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Simplifying Tax for the Average Citizen


Filling out a tax return mostly tests reading, math and record-keeping skills ... I appreciate this compatibility. ... took me a couple of passes through the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Simplifying Tax for the Average Citizen

Simplifying Tax for the Average Citizen
  • Joseph Bankman
  • Ralph M. Parsons Professor of
  • Law and Business, Stanford Law School

Compliance and Other Costs Borne by Average
  • Tax system imposes large compliance costs on
    businesses and high-income individuals
  • Tax system also imposes compliance costs on
    taxpayers with simple returns
  • Whats a W-2? 1099? Should I hire a preparer?
    Which preparer? File myself? Which return? Have
    I saved all the records? Understood the form?
    Copied numbers correctly? Done the math right?
  • Economists measure costs as function of time and
    money, but cant measure anxiety, frustration and

Many of These Costs are Unnecessary
  • Tens of millions of taxpayers (3 million in
    California) have only wage income even more (4
    million in California) have wage income and less
    than 200 interest income and dont itemize
  • The State now checks return against reported wage
    data and checks math
  • If the States numbers are different than the
    taxpayers numbers, the State sends the taxpayer
    a deficiency notice
  • Why doesnt the State start the process off by
    telling taxpayers the information it has and the
    tax liability it thinks that information
  • Because State already has info, inexpensive to

Compare a Tax Return to a VISA bill
  • VISA doesnt send taxpayers a blank sheet and ask
    customers to write down all their transactions
  • Instead, it lists the transactions it has in its
  • Customers insist on this and not just because
    it saves time and effort
  • Customers need the list so they can look for
    mistakes or false charges

California ReadyReturn Pilot
  • A 2004 pro-forma or ReadyReturn sent to 50,000
    taxpayers who had only wage income in 2003.
    ReadyReturn also available on-line
  • ReadyReturn shows 2004 data reported to FTB and
    tentative tax liability
  • Taxpayers have option of filing return as
    written, correcting return, using data on return
    to get head start on filing a traditional return,
    or giving return to preparer

Pilot Program Results
  • Despite no advance publicity or mailings, 15-20
    of taxpayers filed ReadyReturn
  • Of course, more presumably used Ready Return to
    help prepare their own returns
  • 99 of taxpayers surveyed who used the Ready
    Return said theyd use in next year
  • (Preliminary results based on e-filing taxpayers
    who completed survey)

Comments Tell the Story
  • Fantastic Service
  • Best thing in the world
  • Whoever thought of this deserves a big fat
  • This is a great program and one that everyone
    should be using
  • Go Governator
  • Wow! Government doing something to make life
    easier for a change
  • I hope I can file my federal return the same way
    next year
  • See Appendix for comprehensive sample of

Minor Criticisms
  • Some comments point out flaws in the beta
    version of the ReadyReturn
  • For example, some taxpayers were confused by the
    use of the term PIN
  • These useful criticisms/suggestions could easily
    be dealt with in future years
  • All the comments received in the first survey are
    reproduced, unedited, at the end of this
  • Returns and comments are still coming in. Later
    comments are consistent with earlier comments and
    omitted for space reasons

Bi-Partisan Support
  • Leading Officials from Reagan, Bush Clinton
  • Wide array of tax scholars and policymakers

Opposition of Libertarians and Others
  • Taxpayers will be intimidated into accepting the
  • states numbers
  • Taxpayers had no trouble saying no and those
    who used the program loved it
  • Privacy concerns
  • Program requires no new information and enhances
    privacy rights by letting taxpayers know what
    info government already has
  • Program will deter real reform
  • Connection between this proposal and other
    reforms is unclear
  • Taxpayers might not agree as to what constitutes
    real reform what they agree on is that this
    program makes their life a little better

What about Tax Preparers?
  • This wont affect most preparers
  • Some preparers feel theyve got a franchise to
    protect and have opposed program
  • One false argument public sector competes with
    private sector
  • Government could contract out with private sector
    to send out notices or maintain web site
  • Real issue is whether taxpayers would find it
    useful to know the information already reported
    to government and the tentative tax liability
    that stems from that information

Making Taxes and the Tax System More Visible
  • Filling out a tax return mostly tests reading,
    math and record-keeping skills and leaves many
    taxpayer worried they have made mistakes
  • We could increase the visibility of taxes and the
    tax system by adding information to the
  • We might include in bold-faced large type the
    total tax paid and the marginal and average tax
  • We could add information on payroll taxes paid,

Maximizing Taxpayer Choice
  • ReadyReturn maximizes taxpayer choices
  • Taxpayers can file ReadyReturn, correct and file
    return, use return as starting point to complete
    return old fashioned way, etc.
  • Its hard to see why taxpayers wouldnt want the
    information in a ReadyReturn, but if they dont,
    we could allow taxpayers to opt out of receiving

Extension to Federal Returns
  • Issues
  • EITC
  • Timely wage data
  • Compared to other reforms
  • Much easier to implement
  • Scalable can begin with a pilot program

Sample Ready Return letter
Step 1 Carefully review your return The income
information was provided by ?? ACME COMPANY
Step 2 Make any needed changes If you have
other income . . . or need to make other changes,
you can do this at our Website. Your data is
already there. Well guide you through updating
your return. Step 3 File your return Once
youre ready to file your return, you must sign
it to agree that its correct and complete. Go
to and e-file. Youll
get confirmation that we received your return and
the ability to schedule an online payment. If
you do not want to participate in this pilot,
complete a new return yourself, use tax
preparation software, or visit a tax preparer.
You can use the enclosed return as a starting
point for completing your new return.
Appendix Taxpayer Comments on Pilot
  • The following slides contain all the taxpayers
    comments received by late March
  • These comments have not been edited in any form
  • Comments from later surveys are consistent and
    have been omitted only for space reasons

