If Disneyland ran the IRS…

Today is April 15, Tax Day, the deadline to file federal income tax returns (or request an extension) in the United States. This year, Tax Freedom Day, the day on which most of us have earned enough income to pay our federal, state, and local taxes, is on April 21 (according to the Tax Foundation). In 6 days, we start working for ourselves!

Last month, I visited Disneyland and was impressed by their impressive locations and productions, efficient operations, and attention to detail. I started to wonder: how would things change if Disneyland were in charge of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Would Disneyland be able to simplify tax forms and streamline the tax code? Could Disneyland change our whole experience of paying taxes?

Imagine if Disneyland were in charge of the IRS…

Disney's IRS

* Tax return forms and instructions would be available on a planning DVD with step-by-step videos, hosted by your favorite Disney characters; with a personalized checklist of important forms, deadlines, and tax rates.

* Tax returns would be short, easy to fill out, and linked to your photo ID to prevent fraud. Forms and instructions would be limited to two pages and written so that a sixth grader could understand them.

* Tax rates would be set at CHILD, ADULT, and ORGANIZATION. There would be only three tax credits: a cost of living/cost of doing business credit (the standard deduction), a hardship credit (for the disabled, seniors, and veterans), and a calamity credit (for natural disasters, catastrophic medical suffering, and the terminally ill).

* E-filing would be simple, fast, and secure, with links to upload attachments and receipts. There would be two optional fee-based services: “Front of the Line Refunds” to help you get your money faster and “Back of the Line Payments” to help you keep your money longer. A smiling Mickey Mouse would let you know how to pay your taxes online or when your refund will be deposited in your bank account.

* IRS agents would be cheerful, helpful, and efficient, and sing encouraging songs. A “FastPass” reservation would let you schedule a meeting with an IRS agent – in person, on the phone, or via chat – who could answer your questions correctly, the first time. There would be no penalties if you receive inaccurate information from an IRS agent.

* IRS buildings would be clean and well-lit, with a People Mover to take you on a tour of the building and direct you to the right conference room. There would be copy machines, paper shredders, and video game break rooms on every floor (you could play “AstroTax Blasters” to relieve stress!).

* The IRS would improve its image and generate enough revenue to fund its operations by opening a theme park, with attractions like Star Savings Tours, Big Taxation Mountain Railroad, and Retirement Springs Racers. For kids, there would be a Money Treehouse and a Jedi Entrepreneurs Training Academy.

What is your opinion of the IRS? What changes would you make if you were the IRS Commissioner?

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