By Congressman Steve Austria
Because today is the day Americans are required to have their tax returns mailed back to the government, I thought I would take the opportunity to share some thoughts on taxes with you. When it comes to the U.S. Tax Code, the numbers are simply astonishing. The most recent tax code has more than 3.8 million words in it. The most recent version of the IRS regulations contained nearly 7 million words – 9 times the total number of words in the King James Bible. No wonder most Americans are frustrated with our tax code. Trying to complete a tax return is so complex that many must rely on an accountant or computer software to make it easier.
These are troubling statistics for most Americans. Additionally, more complicated tax increases may be imposed on taxpayers in 2012 if Congress does not permanently end the crushing tax hikes. Because Congress and the President only agreed to a temporary two-year extension, we are in jeopardy of seeing those tax hikes again in a year and a half. This continues to bring uncertainty to our financial markets, hurting small businesses and hard-working families.
Like most Americans, I believe the current tax code needs to be simplified and reformed. In the end, I trust our families and our small businesses – the taxpayers – to spend and invest their money back into their economy creating long-term sustainable jobs in the private sector. That is what will get Americans back to work. I’m pleased that this new Congress is placing a high priority on reducing federal spending to help put our economy back on a fiscally-sustainable path forward. It is time for Congress to work together on both sides of the aisle to simplify and reform our tax system.