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "Great Pilot Makes my life easier."
  • "This is great and easy"
  • "Great program and easy to use, although I am
    computer illiterate"
  • "Wonderful. Wish the Feds would make it this
  • "Wonderful service. Im highly satisfied. I was
    disappointed at first not to have tele-file, but
    after receiving my invitation and seeing what was
    prepared and done for me I was very pleased. I
    would love to have this service again."
  • "Very satisfied and impressed with this new
    method. Loved the readyreturn
    even more."
  • "I wanted to direct deposit my return, but it
    submitted before I had a chance to do so. You
    should put the direct deposit 2nd instead of 3rd.
    I am using a Mac and the view return opened
    system profiler. As a result, even though I had
    looked at it using Adobe Acrobat 5, your site did
    not recognize that. I had to click o"
  • "I was not able to type in my middle initial R..
    Other than that I was happy with the program and
    I hope it will be available and free in the
    future. Thanks for keeping up with the times and
    making it an easy program to use."
  • "This is the simplest, most convenient tax filing
    system ever. I really am impressed. Thanks for
    including me in the pilot program"
  • "It made my simple tax return a COMPLETE
  • "Thank you for inviting me to use this pilot
    program. I was dreading having to do them since
    the Telefile was canceled. My taxes are easy
    enough it is just taking the extra time to get
    the taxbooklet and worksheet."
  • "Was not clear about what a PIN number was. I
    thought it was something in the letter. Looked
    all over for it. Finally found it in the FAQ."
  • "Line by line 540 Instruction manual was hard to
    find...should be very conveniently avail. With
    the ready return for reference, otherwise a very
    good process."
  • "There is only one issue I noticed while
    preparing my taxes using your e-file program.
    None of the help items I selected displayed a
    help page, all came up with an Error404, Page not
    available. Other than that, I would like to thank
    you for the work that went into this service and
    hope to be able to use it for years"
  • "ReadyReturn was very easy and convenient. Thank
    you for the invitation."
  • "Great pilot program it makes folks that have
    easy returns to actually file and not have to
    populate all of the tax withholding information
  • "I had difficulty in the password, in that it
    required numbers, not letters. Otherwise, quite a
    good program. Thank you."
  • "I wish you would continue the Telefile sytem.
    Not everyone has access to internet. I had to go
    to a friend. I like doing my taxes on the phone
    so easy."

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "This is the first time for me. I enjoyed the
    experience. However, your figures were not the
    same as my W-2 I received from my employer. I
    corrected the income amount from my w-2 and all
    is well"
  • "Fast, easy and free. Great program."
  • "Thank you for choosing me for this pilot
    program, I love it. I hope I can file my federal
    tax return the same way next year."
  • "This was a great time saver. For someone like me
    who doesnt make a great deal of money, it makes
    the tax time easier. Thanks"
  • "In the 5 digit signature section, state that the
    5 digits are of my own choice and not a
    predetermined selected by the State as we are
    used to. I finally saw that it was my choice when
    I viewed my return on Adobe."
  • "I was unable to write down the DCN number on the
    final screen because the ReadyReturn Easy as 123
    logo obscured the number. Otherwise very cool
  • "The button for choosing direct deposit was after
    the signing and submitting form. The steps never
    took me back to put my direct deposit info in, so
    I guess the checks coming by mail"
  • "For some reason when I tried selecting the
    button while completing my taxes it would never
    take me to the website it needed and default to a
    statement that said cannot find that address I
    found away around this though. Otherwise a very
    well done and very easy to use system, which I
    will use from here on."
  • "The screens to change the data were not very
    user-friendly and there were no help options for
    each item. I am a web designer and I had
    difficulty knowing I was to add the information
    from my federal itemized tax return document to
    the fields on the screen to itemize for my state
  • "Survey took longer than the efiling. Great it is
    easy and free. Lets see if the refund comes as
  • "This was an incredible experience. I hope that
    this service is available next year."
  • "Once I was able to get into the page. This was
    the easiest and the fastest experience I have
    ever had filing my taxes. I also called the 1-800
    number and received excellent help. Thank you all
    so much. One less headache with taxes...Someone
    is finally thinking about us..Thanks again"
  • "Could not access website
    n----I tried everything for over an hour, finally
    I telephoned. Was told not to capital R in ready,
    R in Return. I had already tried lower case."
  • "Very convenient"
  • "I thought this was a great pilot program. It was
    easy, effecient, seemingly safe and caught a
    mistake I would have made if I had paper-filed. I
    wish that I could do my federal taxes the same
  • "This is an awesome pilot program that is easy to
    use a time-saving option for tax preparation,"
  • "I have never considered filing online before but
    would definitely do it again next year. I had to
    make changes to my return, but this was still
    easier than I thought it would be. Good Job with
    the program."

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "Thanks for providing a free opportunity to file"
  • "Good program-hope to see it in the future."
  • "I had a problem at first getting it to Submit
    but after a speedy reply to my problem email, a
    very helpful person steered me in the right
    direction. Very professional. Hats off to FTB and
    ReadyReturn. See you next year. "
  • "Thank you for choosing me to particapate."
  • "Though I only speak English, I think the e-file
    form should be available in all languages upon
    prior maybe 6 months written request for uncommon
    foreign languages."
  • "Again so cool"
  • "Thank you for choosing me to participate in your
    pilot program. I would love to be involved
  • "This was great and a lot easier than I thought
    it was going to be Thanks"
  • "Your site worked well with my browser, Firefox.
    I appreciate this compatibility. Some tax sites
    only work with the insecure Internet Explorer
  • "Great new program. Quick and easy...I LOVE IT"
  • "Thank you"
  • "The instructions need to be clarified, it took
    three passes to successfully submit...Why force a
    print out if you make no changes. I had already
    completed my tax form and agreed with your
    mailing. Your pilot project is headed in the
    correct and proper direction. Good luck..."
  • "I would like it if I were able to file earlier
    as I have only have one employer and always file
    the short form. Direct deposit is the most
    important thing to me and I felt confident that I
    was given the proper instruction on the computer
    and the phone. I enjoyed filing my taxes since it
    had already been figured out for me"
  • "I would file with e-file every year."
  • "Thanks it was much easier and less hassel. Hope
    this way is secure, yes I would use it again"
  • "CA State method of e-filing is easier than Fed.
    Still filed using hardcopy and snail mail for
    Federal return because I didnt see a Government
    run e-filing site page."
  • "Excellent program. Very convenient and secure,
    will definitely use again."
  • "Thank you for inviting me to participate. This
    made doing my taxes easier to understand and
  • "Thank You California FTB, this was wonderful. I
    hope you continue to offer this in the future.
    Please pass this comment to our Governor This is
    one of the best products offered by the state
    that saves time and money for the average
    Californian and makes tax paying a pleasant
    experience. Thank You "

