NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 23, 2004

Even though federal tax rates rise and fall from year to year, the tax code itself has become more and more complicated since the 1970s, says a new study by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

Tax code compliance now takes more paperwork, time, and money than ever:

  • The average American spends 28 and a half hours filling out the 1040 "long" form with the three common Schedules A, B, and D.
  • The standard 1040 form has 131 pages of instructions, more than triple the number in 1975.
  • The overall paperwork burden associated with the Internal Revenue Service is about 6.7 billion hours per year.

Tax code complexity will worsen in the near future, because millions of Americans will become subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for the first time. By 2010, more than 30 million taxpayers may be forced to prepare a second tax return for the AMT.

Source: "Tax Maze Worsens, NTUF Finds," Capital Ideas, National Taxpayers Union Foundation, May/June 2004.


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