Did you do your own taxes this year or did you hire an accountant?
If you wanted to calculate your own taxes this year, could you? If not, don't feel so bad. Nearly 56 percent of Americans had to hire a tax professional to do their taxes. In fact, we spent an estimated $86 billion to have someone else figure out exactly what the government wants from us.
Taxes and the tax season that never ends have become absurd.
At one time - long, long ago - our tax system actually made some sense. Once a year (April 15) you pay a certain specified amount to the government for the benefit of having a national defense and a few other services. Somehow this simple system became twisted and bent, abused and perverted. Consider the following:
If you include footnotes and instructions, our tax code currently runs over 50,000 pages.
In 2002, individuals, businesses and non-profits spent an estimated 5.8 billion hours complying with the federal income tax code with an estimated compliance cost of over $194 billion.
The average family today pays more in taxes than it spends on food, clothing, shelter and transportation combined.
Sound like a prescription for reform to you? It is incredible that we have allowed our tax code to wrap itself so maliciously into our daily lives. Instead of once a year, people now must consider the effect of taxes on every-day decisions. Want to have a child? What are the tax implications and do you qualify for any credits? Want to get married - can't afford the increased tax burden? Want to die? That is a real taxable event too.
There is no way to "fix" the system - no amount of cosmetic surgery will make our tax code a fair and honest system that allows citizens to judge whether the government is taking a proper amount of their earnings and livelihood.
The only answer is to eliminate the entire system and start over from scratch. The tax code should be fair, low and honest - our current tax system is none of those.
There are plenty of alternative solutions to our current tax code out there. Some potential remedies include a flat tax, a sales tax and a value-added tax, just to name a few. But for now the important thing is that we understand that the great social experiment known as the income tax has failed. Our tax code has failed.
We need to enlist an army of citizens to demand change. Citizens for a Sound Economy is providing a toll-free hotline so that you can tell Congress to "Scrap the Tax Code." Call 1-888-564-6273 and you will be transferred to the office of your representative in Congress.
We need a grassroots groundswell for fundamental tax reform. That change can begin with your call demanding a change.