NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 4, 2007

At 67,204 pages, the tax code is impossibly complex and illustrates the utter contempt Congress has for filers, says USA Today.


  • This year, individuals and companies will spend about $300 billion on tax preparation costs, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation.
  • To put that in perspective, that is a 20 percent levy on top of the $1.5 trillion they will actually pay in taxes.
  • Some 60 percent of filers -- including IRS Commissioner Mark Everson -- will pay a professional to do their taxes for them.

If Congress and President Bush really cared about the plight of families -- as well as the competitiveness of American companies -- they would bring sanity to a tax code that grows more complex every year, says USA Today:

  • They would scale back the alternative minimum tax, an abomination that adds not only complexity but also uncertainty because Congress tinkers with it each year.
  • They would eliminate many of the breaks inserted into tax bills in recent years and put a halt to future ones.

Something similar happened in 1986 when a bipartisan group of lawmakers took it on themselves to clean up a badly broken tax code.  But since then, the code has grown into a 67,204-page tangle of giveaways and attempts at social engineering.  Given the more self-interested and venal form of politics practiced today, a public uprising may be needed to untangle it, says USA Today.

Source: Editorial, "67,204-page code confounds taxpayers, yet Congress sits by," USA Today, April 4, 2007.


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