A study by four American economists shows that between 41 and 48 percent of American citizens, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has all the data it needs to calculate their taxes, send taxpayers a filled-out return, and have them sign and return it if all looks in order. Countries like Denmark, Belgium, Estonia, Chile, and Spain already offer such "pre-populated returns" to their citizens. Such returns could benefit people who are not required to file an income tax return, usually because they earn too little money. But filing a return could help such people because of benefits they could be receiving. In fact, two-thirds of those who are eligible for the earned income benefit did not receive it because they did not file a tax return. The bundling of social assistance programs with a complex tax code places significant burdens on less-wealthy Americans trying to access those programs.

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