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "ReadyReturn is the best thing in the world. It
    was great, finding out that my state tax return
    had already been filled out, and was ready to
    file. It saved me a lot of time, and it was very
    easy to understand not confusing at all. I
    appreciate that the Franchise Tax Board is
    willing to put the time and resources in"
  • "Wow...Government doing something to make our
    lives easier for a change...The Feds should take
  • "Please make it this easy to file federal taxes"
  • "For myself, this new program for filing my taxes
    is good. Although I do have concerns for elderly
    or disabled taxpayers some of whom may not have
    internet access."
  • "I thought this was great very simple to
    use...thanks State of California you save me 20
  • "I hope this will be available next year"
  • "Thanks"
  • "Good Job"
  • "It was great Please provide the service next
  • "The section that requires a PIN, I was unclear
    if this was a number that I already had or if I
    was supposed to come up with one."
  • "Thank you for inviting me to participate in the
    pilot program. I hope it is successful and will
    be repeated next year."
  • "At one point, my browser froze and had to close.
    As a result I did not go to the page to donate
    part of my refund. Im not sure if this was the
    websites fault or my browser."
  • "I had never used an e-file before today. I was
    impressed on how easy this was to do, and I would
    do it again, because it simplifies everything,
    not to mention that I would get my refund a lot
  • "Great stuff go governator"
  • "Thank you for the invitation. It was fast and
  • "It was nice not having to pay a fee for filing
    with the state."
  • "Thank you for making this available Its quicker,
    easier, and cheaper than ... my previous method."
  • "Excellent Great Amazing"
  • "Wonderful service."

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "Made my life a lot easier."
  • "I had trouble opening the online version of my
    return. I think its because I have a Macintosh.
    Please check it out. I use OS10.2.1 and Acrobat
    Reader 6.0.2"
  • "The final question asks for a five digit PIN
    number. You should clearly define where to find
    that number."
  • "Thank you very much, this was an incentive to
    file my return faster"
  • "I would definitely prefer this method to others
    I have used in the past, including telefile.
    Thanks for the invitation."
  • "I think the idea behind ReadyReturn is sound and
    should reduce the stress and dread of tax time.
    Having all the information available both on
    paper and on the internet and the convenience of
    taking only 5 minutes to file is a welcomed way
    to quickly and effortlessly complete and file
    your taxes. Thank you for"
  • "This is an excellent choice and if I have this
    option again, I will definitely use it. Great
  • "This is great"
  • "You never anywhere state weather we as a
    taxpayer have to send anything other than what
    you generated online"
  • "I feel this is a great program. It is easier to
    understand that other tax sofware. I hope this
    will be available to me again next year."
  • "From the letter it is not clear on internet
    access, did not ask to use http I did call and
    had a very good response from your online
    assistance, I have done online support myself and
    found your assistance very good"
  • "Im happy this only took approximately 10
    minutes and no more stress"
  • "I really missTelefile..."
  • "Thank you for such an easy tax return...bravo"
  • "ReadyReturn was very fast and very easy. If
    given the opportunity again, I was use this
    method to file my return."
  • "Had problems using Adobe Acrobat reader to view
    return. I called the toll free number given and
    was pleased to reach a live person. They were
    helpful. I would use this again because it made
    filing very easy. Thanks"
  • "This was a very easy process, and I thought my
    taxes couldnt get any easier I think this would
    benefit people who havent filed before, to guide
    them through the process and show them that its
    nothing to be afraid of."
  • "You should have clarified the PIN number. I had
    to call to find out what it was"

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "FANTASTIC service Please implement tthis
  • "I hope this service becomes standardized. Quik
    and convenient."
  • "I think this is a wonderful service and I hope I
    can file this way again next year. It was very
    easy and saved me some money."
  • "Great, keep up the good work."
  • "Works for me-thanks"
  • "It took a few minutes to actually find the
    ReadyReturn portion of the website. I had
    expected it to be more prominently displayed.
    Instead, I first went to CalFile. Also, I think
    there should be a separate screen for direct
    depositwhich I wantedbut apparently missed the
    opportunity to indicate that."
  • "Thank you for making it easier to file my Tax
  • "Keep up the good work"
  • "Need to have a Quick Link to access the Pilot
    Program. It took 3 times to enter the system
    because of manual typing addresses."
  • "There is nothing about direct deposit with
    efile. Nothing mentioned about length of time to
    receive paper check."
  • "This was the best way to file my state taxes. If
    filing becomes this easy it would eliminate all
    stress associated with filing your taxes. Thank
    you for allowing me to participate in this
  • "I would love to be able to use this service
    every year. Also, I wish the Federal Tax Board
    would offer this service"
  • "I think this is a great pilot program. It makes
    filing easier. Great job."
  • "Thank you for making this available Youre
  • "Make a note in the instructions to edit the tax
    return if one would like to use direct deposit.
    Granted that is very much user error on my own
    part, unfortunately I caught it after submitting.
    Along that thread would be nice if there was
    information for amending after submitting should
    an error be caught then."
  • "This was so easy I wish that this program were
    available for my federal return I would
    definitely use this again next year-great system"
  • "Keep me on your invitation list"
  • "An additional line for the Federal Adj Gross
    Income figure in the worksheet would have made it
    simpler to edit Ca return to match my Federal
  • "The only trouble I had was the pin"

