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IRS Nominee Says Low Priority for Pre-Filled Tax Returns

IRS Commissioner Nominee John Koskinen
Internal Revenue Service commissioner nominee John Koskinen, then chairman of Freddie Mac, arrives at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 27, 2009. Photographer: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Barack Obama’s nominee to run the Internal Revenue Service said it’s not a high priority to create tax returns that already include information that taxpayers would check, complete and send to the agency.

Obama discussed the idea during his 2008 presidential campaign, though he hasn’t advanced it since taking office.

“It’ll be a long time before we get to the stage when the code is simple enough when the IRS can pre-populate a form for you,” John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner nominee, said today in testifying before the Senate Finance Committee.

Such a system could curtail business for companies including H&R Block Inc. and Intuit Inc., the maker of TurboTax.

Koskinen, 74, is a former chairman of Freddie Mac. He said the IRS has greater technology priorities than the pre-filled form.

He was responding to a question from Wyoming Republican Senator Mike Enzi.

“These efforts could dismantle a currently successful and free public-private partnership,” Enzi said.

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