Form 1040 Hours

Physician's Money Digest, July31 2004, Volume 11, Issue 14

If you were paid by the hour to fill out your federal income tax return, howmuch would you make? First, take your hourly rate and then multiply it by 28.5hours. That's how long the federal government estimates it took the averageUS taxpayer to wade through the paperwork on form 1040 this year. That's upfrom the 17.1 hours it took back in 1988, when the government first startedtracking this data. Even the simple one isn't that easy; the government estimatesthat taxpayers who filed 1040EZ took 3.75 hours to complete it. The total costto Americans in time and accounting fees is $100 billion a year. Among thebiggest beneficiaries are professional tax preparers like H&R Block and JacksonHewitt. Because of the complexity of the tax code, well over half of all taxpayersnow turn to a tax professional for help.