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "This has made my life a lot easier. Thank you."
  • "Thank you so much for making something that
    always is stressful much easier. I was able to
    understand the procedure and felt that I was in
    control of what was being done with my taxes
    instead of someone preparing it for me. I think
    this is great."
  • "I really like this program. I am not really good
    with math and this helped me a lot. However, I
    missed the part about having my return direct
    deposited into my account. "
  • "This was great"
  • "I think this was a great service to provide. It
    saves time and money."
  • "I think it is great that the state is finally
    using technology to benefit the residents. Paying
    taxes shouldnt be so complex. I am very happy
    that this program is available and it should save
    the state millions of dollars in resources. Good
    job California"
  • "Thank you, this was fast and easy"
  • "Tele-File and E-File without having to purchase
    extra software are very good options.They are the
    fastest and best way in my opinion. Paper filing
    is still necessary for those who dont like the
    internet. However I feel that E-file will become
    more popular. Starting it now and developing it
    is a good idea."
  • "Thank you for making it easier for people."
  • "The site was very easy to follow and
  • "Thanks for making it quicker for me"
  • "Great idea, super easy, keep up the good work.
    Save taxpayer rmoney by using this type of
    friendly government websites."
  • "It was great. Took away all my worries"
  • "This was great for people with one job and
    nothing else. If I had more than one income I
    might not file this way."
  • "This new pilot is easy and quick. This is my
    first time, so I really liked it"
  • "When I received the letter in the mail and saw
    who it was from, I thought Oh no, audit time. But
    this was so cool For some reason the Federal is
    so much easier to do and file, now you made
    filing my state income tax so much easier. Thank

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "This has been a great experience. Never before
    has it taken 5 minutes for me to file my taxes"
  • "This was WONDERFUL, what a great way to file my
    state taxes, I wish the federal was as easy. Its
    a no brainer, I hope I can do it this way for the
    following years. Thanks so much."
  • "Incredibly convenient way to file"
  • "If federal taxes was this easy"
  • "This is an awesome and amazingly easy
    application. Thankyou."
  • "It was the best."
  • "This was great, I would like to be able to do
    the same with my federal return as it fairly
    simple like the state tax was. Great way to save
  • "Love it what a great time money saver"
  • "This was great hope u do it every year"
  • "I like it Its easy since I do not have any other
    deductions. Thanks for doing this."
  • "Thanks for including me in the pilot program."
  • "I received a letter sent previous e-filers that
    the CSN was no longer needed toE-file. I could
    not get the program to work as described in the
    letter signed by FTB. The phone call to learn
    the letter was in error was a waste of my time
    and the letter was a waste of FTB time and money.
    I ft"
  • "This is great service from my government. I love
    the invite and wish the feds would do the same.
    Good work and thanks from this taxpayer."
  • "Everything worked great. The taxpayer pin number
    thing seemed a little arbitrary since I already
    provided my soc sec. Why not just ask for the
    date of birth like the Federal govts telefile"
  • "This was a very easy way to file and I would
    definitely like to do it the same way next year."
  • "Thanks for this option. Im always confused when
    I have to do my taxes and usually need help. It
    was nice and very convenient to have the form
    already filled out with all my information. Im
    definitely not stressed out about doing my taxes
    because it was so easy. I would definitely use
    this service again next year"
  • "I would appreciate the teacher tax credit being
  • "I thought the Requirements needed to E-File were
    a little confusing."

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "This was great Thanks"
  • "I really enjoyed using this program. Thanks for
    choosing me for the pilot program. It was so
  • "It was Great Fast, easy, and reliable."
  • "Thanx guys. This was really quick!"
  • "Assigning your own PIN number was rather
    confusing at first as it would appear to me that
    the tax return would have had print outs like the
    access code--not sure I was able to just use a
    radom PIN--it was okay but didn't make sense to
  • "In step 5 line 20 , I would feel more confident
    in the information provided, if the tax table was
    either included in the invitation or displayed
    online while filing. When I reviewed my tax
    return form online, the amounts and lettering
    were superimposed, my confidence in the system
    faltered some, but since the figures did
    calculate to the same amounts I continued."
  • "after viewing the return, I was confused about
    how to close down the window showing the return,
    and I just took a chance at closing the window by
    clicking the x button. The return said I should
    use the controls on the bottom of the screen."
  • "keep the program going...its great."
  • "It took me two days to get the website to comeup
    and thirty minutes this morning. That is why the
    time listed above was so long. I almost gave up
    and mailed the paper return."
  • "I was unable to view the return, but was
    required to check the box in order to file my
  • "I am not sure if I clicked the direct deposit
    button... I was only given the option once and
    after signing my return, was not offered it
    again. Also-the PIN choice was not well
    described. secure. I expected you to provide a
    PIN to me. How secure is a signature when the
    user chooses 5 numbers out of the blue How do you
    know its me?"
  • "why cant I file my federal tax return here too?"
  • "I called the 800 that is on the ready file for
    help, the lady that assisted me was very kind and
    helpful. I wish that I would have written down
    her name to give you but unfortunately I didnt."
  • "The .pdf veiwing buttons did not work very well
    with Firefoxv.1.0PR. According to the
    instructions in the .pdf, it should have opened
    in its own window because it says to close the
    window once I veviewed my return. However,
    because it opened in the same window and did not
    include an in site back link, I had no choice but
    to use my browsers back button and resending post
    data after the final viewing which then counted
    as thee-file submission. Also,because the system
    uses a button to view the return, I did not even
    have the ability to right-click and force it to
    open in a separate window."
  • "Great program dont let this end."

