Focus Point - Paying TaxesCommentary by Pete du Pont
April 17, 2000
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Ahh, tax day! Our government makes paying taxes so complicated more than half of us simply give up and pay someone else to figure them out.
The tax code's so complicated that figuring out a return isn't science. It's barely art. It's more like entrail reading.
Recently USA Today pointed out the futility of trying to figure out just one tax credit. Since 1993, Clinton and the Congress have negotiated eight credits and deductions regarding college costs. But the paper's researchers found that trying to claim the credits is so complex that two of them are usually ignored by the very people who qualify for them. The $500 child tax credit has twenty income levels. Filers with a child have to submit the 1040a forms with 65 pages of instructions, rather than the 1040ez with "only" 32 pages. Is this a great country or what?
As long as we're stuck with the current system, it will never get better. We need a Flat Tax now, because the tax we have is no longer understandable by earthlings.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, gas price follies.