The US tax code has over 4 million words, since 2001 Congress has made over 5,000 changes to it. It’s the equivalent of 7x the words from War and Peace, and 4x the number of words in all Harry Potter books combined.Each year taxpayer advocate Nina Olsen prepares a report and delivers it to Congress, outlining issues with the tax code:
The existing tax code makes compliance difficult, requiring taxpayers to devote excessive time to preparing and filing their returns. It obscures comprehension, leaving many taxpayers unaware how their taxes are computed and what rate of tax they pay; it facilitates tax avoidance by enabling sophisticated taxpayers to reduce their tax liabilities and provides criminals with opportunities to commit tax fraud; and it undermines trust in the system by creating an impression that many taxpayers are not compliant, thereby reducing the incentives that honest taxpayers feel to comply.
With such a volume of rules, it’s a certainty there are conflicting rules; many taxpayers have experienced this when filing. Also, a complex system is stacked in favor of big corporate tax payers, who can invest millions in tax compliance departments that can potentially save them billions with legal tax avoidance schemes. So many of the tax rules are vague, subjective, and open to interpretation, many taxpayers have unnecessary fears about following the rules correctly many of which are not clear. For example, meals are deductible for a business if business is discussed for 5 minutes, but no documentation or record of such conversation is required. This puts taxpayers in an awkward situation where they are left to interpret subjective rules themselves.
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