H.R. 1040, Freedom Flat Tax Act
Sponsor: U.S. Representative Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26)
Introduced: Wednesday, February 13, 2007
Cosponsors: Reps. Thelma Drake (R-VA), Sue Myrick (R-NC)
Status: Referred to House Committee on Ways and Means
Why it is needed:
· Each year, Americans spend 6.5 billion hours preparing their tax forms and businesses spend 800 million hours complying with the tax code.
· The cost of compliance for federal taxpayers - filling out tax returns and related chores - was $265 billion in 2005.
· The average taxpayer pays $1,839 per household in compliance costs. In other words, that taxpayer must work 6 days per year just to pay for the cost of preparing his or her taxes for that year.
· 2/3 of Americans think the income tax system is too complex. We need a simpler system for all Americans to understand. Taxpayer phone calls to the IRS help line doubled during 1990s from 56 million to 111 million, even though the number of tax papers only grew by 12 %.
· In 2006, the federal tax rules are almost 66,500 pages in length, which is nearly triple the number of pages since the 1970s, including the full tax code, IRS rules and regulations, and tax court rulings.
· There are 582 different tax forms published by the IRS, which is up from 402 in the 1990s.
· In 1998, 46 tax experts surveyed came up with 46 different answers when determining tax liability. The tax calculations ranged from $34,240 to $68,912.
THE FLAT TAX
It is SIMPLER – the flat tax will save taxpayers time and money
o A flat tax could save taxpayers more than $100 billion per year and reduce tax compliance costs by over 90 percent
It is FAIRER – The flat tax will treat everyone the same
o Taxpayers who earn the same income will pay the same taxes regardless of income, occupation, or marital status
It is PRO-GROWTH – the flat tax will stimulate economic growth
o The flat tax repeals the current tax code’s bias against savings and investment.
o When saving is no longer penalized, people will save and invest more.
What H.R. 1040 does:
There are two components to the flat tax - the individual wage tax and the business tax. Under H.R. 1040, both the business and individual tax rate is 19 percent, but it will decline to 17 percent after the initial two years of participating.
Individual Tax - The individual tax base will consist of wages and pensions, and there will be no deductions but will allow for the following personal exemptions:
- $25,580 for a married couple filing jointly;
- $16,330 for a single head of household;
- $12,790 for a single person; and,
- $5,510 for each dependent.
For example: A family of four would not be subject to the flat tax until their combined income reached $36,600, which is 190% above the 2004 federal poverty level of $19,307.
Business Tax - The business tax base will consist of the total costs of taxed inputs subtracted from total sales; only employee wages and pensions will be tax deductible.
Additionally, the flat tax will:
Eliminate the marriage penalty
Repeal the death tax
Abolish the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
Eliminate capital gains taxes
Allow immediate expensing for business capital equipment