published Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Reforming the complex tax code would do more good than offering extensions

It's a relief to some residents of Hamilton, Bradley, McMinn, Polk, Cumberland and Monroe counties in Tennessee that they have nearly six weeks extra to file their income taxes because of tornadoes that caused damage and disruption in the region this month. The extension also applies to people who only work in the counties or who were visiting at the time of the storms.

But Congress could make tax season easier for far more Americans simply through tax reform. A big part of the reason people seek extensions even when no disaster has blown away their receipts or destroyed the computers where they keep tax information is that the tax code is absurdly complex. It runs thousands of pages long, and tax preparation and compliance costs come to hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

We wouldn't need extensions or costly tax-prep services if we had a simplified flat-tax system, which would let taxpayers figure what they owe on a single sheet of paper.

It's a shame that isn't in prospect.

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LibDem said...

The one sheet tax return, conservative fantasy.

March 22, 2012 at 9:03 a.m.
conservative said...

We have flat rate taxes already in place such as the sales tax and the property tax which are fair, simple and work well.

March 22, 2012 at 11:21 a.m.
LibDem said...

You're right, conservative, except when we are arguing about internet sales and property valuations. I think the editor is writing about 'income' tax. We all know what 'income' is, but few of us have quite the same definition.

March 22, 2012 at 2:16 p.m.
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