Monday, August 31, 2015

The invisible hand at work, making things efficient. Business as usual ...

H&R Block Lobbied to Make Tax Forms Harder for Low-Income People to Fill Out | Mother Jones
Block lobbying via opensecrets
H&R Block said in a statement last week that "this is not about competitive business interests. It's about reducing fraud and protecting the future of the EITC." 
H&R Block has used the threat of fraud for years in arguing for a more complex tax filing system. In fact, studies have found that the majority of EITC overpayments are the result of unintentional error, not fraud—and research suggests that self-filers are already pretty good at getting it right. As Vox points out, a 2014 IRS study found that EITC claims filed from 2006 to 2008 by paid preparers were more likely to result in overpayments than self-filed claims. 
CBPP's Greenstein also notes that there's a double standard when it comes to tax-preparer companies' advocacy around fraud. The Treasury Department estimates that $16-19 billion was lost in 2014 from EITC overpayments. But the underreporting of business income cost $122 billion in 2006 (the latest year for which data are available) and is the single largest component of uncollected taxes. [emphasis mine]
H&R Block has no interest in protecting the government from fraud. Nor does it have any interest in serving a socially valuable purpose. It is interested is profit, which capitalists will point out is the point of the thing. Block is, not to put to fine a point on it, a predator. A predator that market worshipers will tell you is: (1) serving its natural function, and (2) that function is good for society.

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