Monday, April 24, 2006

Income Tax part II

I found an article today on that is perfect considering my little series on the Income Tax. Laurence M. Vance wrote a review/rebuke of Steve Forbes's new book Flat Tax Revolution. Mr Vance takes Forbes to task over his proposal for a progressive "flat" tax, but they both agree on the following which is instructive of what I spoke about last time.
Forbes' description of the Federal income tax code:

* A monster of a system.
* Abominably, appallingly confusing.
* A multi-headed hydra of countless brackets, deductions, and exemptions.
* Our horrifically heavy, appallingly complex, corruption-inducing tax code.

In addition to his accurate description of the horrific U.S. tax code, Forbes also correctly points out the huge costs of complying with the tax code. Compliance costs in terms of time have skyrocketed from an average of 17 hours and 7 minutes fifteen years ago to 28 hours and 30 minutes today. Lost productivity is in the billions of hours. The cost in dollars is now about $200 billion.

The U.S. tax code - with its "nine million word mountain of verbiage" - is so complex and "littered with impenetrable passages" that a fictional tax return given by Money magazine to forty-five tax preparers resulted in forty-five different calculations of the correct amount of tax due. This is not surprising since IRS employees (Forbes says that there are 97,440 of them) don't even give the same answers to tax questions. Forbes mentions a 2003 Treasury Department study, which found that callers to the IRS toll-free help lines "gave the wrong answers to tax-related questions more than 25 percent of the time."
Take a good look at that. The income tax code is now over 9 million words (the 7 million I quoted was a number I knew was getting old, but I'm too lazy (or smart)to try and count them on my own.) And more to the point, one tax return given to 45 different preparers ended up with 45 different totals? You cant even begin to tell me this doesnt fall under the Void for Vagueness doctrine. And those IRS employees giving out wrong answers? Nothing you can do about it. You cant sue them or the department, nor is their wrong info a defense for you.

Income tax... Illegal through and through and through.