I’m pretty sure that anyone that reads this blog can agree with me on one thing. The tax code as it is written today in the United States is broken. Personally, I think it’s broken beyond repair and is in need of a complete overhaul beyond simple tax reform, but I’ll take whatever they can give us. The complexity and built in inequities in our current tax system are so numerous that you could probably dedicate an entire website (or several) to that topic alone without ever repeating yourself in any of your posts.
Tax Reform History
The last time the Tax code was changed was in 1986 when President Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act into law. That action did much to simplify the tax code. That law represented the single largest change to the U.S. tax code since the U.S. has been collecting personal income taxes.
Unfortunately, in the 26 years that have passed, a significant number of revisions and changes have been made. Over 15,000 changes to the law as it was written have been made according to The Report on Tax Reform Options published by the White House in 2010. So what started as a somewhat simplified tax code is now a complex set of rules with much of the original items that were fixed having slipped back in by legislation over the years.
Time to Make a Change
It should be obvious to anyone that has the slightest interest in our income tax system (I.E., anyone that pays taxes) that we are long overdue for tax reform on the mess that is our current tax code. In what I consider to be a surprising display of bi-partisan cooperation the two key players in our governments budgeting and finance policies are working together to potentially overhaul the tax code.
House ways and means committees Chairman, Dave Camp (R) and the Senate Finance Chairman, Max Baucus (D) have been working together for some time to evaluate and potentially be the leaders in a tax code overhaul. What makes this especially surprising is that they are reaching out to the American public and asking them for their opinion. They have put up a website where citizens can go to can chime in with their opinions on how the tax code should be changed. https://taxreform.gov/ was launched on Thursday, May 9th,2013. They’ve also created a twitter ID, @simplertaxes (hashtag #taxreform) where you can tweet your opinions and ideas to them.
This is a modern day approach to what was done in 1985 by Dan Rostenkowsi, the Ways and means committee chairman. He asked the public to write in with their ideas and opinions on how tax reform should be shaped, and they did. Over 75,000 letters were submitted. That number was miniscule in comparison to what can be done today. With the ease of submitting ideas via a website or twitter, we can help steer any changes to reform the tax code, hopefully for the better (actually, anything has got to be better than this tangled web we now have).
If you have even the mildest of opinions you should go to the website and submit your ideas and opinions. If you don’t, and you don’t like what happens with our tax code (assuming anything is done at all) then you should bite your tongue and not complain. Seriously, the potential for tax reform is here and you have an opportunity to be heard! Take advantage of it and put your thoughts and opinions on the table where a few folks that seem to care (and have the power to do something) can see them!
Have you submitted your thoughts and opinions to taxreform.gov? If you haven’t, please do and make your opinion count!