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "I really liked the tele-file method, but this is
    nearly as quick and provides a paper trail that
    is comforting.Thanks for allowing me to test
    drive the program. I would like to use it next
    year as well."
  • "The Ready Return system made it so quick and
    easy to file my tax return that I felt a marked
    decrease in anxiety over the whole process. I 'd
    love to see this program implemented on a
    national level, too."
  • "Don't change a THING. This WORKS!"
  • "Thank you"
  • "very convenient and quick-keep up the good
  • "The ready return made it easier for me to file
    my Cal tax return"
  • "Though I am very pleased with Easy Return, I
    chose to answer No on item1.a. because the
    section explaining how to sign the document by
    using the PIN was very confusing to me."
  • "Ready Return does not work properly with common
    browsers on the Apple Macintosh this must be
    remiedied. Many Californians use Apple computers.
    2 After filing my return, I was not given any
    link or information to pay the amount I owe. Im
    now left confused how do I pay What do I do Do I
    waste time trying to call and find out What I
    will probably do is just send in a paper 540 form
    and my check, which means that Ready Return saved
    me ZERO time."
  • "Under question number 1 Ready Return, kept my
    personal information secure makes no sense as I
    cant tell if Ready Return kept my information
    secure or not."
  • "Excellent Program."
  • "I've read in the newspaper that some groups
    people object to this service, stating that the
    government shouldnt be determining how much money
    someone gets back. Im getting more money back
    with government doing my taxes than I have before
    with my taxpreparer doing it, so I dont agree
    with that objection. If this program is offered
    in the future please keep my name on the list."
  • "very easy hope it is available in the future"
  • "logged on to the web and had a hard time getting
    to ready return page, too much clutter, it should
    go directly to the ready return page. After that
    it was easy. Should make note on your final page
    to sign form LAST after entering direct deposit,
    I almost did the reverse."
  • "This is an excellent website. I have worked with
    a number of municipalities across the state and
    have seen how bad some of them waste money on
    inefficient use of manpower. Seeing this website
    has given me hope that the state has some sense
    to it.This is a good investment for California. I
    see the potential saving to California in the
    tens of millions of dollars just by the saving of
    postage, paper, and manpower. It is about time
    California looked at ways to improve its bottom

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "Thank you very much for the opportunity to file
    my taxes this way. I loved it."
  • "Thank you very much. I loved Ready Return. It
    was easy, simple, and most importantly, FREE
    Would use it again next year, given the
    opportunity. I just wish Federal did it like
  • "I do hope that the federal government catches on
    and some how links CA to their resources so that
    I can be a happy camper with the federal
    government as I am now with my state of
    California....Thanks California"
  • "Loved the service"
  • "This was easy, convenient, and free You cant do
    much better than that. Good job."
  • "I was not given an opportunity to pay online. I
    have to go to another website to pay. I was given
    a dcn without payment options bug in the system.
    I liked it. It matched what I thought by doing it
    myself and seeing what was provided for me."
  • "you need to clear up the PIN instructions. Thank
    You very happy took me minutes."
  • "This process didnt save me as I had already
    purchased the software.It would be great if the
    information could be provided earlier. That would
    eliminate having to make unnecessary purchases.
    Thank you for the opportunity to participate."
  • "Thank you for this invitation, it was very
  • "THANK YOU For once, our Government has somehting
    beneficial for everyone."
  • "Getting my taxes done stresses me out but this
    made it a lot easier for me. I liked being able
    to do it my self instead of having someone else
    do it for me."
  • "I found Tele File very easy. It was not clear
    that Telefile was not available and took time
    looking for it. If I had no computer then
    telefile would be the tool-it should still be
  • "An option to only correct name and or address
    should be provided up front so that an individual
    does not have to step through the paper return
    you provided. Some of the questions were alittle
    confusing and were not necessary since all had to
    do was change the address."
  • "I like the phone one better, but this one is
    okay. The last part when they wanted a 5-digit
    pin was sort of confusing. I didnt know if I had
    to make one up, or if it was in the forms
  • "you should have a close button on the tax form
    itself. It gets confusing and hard to determine
    which button closes the window and which are
    internet disconnect buttons."
  • "Thank you for allowing me to participate in this
    pilot program"
  • "This was very easy and convenient."
  • "Though I was able to finish within minutes the
    2nd time I had some problems over the weekend
    when I first started... meaning the site was not
    available. Not sure if there were some connection
    problems on your site but I was not able to
    Review and therefore could not complete the
    return at that time. Otherwise I really liked
    submitting my return this way, it is really easy
    and very convenient plus there are no extra costs
    involved. Thanks.

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "I loved it, it should save both of us time and
  • "If refunds will indeed be issued much faster and
    provided my return was received without any
    problems, I think ITS A GREAT IDEA .P.S.IS THE
  • "Thank you for your help. Have a great and
    positive day"
  • "This made it easy to file. I only needed minor
    changes to my return such as the renters credit.
    I did have problems opening the PDF file to view
    my return. I am using Acrobat Reader7.0 and have
    shut off all my Norton security settings but this
    still did not work."
  • "Information should be supplied about qualifying
    for Ready Returns vis-à-vis taxable interest
  • "Thanks for this program. It is very quick and
    accurate I double-checked the numbers--they
  • "This was awesome. Everything was already
    pre-filled out for me. All I had to do was review
    it, add direct deposit for my refund, and sign
    submitit. I wish there was a similar pilot
    program for filing my Federal taxes as well. I am
    definitely satisfied and look forward to
    participating in this pilot program again next
  • "I would like to file my federal return also,
    using this method."
  • "Thank you for making filing my taxes so easy
    -one less stress on my mind"
  • "It was fast easy and cheap I will do it again if
    I can."
  • "Missed step13, nice to have a reminder of that
    option. Would have used the direct deposit."
  • "This ready return worked well but I do prefer
    tele-file. It took me less time."
  • "This e-file system should have a checklist of
    what needs to be done after I e-file my taxes. It
    did not tell me where I need to mail my check,
    who to make it payable to, what needed to be on
    the check, and if anything needed to accompany
    the check. I had to call for this information."
  • "This is great. 15 min and I was done. Like we
    say in the Marines OOOOOrrrraahh!"
  • "The Ready Return option is a wonderful idea and
    I personally hope to see it available for
  • "The twenty minutes you allow isnt enough. My
    server went down twice during my preparation. Had
    to start over, better if I didnt have to start
    over and just start from where I was."
  • "Fast, easy, wish it was like this all the time"
  • "thank you very much"

