Prefilled Personal Income Tax Returns: A Comparative Analysis of Australia, Belgium, California, Quebec and Spain

Studies in Budget and Tax Policy, June 2011

114 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2013

See all articles by François Vaillancourt

François Vaillancourt

University of Montreal

Chris Evans

Independent

Binh Tran-Nam

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Taxation and Business Law

Magali Verdonck

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Brian Erard

Carleton University - Department of Economics

Jose Duran-Cabre

Independent

Date Written: June 27, 2011

Abstract

The genesis of this set of five papers on prefilled (or pre-populated) personal income tax returns was the observation that the Québec government had initiated in December 2007 a prefilled personal income tax program. A target group of 100,000 tax filers, 80% of whom were age 65 or older were to receive a prefilled form for the 2007 tax year. The stated intent was that, for the 2008 fiscal year, 300,000 individuals filing a paper form should receive a prefilled form; for the 2009 fiscal year, this should be offered electronically to 1,000,000 tax filers; and for the 2010 fiscal year almost all Québec tax filers would receive a prefilled form. This program of using prefilled tax returns was ambitious both in its intended coverage and in the speed with which it was to be rolled out. It was also only the second subnational program we are aware of. It thus seemed appropriate to carry out a study of that program’s implementation in 2008, something that could be done only when the relevant data became available in late 2008. Chapter 4, by François Vaillancourt, examines the Québec program. It also seemed appropriate to compare Québec’s experience with prefilled tax forms to that of other tax jurisdictions implementing such a program. The most obvious candidate for inclusion in this comparison is California’s ReadyReturn program since it is the other program at the subnational level. Chapter 3, by Brian Erard, discusses this. One was then left with choosing other countries. After examining a list found in a publication of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (Forum on Tax Administration Taxpayer Services Sub-group, 2006) and drawing on our knowledge of tax collection arrangements, we selected three countries — Australia, Belgium and Spain — that like Canada are federal in the nature of their intergovernmental financial and tax arrangements, if not in their constitutions, and for which information on the prefilled program could be found. Thus, we also have Chapter 1, by Chris Evans and Binh Tran-Nam, on Australia, Chapter 2, by Magali Verdonck, on Belgium, and Chapter 5, José M. Durán-Cabré, on Spain.

Keywords: Taxation

Suggested Citation

Vaillancourt, François and Evans, Chris and Tran-Nam, Binh and Verdonck, Magali and Erard, Brian and Duran-Cabre, Jose, Prefilled Personal Income Tax Returns: A Comparative Analysis of Australia, Belgium, California, Quebec and Spain (June 27, 2011). Studies in Budget and Tax Policy, June 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2030002

François Vaillancourt (Contact Author)

University of Montreal ( email )

C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-Ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7
Canada

Chris Evans

Independent ( email )

Binh Tran-Nam

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Taxation and Business Law ( email )

School of Accounting, Auditing and Taxation
UNSW Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
61-2-9348 0049 (Phone)
61-2-9385 6926 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.asb.unsw.edu.au/schools/Pages/BinhTran-Nam.aspx

Magali Verdonck

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, b-1348
Belgium

Brian Erard

Carleton University - Department of Economics

1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Canada

Jose Duran-Cabre

Independent ( email )

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