What are the Different Types of Online Tax Assessment?

Staci A. Terry
Staci A. Terry
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Woman posing

Online tax assessment may relate to either property or income taxes. In either case, tax assessment involves the calculation of taxes due to the appropriate government entity. Various jurisdictions use different methods of tax assessment for property tax and income tax purposes. Online tax assessment has grown in popularity due to the use of personal computers, tax assessment software, and self-help programs. In many jurisdictions, taxpayers can calculate or assess their outstanding taxes online, which may eliminate the use of professional assessors or tax preparers for some people.

Assessors traditionally are government employees who determine the amount of property taxes that a landowner owes to the designated government body. An assessor may work at the local, municipal, state, or national level to issue tax statements and collect taxes from citizens, depending on the jurisdiction. Increasingly, the role of the assessor has become less crucial because online tools are available to a landowner to calculate his property tax liabilities on his own. For instance, a citizen may be able to access all relevant factors regarding his property value, any property tax reassessments, and tax bills online. He may even be able to pay his property tax liability online, depending on the jurisdiction.

Many government entities assess taxes based on the annual income of a person living or working within a particular jurisdiction. In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assesses federal income taxes, and a state government agency assesses state income taxes. The Canada Revenue Agency assesses income taxes in Canada. In Australia, the Australia Taxation Office is in charge of income tax assessment. Whatever the title of the government agency may be, citizens of many jurisdictions may be subject to income taxes and may wish to utilize online resources in order to facilitate the income tax calculation process.

Citizens in any jurisdiction may use tax preparers, accountants, or other professionals in order to calculate their income tax liability. The advent of online tax assessment and tax calculation software, however, has revolutionized the world of income tax assessment. Taxpayers increasingly have taken over what formerly was a task left to professionals by preparing and calculating their own tax liability. Governments worldwide have responded to this trend by providing taxpayers with all necessary forms, instructions, and information online to allow them to calculate their income tax liabilities independently of any professional. Software companies also have produced online tax assessment software that is specific to the jurisdictions in which the taxpayer owes income taxes.

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