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "I like this service. I liked how it was
    pre-filled out, free, and that I can schedule my
    payment for a future date, i.e. 4/15. There was
    one error on the final page that told me to save
    my DCN on Form 8453, but I only printed Form
    8455. Anyhow, this is great Hope to see it again.
    No w only if the Federal Govt would offer this
  • "Instructions were efficient and easy to
    understand. I was confused for a few moments with
    the Pin number that I had to create to submit my
    return. I tried to enter my access code. Then I
    reread the instructions and figured it out. Other
    than that, all was simple. Thanks."
  • "The pilot project looks good"
  • "please dont get rid of theW-2 info once a year
    directly from the employer."
  • "Website did not explain PIN for signature. The
    website should have explained that the PIN was a
    number of your choosing just prior to asking for
    this information."
  • "I liked the e-file offer including me in your
    Pilot program. Thanks"
  • "This was very neat. I was a bit worried at first
    when I got his in the mail, but when I realized
    that this letter to be involved in the Pilot
    program was from the state I got excited. I
    usually use commercial software to do my taxes,
    but this was a lot easier. All I had to do was
    double check the info and put in my account
    information for direct deposit. I loved it.
    Thanks for allowing me to participate in this
    program and I hope this continues for next years
  • "I would like to use it again next year."
  • "I wish Federal Taxes could have been prepared
    the same way...ReadyReturn rocks"
  • "This was fast, easy and convenient. I also like
    the idea of not wasting paper. Great Job"
  • "The letter in spanish and in english is a good
    idea. I do not need it in spanish but for those
    individuals out there I can see it to be
    important and thoughtful."
  • "The tax return would NOT display correctly, an
    error came up both with IE and Mozilla, luckily I
    was mailed a printed version in the mail, numbers
    are over writing each other on the online form,
    not clear at all."
  • "This survey took longer for me to fill out than
    Ready Return took to let me file. Great job
    especially for us poor single people. Thanks"
  • "Please include me on your mailing list next
    year. How can I get Federal Invitation to-file
  • "I liked this way of filing very much, very
    convenient. I would not have bought the state
    software if I had been aware of it before
    recieving the letter. I hope the same method is
    available next year. I did have a problem viewing
    the pdf file containing my return. It insisted on
    opening in Photoshop which did not understand it.
    I would suggest checking that the content-type
    and content-disposition headers are set

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "You mailed too many items regarding Efile. You
    do not say that it is with no charge I hope this
    is free because I did not account for any fee for
    using this."
  • "wow! Great service. This took me 30 minutes and
    I was done. Thanks. "
  • "I was totally confused with those whole system
    and had a hard time figuring this system
    out...Hopefully I did this correctly. Thanks, "
  • "This was a very easy way to file. Thank you for
    the invitation. I hope I can do the same next
    year. These are the government services that make
    my life easier - Thanks again..."
  • "pin number should state that you can use any 5
    digit number."
  • "This was AWESOME And, so easy… and it was FREE
    Thank you for inviting me to the pilot program
    Ill definitely look for this next year."
  • "My only concern at this moment is how good is
    the security online."
  • "This was a delightful surprise to receive Thank
    you. Anything to make life a wee-bit easier."
  • "My browser would close the window whenever I
    would close the pdf of the return. I had to log
    back in about 3 times. Other than that, this was
    convenient and simple."
  • "This is much better I hope you continue with
    this process."
    IT FREE!"
  • "It seems odd to not have to mail my W-2, but I
    like the convenience. Thank you for the
  • "I had difficulty getting to the website using
    the URL that was provided. Also found the
    instructions abit aborious. Instructions said to
    use back or return button at bottom of page.
    After reviewing my return in PDF format, there
    should have been instructions to close tha
    window. Need clear instructions on selecting the
    PIN without having to ask question."
  • "Grrreat Job"
  • "I wish I had received this in the mail earlier
    I did my return on paper in January I just hadnt
    filed it."
  • "Great service and very use to use It would be
    good to have a save button when submitting direct
    deposit information, the back button makes you
    hesitate and wonder if the information was saved.
    Until you print the return, the einstructions are
    not clear as to the fact that this information
    will be added to the return.
  • "The interface should be improved to allow saving
    your progress rather than requiring you to
    restart the process if you cant finish in one
    sitting. Otherwise, very useful and straight
  • "This was fairly simple. I thought I was going to
    use an interactive tax form. Since I already
    prepared my taxes, I could have adjusted the
    numbers directly to the 540 form. Mine was a
    simple return. I might be alittle apprehensive
    using this system if my return was more complex
    unless I was adjusting the numbers directly on
    the form."

