Columns

The Pains of Tax Season Call for a New Tax Code

f t # e
Washington, April 8, 2016 | Beth Breeding (2022255431) | comments

There are very few certainties in life. One of those, however, is that Tax Day comes around each year. By the time the April 18th deadline passes to submit 2015 tax returns, millions of Americans will have experienced our broken tax code firsthand yet again. A very appropriate quote by an unknown author sums up the feelings of many during tax season: “People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women.” 

While that may draw a few laughs, in all seriousness tax season is quite possibly one of the most dreaded times of the year for many Americans. It reminds us of the complexity, unfairness, and frustrations of our tax code.  Families and businesses in the Sixth District and across the country will have spent weeks, and in some cases months, completing their tax returns. That doesn’t come without its costs. Each year, folks spend sizable amounts of their hard earned dollars on tax software and tax preparers. 

Enough is enough. The current tax code is broken beyond repair and cannot be fixed. We must scrap the tax code and start over. But the question remains – how will we spur the process of real, comprehensive tax reform? That is where my bill, H.R. 27, the Tax Code Termination Act, will help. This bill provides Congress with the extra push needed to clear the way for fundamental tax reform. 

The bill is as simple as it sounds. The Tax Code Termination Act sunsets the current tax code by a specific date and requires Congress to approve a new system in its place. While the bill does not advocate for one tax system over another, it does outline a framework for Congress to consider. A new tax system should be one that applies a low rate to all Americans, provides tax relief for working Americans, protects the rights of taxpayers, reduces collection abuses, eliminates the bias against savings and investment, promotes economic growth and job creation, and does not penalize marriage or families.

The Tax Code Termination Act has already gained the support of 130 bipartisan cosponsors, including the majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives. On April 13th, I will testify before the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes our tax laws, about my legislation and how this measure is necessary to provide a real timeline for debating and approving a new tax system for our nation. 

While I have yet to hear an argument for maintaining our current tax code, I hear argument after argument for why we need a new one. Comprehensive tax reform will not come overnight, but we should not delay taking a first step towards tax reform. It’s time for a new tax code that doesn’t make Tax Day the most dreaded day of the year.  

f t # e