The U.S. Internal Revenue Service made a strange announcement early this week: Fees for taxes due in April 2019 will be canceled if payment is received by the start of next year. As of this writing, the tax refund check has yet to come in – but according to the IRS, most people will start getting that money by this time next year. It’s easy to see why: it looks like someone forgot to ask taxpayers how much it would cost to file their taxes.
The tax exemption to file the tax return in a tax year that falls during an earlier year is about $3,000. The cost of filing tax returns (roughly 8 hours for an individual without kids or disabled spouse) is generally zero. This doesn’t mean that the cost of filing doesn’t vary, depending on your income and/or marital status. But you can easily come up with enough to pay a guy to file your tax return.
This isn’t a complete list of fees: some states have their own, and some companies don’t charge.
The cost is just going to get bigger as the amount we pay increases. The cost of filling out a 1040 for people earning less than $30,000 will increase from $27.53 to $32.82 next year. For people making more than $117,000, the cost will increase from $52.48 to $60.38. There are many other increases, including the elimination of a personal exemption, the expiration of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the bump up in social security contributions.
For these reasons, it’s only going to get harder for most taxpayers to file their taxes on time, at a low price.