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "Love this service - too bad I moved out of state
    before it took off and became a regular thing. I
    loved Tele File too."
  • "I had a very positive experience with Ready
    Return. I hope this eventually becomes a
    government service. Its fast, convenient, and
    takes a lot of anxiety away that is associated
    with tax."
  • "The original wage amount was incorrect. Had to
    change online."
  • "This process couldnt be easier except clarify
    the PIN signature. I spent a minute looking for
    the PIN on my invite. I had to click on the help
    icon to learn that I make up my own PIN. It
    should be stated right on the page."
  • "When I went in to review my tax form and there
    was nothing at the bottom that tells you what to
    do next. I was nt real sure if I should just
    close out or not. When I did, I saw that it then
    said to continue etc, but for a moment I was not
    really sure."
  • "ReadyReturn was great I hope you do it again
    next year. It was hassel free. I loved it. Thank
    you for including me in your pilot run."
  • "Is there any way for 1099-INT information to
    automatically be sent and be included like the
    w-2 information was It would make this type of
    filing even easier but this may not be feasable.
    Thank you for the opportunity to file my State
    tax form via this method."
  • "My fiancee was upset that she couldnt file
    using this method, please expand the program"
  • "I was in such a hurry to complete it… I didnt
    supply the direct deposit info.… I guess a check
    will be in the mail… it was so nice to have it
    all filled out in advance… look forward to e-file
    again next year."
  • "Thank you for the opportunity."
  • "THANK YOU."
  • "The program was very easy to use and extremely
    convenient, although my preference is to use an
    independent software program outside the
    government or file via mail. I think the reason I
    feel this way is mainly due t o the fact that
    this is a new program. However, it is a great
    option for filing, very simple and I would use it
  • "When the it came time to e-file and the program
    asked me for my access code it did not take it
    because it asked for a five digit code and my
    access code is four--so I added a zero in front
    of it."
  • "This is a great service Would suggest to BOLD
    that signature should be a NUMBER pin. I was
    trying to use characters… maybe others caught it,
    but that took me a little bit to figure out.
    Thank you."
  • "I was a participant and the taxes were already
    prepared for me. Because of the fact that all I
    had was an address change, it took quite along
    time to do this and e-file because I had to re-do
    my taxes all over again. The software should
    automatically let you just change your address
    and re-print and file...
  • "I would have liked to receive my invitation
    letter sooner."
  • "GREAT idea this was super easy and fast, now
    push the federal guys to let you file like this
    as well."

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "Make e-file permanent Tax solution Wish the
    Federal Government does the same…"
  • "I really enjoyed filing by Telefile and miss
    that option. Using ReadyReturn means you must
    have a computer and not everyone does. I also
    have not been receiving my Tax Record and
    Instructions booklet for the past 3 years. I miss
    getting that also. You get updated information
    that you wouldnt get elsewhere."
  • "the directions were easy but I did have alittle
    trouble on some of it. I printed it once and
    thought that would take care of it but you have
    to print it twice so you can see your routing
    number included. Directions should say print
  • "I do not use a bank. Your instructions do not
    tell me how and when I will receive my refund in
    that case."
  • "The site did not tell where my signature pin
    was, or how to get it. Other then that, the site
    was over all a great way to file."
  • "Bravo this was simple and quick. Better then any
    indepent tax preparation site Ive used in the
  • "Great experiece It was easier and faster than
  • "Thank you for inviting me to participate in your
    pilot program. I hope that it is a success so
    that I can use it again next year."
  • "Great. Easy, fast way to file income. Plus its
  • "This was excellent as long as hackers can not
    get on to the website. Since I do not itemize,
    this was the easiest way for me to submit my tax
  • "Now that tele file is no longer available, I
    prefer filing on-line. Thanks for the
  • "Nice to receive access code through mail. Nice
    to have option to receive access online. Was not
    aware of program until receiving ReadyReturn in
    the mail. ReadyReturn is a good option for filing
    tax. Thanks"
  • "It was very easy to file my return. I wish I
    could do the same thing for next year."
  • "Printing out there turn was problematic and
    caused me to be timed out. For easier printing,
    keep the form black and white."
  • "Awesome.. I loved the Taxes already been made
    for me You should keep the pilot program alive
    Sooooooo easy, quick, efficient, and the best
    part is that its FREE It took me less then 2
    minutes to just log into the website, sign my
    return, and e-file Nice job, the Feds should do
    the same."
  • "Question 10 did not have enough options."
  • "The numbers were on top of each other on my
    return in the computer. I do have Adobe 7.0 so
    believe that there is a bug somewhere in your
  • "Please make sure that people realize they need
    to update the information on their return if they
    want to have their refund directly deposited to
    their account. Making sure they viewed their
    return does not really point that out. I was
    double checking the amounts on my return form. I
    forgot to revise that I wanted my refund directly
    deposited to my account. Now I have to wait for
    my check in the mail. But still, thank you for
    this opportunity."

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • This was allot easier than tele-file. I love the
    fact that all my info is filled out for me on the
    return and all I have to do is accept it and I am
    done. Good job. Thank you."
  • "thank you for the opportunity."
  • "thank you"
  • "This was the easiest time I have ever had filing
    a return. Thank you."
  • "Thanks for inviting me to use the new
    system--should be well accepted by all who
  • "Im glad I was a part of this- it made things so
  • "ReadyReturn is the best thing to happen to state
    taxes since deductions. - Filing this year was
    beyond easy and fast. Thank you for such a great
    program and I hope it will be available again
    next year. Thanks "
  • "thank you thank you sob,sob thank you"
  • "Great Service"
  • "PIN number was confusing. It was not clear that
    the number was something for the user to make up,
    rather than a specific number the user was
    already supposed to know."
  • "My printer printed out the return but not the
    inserted figure fields on the return such as AGI
    amount, amount I owe I used the return
    you sent as my record along with the DCN number."
  • "thank you this even easier than TeleFile"
  • "Entering the 5 digit pin at the end was a little
    confusing. It should state to come up with your
    own 5 digit pin that way others wont scramble to
    locate it somewhere in the paperwork. Thats what
    I did and just came to the conclusion that I had
    to make one up. That was fine but, it should
    state to make up your own 5 digit pin and
    remember it somewhere."
  • "The some of the print on my return was
    overlapping. Im hopeful this will not affect my
  • "cool"
  • "My browser didnt have the exact wording listed
    in the instructions, so I had to choose to
    believe that I have sufficient security for this
    system in order to use it. Hope I didnt make a
    big mistake Im not computer savvy..."
  • "Thanks for making it really easy and painless
    this year"
  • "more of the data should already be populated.
    i.e. ssn,employers id , ect. It would save more
    time and make it more pleasurable."
  • "This is a wonderful program that should be made
    available always. The only confusing point was
    the 5-digit PIN to sign the return. It should be
    made more clear that the PIN is just a random
    number and not a number that was sent to us.
    Also, the paper that was mailed to us with our
    access code should have spaces marked for writing
    down our DCN and PIN as a reminder to keep the

