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April 15th, 2010 12:48 pm
The Case for Simplifying the Tax Code
Posted by Print

It’s April 15th – the date that millions of Americans who waited till the last possible day to file their tax forms with the IRS can wait no longer to feed the insatiable appetite of federal (and state) tax coffers.  If you are like most of us, you try to struggle through the filing yourself — coffee and documentation at the ready — ultimately giving up and hiring an accountant, a tax-filing firm or downloading an online program.  In any event, it is an annual chore.  A monumental pain.  And an expensive one, at that — especially if you get it wrong and end up owing penalties.  Well, guess what, fellow tax-payers?  You are not alone!

The Hill newspaper reports that “few members of Congress prepare their annual tax returns, instead relying on professional preparers…”  The article details how even Ways and Means Committee members — the very ones responsible for writing the tax code — need professional help to file their annual taxes. Of the 28 respondents, only one — Got that? One — Member of Congress said he did his returns by himself (and he was an accountant for 12 years).

During an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program back in January, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman announced that he doesn’t prepare his own tax returns either.  Why?  Because, at least in part, he finds the tax code to be “too complex” to prepare them himself.

If that is not a case for tax reform, we defy you to find a better one.

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