Seven features of an effective tax system. An effective tax system is one that can meet all seven.
- SIMPLE. It should be easy to understand.
- FAIR. Has the same rules for everyone. Emphasis on EVERYONE.
- VISIBLE. Taxpayers can plainly see the taxes they pay and the cost of government in their lives.
- NEUTRAL. The revenue needed to sustain the government and the system of taxation to collect it, must not interfere with the economic choices of people, business, and corporations.
- EFFICIENT. An efficient tax code will, minimize administrative and enforcement details for the government, minimize compliance details for the taxpayer, and maximize cost effectiveness for the government and the taxpayer.
- STABLE. All the features that make the tax system effective also serve to reduce the need for frequent changes to it, thus people, businesses and corporations can plan accordingly for the future because of the stability inherent to the tax system.
- FOSTER ECONOMIC GROWTH. The tax code must be free of any obstructions and penalties that deter capital investment and domestic businesses which in turn obstruct job growth and the potential for greater wages. It also must be free of any details that deter any individual’s motivation to work, save, and invest.
Of paramount importance in items six and seven is the elimination of uncertainty. It is the uncertainty that any decision a person, business, or industry makes might come back to bite them in an ever-changing taxing environment.
The current IRS code fails to meet all seven elements. Time for bold and real tax reform has come. Let your federal representative know that you support H.R.25 in the House.
UPDATE: Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA7) introduced H.R.25 into the 113th Congress yesterday Jan 3, 2013. The Senate version cannot be introduced until January 22 at the earliest.
And to further illustrate the need for a more efficient tax code, look how much difficulty our Treasury Secretary had in paying his taxes.
Here’s a snapshot of how complexity begets uncertainty.
According to government figures, there have been approximately 4,428 tax code changes in the last 10 years, including an estimated 579 changes in 2010 alone. Based on an analysis early last year, the tax code had grown from 1.4 million words to 3.8 million words just since 2001. Between 1986 (the last major tax reform) and 2005, Congress passed 14,400 amendments to the tax code – an average of 2.9 changes every day for the full 19 years.
By contrast, the entire FairTax bill is 145 pages.