Phoenix, AZ-If you are an Arizona taxpayer and have a professional prepare your taxes, beware. In an effort to save you five dollars, the accountant may have signed you up to support the state's Clean Elections scheme. Goldwater Institute scholar Robert Franciosi warns Arizona taxpayers that some tax preparation services automatically check the little box on the state's form 140, thereby volunteering the taxpayer to provide a tax-credited contribution to the Clean Elections fund. Taxpayers who do not look carefully at their returns may end up supporting candidates with whom they disagree.
"The tax preparers are only trying to save their customers money," says Franciosi, "which is a good thing. But when they do, taxpayers end up supporting a terrible system of welfare for politicians by diverting money from other state needs. For every five dollars deducted, another five dollars is taken from the General Fund and given to the Clean Elections Fund. If you are against Clean Elections on principle, or even if you think tax money should be spent on roads and schools, you should make sure that your tax preparer isn't automatically enlisting you in a bad cause."
A Goldwater Institute staffer discovered the problem in the course of a discussion with a brand-name tax preparation firm. The accountant reportedly could not understand why anyone would turn down the chance to get five dollars off his or her income taxes.