There are just 95 days to get your taxes done, and a new government watchdog report confirms what just about every American knows and dreads–filing your taxes is a complicated and intimidating process.
The National Taxpayer Advocate says there are four million words in the U.S. tax code. It would take you three weeks to read. The tax language is so complex, it takes the equivalent of three million people working all year to complete business and individual tax returns. The cost to file and comply is $168 billion.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., the nation’s chief tax writer, says the report confirms the tax code “is ten times the size of the Bible with none of the good news.”
The Taxpayer Advocate says there have been nearly 5,000 changes to the tax code since 2001–that’s about one change per day. Momentum is building in Congress to overhaul the tax code for the first time since 1986.
But where to start? Americans love their tax credits, deductions and exemptions–the provisions that make the tax law so complicated in the first place. Would Americans be willing to give up their mortgage interest deduction or start paying taxes on employer-provided health benefits or on contributions to their retirement plans?
In all, taxpayers will save more than $1 trillion this year by taking advantage of tax breaks, according to a congressional report.