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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Time to move the 1040 pie charts to the web

The first pie charts included in the 1991 Form 1040 instruction booklets.  Click here for a larger format.
In 1990, Congress decided it would be good to get more budget information in the hands of taxpayers. In 1990, a great avenue for accomplishing this was to include the information in the 1040 instruction booklets that were mailed to all individual taxpayers. Perhaps they would find these pie charts - one showing sources of federal revenues and the other uses of federal dollars.

Well, these pie charts are still in the 1040 booklets, but they are no longer mailed to taxpayers. While there are available online, they are likely looked at by very few individuals given that the vast majority of filers use a paid preparer or software.  Even if someone does use the online instruction booklet, they are not flipping pages, they are likely using a "find" feature of their browser to find the information they need.

I think it is time to modernize Code Section 7523 that calls for putting the information in the instruction booklets.  I have a short article on this in the 11/8/12 AICPA Tax Insider - with copies of the pie charts from the first one published in 1990 to the one for 2010 data. And, additional information should be added, such as on the national debt level.

What do you think?

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