On the other hand, I’ve only ever needed to ask for anything twice the last fifteen years, since the tax code here is actually very simple. At least in comparison.

Your forms are complicated, the tax code changes all the time, and regular people can’t handle it. Really? Over here they’re one page, with a second page if you have a registered company. That second page is replaced by a two page form if you own a limited partnership (as I do).

The form itself is already filled in with your income according to their information, your withholdings, and your regular and interest deductions. If you own stock, all the capital gains and losses are also already filled in. The “owner of a partnership” form has some complicated calculations, but those are done for you in a webbased form after you fill in how many shares you have. It carries the totals over from year to year automatically.

Oh, and BTW, you can do the whole thing over the internet. It requires that you have a full two factor authentication, but most people here have that already from the bank. And that authentication works most anywhere. Someone without a company normally only needs to sign the form without filling out anything at all.

The end result is that even for a company owner, the personal tax return takes something like ten or 20 minutes to do, is totally painless, and actually almost fun. This also causes very few people here to hate the IRS, or even much complain about it. At least compared to the US. That’s the way to run a tax system.

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