The IRS estimates that the average taxpayer who itemizes will spend 22 hours this year completing tax returns. That’s 3 hours more work than last year. The increase is due to the 1,260 changes Congress pushed into the tax code in the past two years.
Mention the IRS and most congressmen will boast about the show hearings they held, finally, on Gestapo-like abuses by IRS agents. These hearings were great for TV sound-bites, but what about the pain and suffering we all go through with these confusing tax forms. Especially when the rules keep changing every year.
Now I’m not one to defend the IRS, but they just enforce the tax code, they don’t write it. Congress does that. Remember anyone for Congress ever campaigning on a platform of making the tax code even longer and more complicated? No, candidate after candidate calls for a simpler tax code, but Congress still votes for a more complex one. What’s going on here?
Simple, big tax loopholes are easier to hide in a complex code. Mention changing the tax code and all the lobbyists in Washington open up their fat checkbooks to make campaign contributions. That’s why the tax code is the best fundraising device Congress ever designed. No wonder Congress passed 1,260 changes costing you 3 more hours of precious sleep.
Most congressmen don’t start out putting their career and re-election fundraising ahead of the public interest, but the longer they’re in Washington, well . . . When you and I are up half the night filling out our taxes, let’s remember it’s the career politicians in Congress who need to wake up and smell the coffee.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.