Taxes: Too High, Too Complicated

April 12, 2000

If you are just now getting to your taxes and feeling like they are too high and too complicated, then you will appreciate the work of Daniel Mitchell writing for the Heritage Foundation. He comes to lots of conclusions, but I will merely cite three.

First, taxes are too high. The average American household pays more in taxes than it pays for food, clothing, shelter and transportation combined. Last year, every dollar the average taxpayer earned from January 1 to May 11 went to taxes. All told, the government collects more than 40% of family income.

Second, the tax code is incomprehensible. According to Mitchell, there are 10,295 pages of IRS laws and regulations, and more than 700 tax forms. In the past 13 years, Congress has passed 50 bills changing the tax code. And this confusion affects the citizen's ability to comply. Last year, taxpayers spent millions of man hours asking the IRS for help with the tax code. If that waste of time was not bad enough, it is estimated that these same taxpayers received 9.8 million wrong answers from the IRS. Nevertheless, these taxpayers would be held accountable for errors in their forms even if they resulted from bad IRS information.

Third, the tax system is too expensive. It costs the economy more than $250 billion annually to comply with the tax code. The latest estimate for small and medium-sized corporation is that they spent $7240 for every $1000 they pay in taxes. And Americans spent 5.4 billion hours a year filling out tax forms.

A few years ago, Jack Kemp chaired the Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform. They concluded that the current tax code is beyond repair and needs to be replaced. As you are filling out your forms perhaps you will agree.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.