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April 12 2010

The Onerous Compliance Cost of the Federal Tax Code

Nicole Kurokawa Neily

In honor (dishonor?) of April 15, our friends at the Center for Freedom and Prosperity have released a sobering new video looking at the burden that the tax code imposes on the American people. Countless think tanks have looked at the direct budgetary, and economic effects of our complex tax system. What makes this new video interesting is that it looks at the hidden costs that society pays as a result of our labyrinthe tax code – as the narrator notes, “the time, energy, money, and other resources that we devote to simply trying to figure out the right number to put on our tax returns.”

Let’s put these numbers in perspective. The Tax Foundation estimates that federal income compliance costs will total $338 billion this year (more than $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country!), while the IRS estimates that U.S. taxpayers and businesses spend 7.6 billion hours a year complying with filing requirements. Think of how much more prosperous our nation would be if businesses could have kept their money (and that time), instead using it to make their products better, or to hire more people, or purchase needed equipment. Or how much better off families would be if they could spend time together, rather than with accountants and lawyers.

Discouraging, yes – but what’s the solution? Substituting our current system with a simple, low-rate flat tax would be easy and understandable for consumers, cut down on compliance costs… and remove many of the targeted tax breaks that politicians use to buy favors. In addition, by broadening the tax base (don’t forget, 47% of Americans aren’t even paying federal income taxes this year), those who do pay will be able to pay lower rates – freeing up money to go back into the economy, rather than government coffers. 

Check out the full video here

 
Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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