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What is the state of the digitization of the tax payment system?

  1. Mar 8, 2013 #1
    According to the E-Sign act under United States Federal Law, any contract relating to such transactions may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because an electronic signature or electronic record was used in its formation. Does this law also apply to taxes? Can taxes be paid online or through a computer workstation or ATM machine in an IRS building? Is it legally permissible for a person to file an income tax report by opening a digital template text file and just filling in the blanks and changing some of the wording to suit the information that the person has to put in the report? And if such a digital system is in place, how widespread is its use in the United States and other countries?
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  3. Mar 8, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

  4. Mar 10, 2013 #3
    What about in other countries? How many of them have accepted the e-tax system?
  5. Mar 10, 2013 #4
    I worked in Revenue in Ireland last summer. Almost the whole tax system is now digital. We have an online system for submitting returns called ROS (Revenue Online Service) which is now mandatory for everyone. Paper returns are only accepted from people who have applied for an exemption - generally old people who can't use computers.

    Edit - This only applies to self-employed people or people with some other significant income other than ordinary employment. As in the UK, most ordinary employees just have their tax deducted automatically by their employers.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  6. Mar 10, 2013 #5


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    The UK has an almost complete digital system as well, though using it is optional. The same is true for local (i.e. city or regional) taxes.

    The main carrots for using digital instead of paper are later deadlines for filing information (up to 3 months later than the paper system), and faster refunds of any over-payments.

    But the UK tax system is very different from the US (at least as I understand the US system) in that most UK taxpayers don't have to file any reports or make payments themselves. All the relevant infomation and tax deductions are done automatically by employers, banks, finance companies, etc.
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