Implementing a “Return-Free” Tax Filing Scheme

Implementing a “Return-Free”
Tax Filing Scheme
Presentation to the President’s Advisory Panel on
Federal Tax Reform
Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform
May 17, 2005
The Current System
Tax filing is citizen-based – taxpayers tell
the government what they earned and owe
Under Return-Free
Tax filing would be government-based –
the burden would be on the taxpayer to
challenge the government’s findings -essentially an audit of every single
American taxpayer
The Fox Would Guard the
The same agency that collects taxes
would be the tax preparer – the motivation
to maximize revenue would dominate both
ends of the process
Return-Free is a Tax Increase
The true goal is to increase revenue. The
government knows few taxpayers will
challenge its findings
Taxes Should be Visible
Doing taxes keeps citizens aware of the
tax burden imposed upon them by the
government. A Return-Free scheme
would allow the government to raise
revenues invisibly
The California Example
The State would not guarantee the
accuracy of the returns it prepared – the
taxpayer was removed from the process,
but left with the responsibility
The pilot program achieved 50% less
uptake than planned
Comments by CA officials tell us that the
true aim was increased revenue