NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

TAX CODE CONFOUNDS TAXPAYERS

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.

Consider:

  • 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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