Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Intuit lobbying and the tax prep market

Matt Stoller suspects that Intuit's $9 million lobbying budget is spent in the pursuit of making it harder for people to file their own taxes.  No doubt about it.  He rightfully brings up Ready Return, a program I've mentioned before.

He includes this handy chart of annual lobbying by Intuit:

But even better, he has this from Intuit's annual disclosure:

“Our consumer tax business also faces significant competition from the public sectorwhere we face the risk of federal and state taxing authorities developing software or other systems to facilitate tax return preparation and electronic filing at no charge to taxpayers.  These or similar programs may be introduced or expanded in the future, which may cause us to lose customers and revenue. For example, during tax season 2010, the federal government introduced a prepaid debit card program to facilitate the refund process. Our consumer and professional tax businesses provide this service as well." 
As we well know, regulation is good for monopolies and lobbying pays off handsomely to everyone involved, but has high social costs.  

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