Last year US government agencies collected a whopping $3.37 trillion in revenue. That's roughly $90 billion a day that the public pays into government coffers. In an attempt to bring this massive operation into the 21st century, the Treasury announced today that it will begin accepting some of those fees through PayPal and Dwolla.
Less paperwork, more cheddar
The Treasury is starting small, with a pilot program on Pay.gov, a secure web portal which handles about $110 billion in collections each year. Still, the effort signals a willingness to experiment with new technologies that could save taxpayers money. "[The] objective is to provide a suite of electronic payment options to achieve the long term goal of moving to electronic transactions from less efficient paper-based transactions using services available in the private sector when possible," the Treasury said in a statement sure to warm the hearts of small government libertarians everywhere.
Dwolla, a payment startup based in Iowa, has had success winning over big banks with its disruptive approach to the old mechanisms of transferring money. It's also one of several contracts to power tax collections at the state level. PayPal, a dot-com darling, has found renewed strength of late, and is set to spin out of eBay and become a stand-alone company later this year. Both have created units devoted to seeking government business, and are now tapped into one of the biggest revenue streams in the world.