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • Since I already had a copy mailed to me with the
    invitation, I didnt print a copy but was directed
    back to print a copy before I could continue."
  • "Great job"
  • "This is a fabulous service"
  • "this system is the best thing to come alone
    since sliced bread i lover it"
  • "It is not clear how to come about finding your
    PIN Do you make up one or is it somewhere on the
    form and you just cant find it."
  • "Was a little hard to find where I needed to go
    at first but, once I did it was easy.Thanks "
  • "This is a great program please continue it"
  • "Ok - FIRST This 500-character limited space
    should be acknowledged Now I have to rewrite this
    all It was unclear to me what the PIN was. I had
    to go back to the FAQs page, then look it up.
    Info. NEXT to the red asterisks would have been
    helpful - or a "What is this" underlined next to
    important entries to take us immediately to
    another window with that particular info.
    ReadyReturn is a 540 formI use 540 EZ - I was
    going to change the entries - luckliy I saw the
  • "it is about time we eliminate paper and
    streamline the government. Next lets fix workmans
  • "To have the form already prepared by you was a
    big help. Thank you."
  • "awsome"
  • "It was a nice surprise to receive the
    invitation. Id definitely use that again. Thank
  • "If you are receiving a refund button for
    electronic transfer into your bank account should
    be before electronic signature."
  • "Choosing a 5 digit pin seemed pointless and
    confusing since there was little explanation
    about how it would be used later."
  • "It will be nice to also receive an invitation to
    do my federal taxes."
  • "ReadyReturn was GREAT It was incredibly
    convenient and was faster than other programs.
    Thank you for including me in your pilot program"
  • "pin number was a little confusing"
  • "I would like to do this again for the future tax
  • "Thank you This was great"

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "The question mark symbols linked to "page not
    found" messages that should be fixed Also, it
    was really hard to tell if my browser was secure
    enough. More detailed information there is
    definitely needed, more browsers should be
    included, and the links to download "super
    secure" software should lead to the actual
    product, not to the general website of the
    browser I had no idea where to go from where you
    guys sent me. These two issues were a big
    problem, but otherwise the system worked really
    well and I appreciated being able to file this
  • "this was great, thanks for selecting me"
  • "I had the preprinted form, so no need to print
    even though asked to do so and it was confusing
    to figure out how to close the page to get back
    to Sign and Submit, please add a Close or Back
    button, hitting the X at upper right is scary.
    E-file is fine now that telefile is not
  • "Please continue with this pilot program. Its
    very helpful in saving me time and energy...both
    are valuable to me."
  • "Excellent idea. Solid-looking implementation. Im
    glad to see compatibility with non-internet
    explorer web browsers."
  • "Great idea, big time saver. Takes the guess work
    out. I would be concerned that people would miss
    out on deductions using this method without
    exploring other options."
  • "Thank you letting me fill on e-mail i will love
    to do this way every year it was helpful and less
  • "Great System"
  • "Thank you for this easy to use method of
    preparing and filing my State tax return"
  • "The only thing remotely confusing was the PIN
    number but when I clicked on the help question
    mark button I got the info I needed to submit the
  • "Why was telefile discarded"
  • "This was really great When I received the notice
    of the pilot in the mail I was excited becuase I
    was dreading filing my State taxes since I had
    not received a notice to file them by Telefile.
    This was painless and would love for this process
    to continue"
  • "Contrary to your mailing about a month ago, I
    still needed to call in for CSNs for my wife and
    I. Also, it would help if you gave examples
    concerning creating the PINs for the electronic
    signatures. Also, the request for explanation
    boxes did NOT work. This is not good Otherwise,
    the experience was a good one without major
    problems. Thank you."
  • "I think that this is a wonderful service. The
    only thing that would make it better is if people
    are able to make changes to their tax return and
    be able to submit them online, without sending it
    through the mail. It would be good for people who
    have other incomes. Thank you CA."

Direct Quotes from the ReadyReturn Pilot
  • "Thanks for the invitation This method of
    e-filing was absolutely painless and so fast It
    took me less than ten minutes - but I put 10
    minutes in the response box because I was
    interrupted by a phone call. Thanks and tell my
    dear "Governator" thanks too"
  • "It would be nice to feed Federal Return data
    from commercial software into the California
  • "what was my PIN, at the end it wanted my PIN a 5
    digit number, I only have a 4 digit access code,
    so I made up a number and it acepted it. Is this
    what you are suposed to do Do I need to remember
    my PIN"
  • "Good job. Thanks for your efforts."
  • "This was so easy I wish the federal returns were
    this simple...."
  • "Provide easy access to online information
    regarding tax benefits, credits, incentives, and
    other money-saving options when using ReadyReturn
    to file taxes."
  • "I wish I could of had the invention for the
    pilot sooner than spending money on an outside
  • "I would love to use this service again now that
    telefile is gone."
  • "Now you dont have to sweat in out over your
    paperwork Thanks tons"
  • "I had a change to make and wouldve preferred
    entering the change in the pre-prepared form and
    theh have it compute the rest or prompt for extra
    into pertaining to that one change. Instead I had
    to wade through all the pages for the whole
  • "This is the greatest ever in my experience.The
    federal filing should be done the same way.Thank
    you. Best Regards"
  • "ReadyReturn was fast and easy--thanks"
  • "help button didnt work on direct deposit, so I
    had not forgo that option. wasnt sure what my
    routing number was. otherwise very convienent.
  • "The enter pin number and submit button were
    problems. I had to keep entering the number and
    had viewed the form 3-4 times before I was able
    to complete the submit portion."
  • "When it came to the PIN instructions, it was not
    clear that I was to make up my own number. I
    tried the help icon and it wasnt working."
  • "While this was a fairly handy function, I
    believe it would be even easier if the person
    needing changes could work with a directly
    interactive tax form. For example All I needed
    to do was add interest that I received for the
    year. For me, it would have been much simpler to
    type in the interest on the PDF review for