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Privatized Taxation

Choose your own IRD/IRS plan.
  [vote for,

Have you ever tried to call the IRS/IRD, and spent hours working through a painful IVR menu? Have you ever received poor or unfriendly service from your tax agent? Have you ever wished you could deal with somebody else regarding your tax issues? Wouldn't it be great if different companies competed for the privilege of collecting your tax dollar?

Here's an idea. The government licences alternate agencies to collect taxation from you. Say the current tax rate is 30%, but cost of running the IRS consumes 5%. So, the government requires their licensed agents to return 25%.

One agency might offer a very basic service, where you pay 27% tax. An alternate agency might offer personalized service, with 24x7 operator access, but you pay 28% instead. An operator may offer a discount if you set up an automatic payment scheme and pay as you go.

Agencies would naturally be audited, and infringements would result in loss of licence. But in theory, the result is better service, lower taxes, and more choice for the consumer.

the_jxc, Oct 06 2003

A Brief history of the British East India Company. http://www.opendemo...rticle-7-29-904.jsp
A lesson in power politics. He who collects the taxes controls the country. [DrBob, Oct 17 2004]


       A government agency of some kind. Of course, they could sub-contract that work, in the spirit of privatization.
the_jxc, Oct 06 2003

       Yes - as soon as I read this, I thought : that's what tax accountants are for.
Detly, Oct 06 2003

       Baked. In the 18th Century the Nawabs and Nabobs of Mughal India made the mistake of hiring the British East India Company to collect their taxes for them.
DrBob, Oct 07 2003

       In the end the result is higher taxes, as the companies werstle for the ability to levy taxes themselves, starting with them lobbying for increased taxes to pay for their services.
grahamhgreen, Oct 07 2003

       I got the impression that the intent of the idea was that people might pay a little more for a more convenient service. So, it wouldn't matter whether you replace it at the bureau level or the filling-out-of-forms level (as far as a consumer is concerned).
Detly, Oct 07 2003

       //In the 18th Century the Nawabs and Nabobs of Mughal India made the mistake of hiring the British East India Company to collect their taxes for them.//   

       Leading to the starvation deaths of millions. The British Empire's finest hour.
Zanzibar, Oct 07 2003

       This is how Evil was born!
grahamhgreen, Oct 08 2003

       Yes. It even seems that increasingly fewer people can make the distinction between “standard of living” and “quality of life”, apparently thinking the two are synonymous.   

       The idea of outsourcing the collection of taxes was widely baked in the Roman Empire, with tax collection rights for a certain geographic region given to the highest bidder. [the_jxc]’s idea differs, in that the tax rate is constant and multiple collection agencies operate in competition to each other.   

       This seems workable, but raises the question of “who watches the watchers”, which in turn is solvable only by additional layers of bureaucracy, which in turn eliminates the benefits of having privatized the system in the first place.
Laughs Last, Oct 08 2003

       [C Trebor] Yes. Have people lost all sense of science, critical thinking and democracy? The Murdoch owned press say no, but the Fairfax owned press say yes, so I don't know what to think.
Detly, Oct 08 2003

       This would be great as long as I could form a corporation to collect MY OWN taxes!   

       PS - who would collect the taxes from the private tax collectors?
grahamhgreen, Oct 09 2003

       Tax farming, which is what you're proposing, has been around in one form or another since the dawn of time, or at least since people started writing things down. It tends to be rife with abuse, corruption, and unintended transfers of power.
DrCurry, Oct 09 2003


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