For 2011 returns, the IRS has taken a portion of what once appeared in an existing form called 1065 (which Franktuary must file) and made it a new sub-form called 1125-A.  The content of form 1125-A appears to be identical to what used to be a part of form 1065.  Furthermore, the accompanying instructions make a point of telling its readers that:

“The time needed to complete and file this form will vary depending on individual circumstances. The estimated average time is: Recordkeeping . . . 4 hrs., 18 mins.  Learning about the law or the form . . . 1 hr., 33 mins.  Preparing and sending the form to the IRS . . . . . 2 hrs., 53 mins.  If you have comments concerning the  accuracy of these time estimates or suggestions for making this form simpler, we would be happy to hear from you. See the instructions for the tax return with which this form is filed.”

Apparently I should expect that it will take me a total of 8 hours and 44 minutes to do everything necessary to properly file form 1125-A.  How many government resources went into making this estimate, anyway?  If the IRS is going to make a to-the-minute prediction, why is it prefacing its prediction with a disclaimer about how individual completion time will vary?  Is it company policy to include meaningless instructions with every useless form created?  Is this a joke?  Here’s a suggestion for making form 1125-A simpler: eliminate it.

Also, this year the city of Pittsburgh has declared that it “will no longer accept computer printouts of W-2 information.”  However, if you are an employer who needs to report W-2 information, the city will gladly accept an ASCII text file on CD-ROM or a floppy diskette.  Maybe next year the city will further modernize and begin accepting W-2s via laser disc, punch card, and the 5.5 inch floppy disk.  Sometime around 2065 I expect email submission to be rolled out.

Oh.  I forgot.  If you have fewer than 250 employees you can find original hard copies of form W-2 and fill them out by hand.  Nothing tells you the city you live in values your time like being made to copy information from a computer printout your online payroll service has generated, just so you can comply with an arcane and archaic set of requirements that make absolutely no sense.

To review:

1) The year is 2012 and the city of Pittsburgh will accept form W-2 in all of the following formats except:
A) CD-ROM
B) Burst and collated hard copy (less than 250 employees)
C) 3.5 inch floppy diskette
D) Internet submission or computer printout

2) When the process of filing form 1125-A is considered as a whole, the IRS fails to include which of the following steps in its estimation of how long it will take:
A) Recordkeeping
B) Learning about the law or the form
C) Entering a prolonged state of trance-like astonishment while attempting to grasp IRS logic
D) Preparing and sending the form to the IRS

While I’m not sure what any specific individual’s “fair-share” is, I am certain that if you measure it in terms of wasted time, aggravation, and money spent on third-party tax preparers, the powers that be owe the American people a huge refund.