The Benefits and Costs of I-File

55 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2008

See all articles by Robert E. Litan

Robert E. Litan

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) - Council on Foreign Relations- Washington D.C.

Jeffrey A. Eisenach

NERA Economic Consulting; American Enterprise Institute

Kevin W. Caves

Econ One Research

Date Written: April 2008

Abstract

In 2007, nearly 60 percent of all Federal individual tax returns were filed electronically, about three times the proportion 10 years earlier. Because electronic filing is both more efficient and more accurate than filing by mail, it generates substantial savings for taxpayers: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates it saves $2.36 for each electronically-filed return.

The clear benefits of electronic filing have led policymakers to ask what steps can be taken to accelerate its adoption. One such proposal, commonly referred to as "I-File," calls for the IRS to develop and operate an online tax filing system that would allow individuals to prepare their returns online and submit their returns directly to the IRS. In this paper, we analyze the likely benefits and costs of I-File.

We conclude that I-File proposals do not represent a viable approach to increasing electronic filing, improving the efficiency of the IRS, or reducing the costs to taxpayers of filing tax returns.

Suggested Citation

Litan, Robert E. and Eisenach, Jeffrey A. and Caves, Kevin W., The Benefits and Costs of I-File (April 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1159844 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1159844

Robert E. Litan

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) - Council on Foreign Relations- Washington D.C. ( email )

1777 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States

Jeffrey A. Eisenach (Contact Author)

NERA Economic Consulting

1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20037
United States
202-448-9029 (Phone)
202-466-3605 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nera.com

American Enterprise Institute ( email )

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Kevin W. Caves

Econ One Research ( email )

United States

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