Trump Administration's New Postcard-Sized Tax Returns Are Coming — And They're Just as Ridiculous as They Sound

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Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force illustration by Senior Airman Michael Means/Released

The New York Times has obtained copies of the Trump administration’s new tax forms that are supposed to fulfill the promise that people will be able to complete their returns on a postcard — and the result is nothing short of ridiculous.

As reporter Jim Tankersley points out, the GOP tax cuts passed in December 2017 didn’t actually make the tax code simpler — there are just as many deductions, loopholes, and exceptions as ever. The idea of filing your taxes on a postcard is just as much a gimmick as was the claim that the law was a boon for the middle class.

To reduce the size of the ubiquitous 1040 form, the IRS has simply removed many fields used for the most common tax deductions, such as student loan payments. This means if you want to claim your deductions, you have to look them up in separate tables — on other sheets.

In other words, the so-called “postcard” is nothing of the sort. It’s just one of many forms and worksheets that people will use to complete their taxes. (And you definitely will still need to mail it in an envelope for privacy reasons.)

Since the new tax code encourages many people not to take itemized deductions and to take the standard deduction, some may find they have to do less work under the new tax law when filing their returns. But for those who are unsure whether to itemize their deductions or not, the process could end up being more complicated than it would have been on the old form, Tankersley says.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), among others, has proposed an idea that would actually make your taxes simple. The IRS could simply fill out your tax forms for you, send them to you for any revisions and approval, and then have you send them back. This is a much better idea than the silly postcard.

But Republicans hate this idea because it actually makes taxes too easy. The GOP wants taxes to be a nuisance in order to drive support for their tax-cutting agenda. It’s important to remember that this is why filing your taxes is such a pain — and the new “postcard” isn’t going to make it better.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.

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