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The Tax Code has grown from 400 pages to 67,506 pages since 1913—a nearly 17,000% increase The cost of compliance for federal taxpayers—filing out returns and related chores—was $265 billion in 2005.—A one page return will simplify this.
Every American should bear the burden of taxation equally and at the lowest rate possible. Every American should be able to do their own taxes without the help of a professional. We all should be confident that people who earn the same income, pay the same taxes. All of these things can be accomplished by offering an optional one page tax return that is simple and fast to fill out.
Optional Single Page Tax Return
According to the Tax Foundation, 83% of Americans think current federal income tax is complex. American Solutions states that 82% of Americans think the option of a single rate system would give taxpayers the convenience of filing their taxes with just a single sheet of paper.—A one page return will do away with this!
An optional one page tax return also eliminates the marriage penalty, repeals the death tax, abolishes the AMT, eliminates capital gain taxes, and allows for immediate expensing for business capital equipment.
Something We Can All Agree On: Our Tax System Needs Help
Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26)
Aggies or Longhorns. Yankees or Red Sox. Regular or Decaf. Republicans or Democrats. Americans don’t always see eye to eye. One thing the large majority of us do agree on – hands down – is that our federal tax system needs serious help. According to a 2007 Tax Foundation Study, 78 percent of Americans think the tax system needs major changes.
Everyone knows the problem. Each year Americans waste billions of hours and billions of dollars complying with the complex tax code. In fact in 2005, the average taxpayer paid $1,839 per household in compliance costs. That means a taxpayer must work 6 days per year just to pay for the cost of preparing his or her taxes for that year.
Time is precious, and we never have enough for raising our families. Time also is money, and valuable resources are lost that could be spent on productive activities such as growing the economy and creating jobs.
While we all complain about paying taxes and navigating the complex code, the fact is that if the system was fair and simple, it would be a lot easier to swallow. Americans don’t mind paying for roads, a strong defense, or healthcare for your grandmother. It’s the fact that the Jones family, which makes the exact same amount as the Smith family next door, may be forced to pay a higher share of the tax burden. The Declaration of Independence states that “that all men are created equal.” This principle should apply to the tax burden.
Numerous changes could be made within our existing system to improve it in the short-term. Full expensing of business capital investment, permanently repealing the estate tax, and abolishing the alternative minimum tax are a few possibilities.
However, fundamental tax reform would pay even larger dividends. Just think of the jobs economic growth which resulted when President Ronald Reagan cut the code in half back in 1986. Let’s apply some of this common sense streamlining to today’s unruly code.
Simplicity and fairness demand that we replace our current tax system with a single rate system that taxes income only one time. Even the National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olsen, recommended lawmakers “simplify the Tax Code” as one of her recommendations in the 2007 Annual Report to Congress.
A faster, flatter, fairer tax structure would work, and it's pretty simple. Tax returns could be done on a single page, perhaps even on a postcard. It could be accomplished in just a few steps. Multiply your income by a fixed percentage, subtract a standard deduction, and the process is over. Gone will be the stressful hours spent figuring out whether your military service or marital status will adversely affect your return. No more headaches trying to determine where estimated tax payments go. Tax prep fees might be money spent on something more rewarding.
A single tax rate structure would eliminate taxes on capital gains, taxes on dividends, and taxes on savings. Businesses would expand and create jobs. Personal savings would increase. Without the heavy corporate income tax, which is currently the second highest in the industrialized world, companies would have less incentive to move their headquarters out of the United States, and more importantly, less incentive to offshore their earnings.
Recent polling by American Solutions shows that over 80 percent of Americans favor an optional one-page tax return with one rate. After all, who could complain about making something easier, especially a process that comes at such high cost?
Now, we may not all agree on whether the tax rate should be a precise flat tax at say, 17% with no deductions. We may prefer a system with two or three rates with deductions for mortgages and charitable contributions. Regardless, the fact is that we all agree to the following principle: Each American should bear the burden of taxation equally and at the lowest rate possible. We think everyone should be able to do their own taxes without the help of a professional and should be confident that people who earn the same income, pay the same taxes.
Americans agree: the tax code is unfair and should go. Let’s take the cue and translate this agreement into real change. After all, fundamental tax reform is a worthwhile goal, and this Congress should pursue it.
THE TAX CODE IS COMPLICATED:
Tax code has grown from 400 pages to 67,506 since 1913—a nearly 17,000% increase.
Each year, Americans spend 6.5 billion hours preparing tax forms.
Businesses spend 800 million hours complying with the tax code.
Cost of compliance for federal taxpayers—filing out returns and related chores—was $265 billion in 2005.
Study surveying 46 tax experts found that when each expert filled out tax forms, he or she came up with 46 different answers when determining tax liability. The tax calculations ranged from $34,240 to $68,912.
NUMBERS CONFIRM AMERICANS WANT CHANGE IN THE CODE:
83% of Americans think current federal income tax is complex (Tax Foundation, 2007).
69% of Americans think the federal income tax system is unfair (American Solutions, 2007).
78% of Americans think the tax system needs major changes (Tax Foundation, 2007).
82% of Americans think the option of a single rate system would give taxpayers the convenience of filing their taxes with just a single sheet of paper (American Solutions, 2007).