10/19/05 — Simplify: Panel should find ways to make tax code less onerous

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Simplify: Panel should find ways to make tax code less onerous

A tax panel created by President George W. Bush is currently trying to figure out what to do with what has become a cumbersome and increasingly confusing tax code.

Basically, the gist of their findings so far is to cut back on paperwork, reduce red tape and eliminate some of the provisions and loopholes that cause taxpayers fits every April 15.

The panel is not taking any radical steps yet.

Its members have rejected the flat-tax-for-everyone idea, at least at this time. They say there are still too many questions about how it would work in a real world application.

It is good to know that someone is taking the debacle that has become the American system of taxation and is trying to make it work.

A tax system that forces taxpayers to pay someone hundreds of dollars each year — and in some cases more if they own a business — to interpret what their tax bill should be is nothing short of bureaucratic stupidity.

And then there are the loopholes.

A revised system should consider making deductions clearer and the need to hunt through the tax code to find them a worry of the past.

Few Americans really think they pay too little taxes. Even the celebrities who urge citizens to pay their “fair share” of taxes to help take care of those in the country who cannot take care of themselves are not handing over blank checks to the government when it comes time to pay their federal bills each year.

A bit hypocritical to tell the rest of the “rich,” who by the way, are often defined as those who earn $100,000 or more a year, to pay their taxes without deductions and loopholes when you do not do it yourself, don’t you think?

A simpler tax code that is reasonably easy to decipher and apply would cut back on a lot of the need for high-priced accountants and tax lawyers. That could be part of the reason it is taking such a long time to convince this country’s leaders that we need drastic tax relief.

No matter how many times these leaders are told that Americans are demanding tax reform, they seem unable to act at a pace faster than a snail with a head cold.

President Bush’s tax panel might not come up with the answer next week or even next year, but if its deliberations even come close to providing a direction for the future, then it will be worth the wait.

Published in Editorials on October 19, 2005 10:35 AM