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Udall, Warren bill seeks to simplify tax filing

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., in 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall joined Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren reintroduced the Tax Filing Simplification Act Monday that they say could simplify and decrease the costs of the filing process.

Taxpayers last year spent an average of 11 hours and around $200 preparing their tax returns — a cost equal to almost 10 percent of the average federal tax refund in New Mexico, according to a news release.

In addition to lowering costs and reducing red tape, return-free filing and other improvements in the act should ensure more eligible people in New Mexico and across the country receive important tax refunds, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, the senators said.

“New Mexicans often find themselves at the mercy of an unnecessarily complicated filing process costing them valuable time, and a tax prep industry profiting off their hard-earned money,” Udall said in statement. “This system disproportionately affects working families that are already struggling to make ends meet, and eats up a chunk of the critical tax credits that are meant to lift them up. Our tax laws should reflect our values as a nation, and help put money back in the pockets of working people.”

The legislation sponsored by the two Democrats would:

• Prohibit the IRS from entering into agreements that restrict its ability to provide free online tax preparation or filing services;

• Direct the IRS to develop a free, online tax prep and filing service that would allow all taxpayers to prepare and file their taxes directly with the federal government instead of requiring that they share private information with third parties;

• Enhance taxpayer data access by allowing all taxpayers to download third-party-provided tax information that the IRS already has into a software program of their choice.

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