If Other Countries Can Make Paying Taxes Easy, Why Can’t We?

Well, the answer might have something to do with money and the corruption of politics.

Back, during the healthcare kerfuffle, I argued repeatedly that we should simply take a good European healthcare system (e.g., the French system), translate it, slap a bunch of U.S.A. flags all over it, and get on with business. Other countries seem to be able to do this, so imitate them. It wasn’t like we were trying to send people to Mars–it had been done successfully before.

Once again, we see that other countries are able to make things pretty easy, as opposed to the U.S. nightmare everyone dreads:

Here’s Australia (the government has a demo).

You go and download a program from the tax office web site (which has all the tax changes for that year). You run it, stick in your TFN (Tax file number – equivalent of SSN) and go for it.

You can select to download any data they have on you (from employer payments, bank interest etc.) and it does its magic.

You can also add deductions and other stuff, and when you’re done, you click submit, and in a couple of weeks, you have a transfer to you bank account with your return.

It has never taken me more than 20 mins to do my taxes. And I never spent a cent on software to do it.


That sounds like work. In Norway I get a letter in the mail detailing my income, how much income tax I paid over the last year, and if I owe, or are owed, anything. If I do not disagree with the government estimate I can do nothing and it just goes through on default. If I am owed anything I get that transferred to my account in June. The additional documentation and papers that come with the tax forms are for any alternations you feel should be made.

I know a lot of different people that tend towards paying more taxes than they need. First it avoids getting a potentially massive bill in the mail at the beginning of the year, and it gives them a nice additional payment at the start of summer.

This crap isn’t hard. By the way, when he ran for president, Obama promised he would do something about this (odd that it didn’t happen). This definitely falls under the heading of “people have to like this crap.” Why don’t you go remind him?

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6 Responses to If Other Countries Can Make Paying Taxes Easy, Why Can’t We?

  1. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says:

    You go and download a program from the tax office web site (which has all the tax changes for that year). You run it…

    Do they offer a version for Linux?

    • There is only Microsoft says:

      No. It’s Windows only, so Mac users are also out of luck.

      Because it’s not like there’s any technology like, oh, Java, say, or AJAX, that would let them provide an application that would work for people who don’t pay taxes to Microsoft …

  2. Pablo says:

    Hell, I moved to the US in 2005 from Chile, and we even had a system like Norway’s back then… In a third world country!!!

  3. Pingback: Links 4/18/12 | Mike the Mad Biologist

  4. Sparky says:

    Turbotax, my friend. Admittedly you have to pay for it, but I rarely spend more than an hour doing my taxes once the forms come in, and I have Schedule Cs.

    • And in other countries it doesn’t even take an hour, and you don’t have to pay.

      Seems better.

      Also: Treasury Secretary Geithner was tripped up by Turbo Tax to the tune of $94,000.

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