Tax season

Tax season can be a challenging time for Arizona small business owners who help power our local economies. After all, dealing with the IRS can be frustrating even under the best of circumstances.

 But this tax season is expected to be even more difficult than usual due to a massive backlog of over 24 million returns that the IRS has yet to process from last year.  

Given the challenges that Arizona small businesses have faced over the last several years, we should be finding ways to make it easier – not harder – for them to get through the upcoming tax season. 

Unfortunately, some lawmakers in Washington are considering a proposal that would substantially expand the reach of the IRS, limit taxpayers’ control over their own filings and make tax season even more frustrating for businesses and individuals alike.

 If passed, this proposal would give the IRS unprecedented new responsibilities and create a government-run tax filing system. This would mean that the IRS wouldn’t just determine how much you owe in taxes, the government would also be filing your return for you. 

This raises several important issues.

 First, the IRS shouldn’t be the collector of your taxes and your accountant, that’s a clear conflict of interest. There’s a good reason that so many in our community turn to trained and trusted tax professionals every year – because they fight to make sure Arizonans get every cent they are owed. 

They also get personalized service from accountants that they have come to know and trust with their family’s hard-earned money. 

If supporters have their way, taxpayers would have to trust that a bureaucrat in Washington would do the same due diligence for them – along with millions of other Americans – when they are already stretched to the limits before this tax season even starts? That scheme is a recipe for disaster. 

Business owners know that it’s critical to excel at your core services before trying to expand those services. Currently, the IRS is far from exceling. If you call the IRS, there’s only a 1 in 50 chance that you will actually get through to a representative. What’s more, even the agency’s own internal watchdog said in January that the IRS is currently ‘in crisis.’ Now is hardly the time to be adding a massive new service that could further delay Arizonans’ refunds. 

Lastly, a new study shows that the resources needed to develop, test, update, and protect such a system at the IRS would cost as much – if not more – than it did to establish the website. To date, that government-run site has cost taxpayers over $21 billion and been plagued with consistent technical difficulties and privacy concerns. 

At the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, we believe in helping to create a nurturing environment for the economic engines of our community. That means making sure policies in Washington don’t create additional and unnecessary challenges for Arizona taxpayers especially when they will impact the livelihood and financial circumstances of millions of Arizonians.

On behalf of the hardworking business owners in Chandler and their customers, I hope that Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly will stop this misguided proposal before it’s too late.

Terri Kimble is the president and CEO of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.

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