In a recent speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, IRS commissioner Doug Shulman tried to make the case for tax simplification. In his prepared remarks he said “Most taxpayers want simplicity. They want to pay what they owe, understand what tax benefits they are entitled to, and not get tripped up by the system. However, today’s Tax Code is anything but simple. It is so complex that it makes it hard for taxpayers to plan and make out an annual budget as there can be unpredictable tax bill swings from year to year. One year you might be eligible to claim a tax credit reducing what you owe. But the following year, the tax credit will expire, or there may be a change in your personal situation that will knock you out of the eligibility box.”
In order to illustrate his point, Shulman pointed out that there have been 15,000 changes to the Tax Code since 1986, including 3,000 legislative changes since just the year 2000.
In a related story, it was revealed that General Electric’s most recently filed return was a staggering 57,000 page monster and would have been 19 feet high if printed out and stacked together.