FIRE THE COPS!

    by Lex Hannan

 

Fire the cops!

Before they kill us all,

Take them down a peg, they’ve gotten too tall.

Think of all the money we’ll save.

All we need to do is behave.

No taxes for tazers, cop cars or guns,

No more bullets for killing our sons.

No need for courts, judges, lawyers or jails.

All we need is for peace to prevail.

If you do your part and I do mine,

Cops won’t put their lives on the line.

Fire the cops!

No need for the blue.

They just lock me up when I beat on you.

Fire the cops!

Give them the shoe.

But when they’re gone, who’ll protect me from you?

On second thought, maybe, we should keep just a few.

Those who serve and protect are the ones that will do.

 

 

TAKE THE DAY OFF

IRS leaders have told all 97,000 of their employees to take the day off.  In fact they have told them to take five days off in 2013.  At first blush this would appear to be a magnanimous gesture to show appreciation for the hard working civil servants who toil within the federal tax machine.  However, the furloughs of IRS employees will be unpaid.  And since there will be no employees, the IRS will close its doors to taxpayers, too.

In an effort to comply with the Congress "sequester" mandate, the IRS will be closed to employees and taxpayers alike on the following days in 2013: May 24, June 14, July 5, July 22 and August 30.  IRS management has reserved the right to add other days at a later time.

Because none of the furlough days are considered federal holidays, the shutdown will have no impact on any tax-filing deadlines. The IRS will be unable to accept or acknowledge receipt of electronically-filed returns on any day the agency is shut down.  So, the shutdown should have no effect on returns filed or revenues received.  Actually, the IRS may be able to increase penalties assessed to taxpayers who miss deadlines because the IRS is closed. 

The genius behind this action is that IRS leaders are demonstrating that the IRS is overstaffed, its budget is too big and the daily efforts of IRS employees are not essential.  From the IRS employees' perspective, this may be akin to the ship's captain who announced to his crew, "Now hear this.  All leave is cancelled until morale picks up."

We hope that Congress is paying attention.  This heroic federal agency is showing through policy and practice how we can reduce federal spending by 2% (5 days/260 days) without any negative impact on the function of government.

Our thanks to the brave IRS bureaucrats who have shown us the way to shrink government and reduce spending.  Our condolences to Acting IRS Commissioner Miller, who has been asked to resign just when we need a visionary leader.

Thank you for your attention.

Citizens for Tax Complexity

PLEADING VERSUS DRINKING THE FIFTH

It will be interesting to see what unintended consequences spring up now that an IRS official has exercised her right to avoid self incrimination by pleading the Fifth.

Lois Lerner, the director of the IRS division that singled out conservative groups, invoked the Fifth Amendment before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  Following her example, will we see a flurry of invocations of the Fifth by taxpayers when they're dealing with the IRS?

Aren't many penalties assessed by the IRS based upon information contained in "voluntarily" filed income  and employer tax returns?  If the IRS didn't receive those returns it couldn't assess penalties based on errors or omissions contained in them.  Taxpayers are incriminating themselves by filing tax returns, aren't they?

If taxpayers plead the Fifth, will they be able to avoid filing self incriminating tax returns?

NO!

It would lead to chaos if our system of government permitted citizens to exercise the same rights and privileges as those enjoyed by our political leaders and bureaucrats.  Our founding fathers never intended that mere citizens should have the same rights as civil servants and bureaucrats to avoid self incrimination in tax matters.  We are not equal under the Internal Revenue Code.  The IRS has what it takes to take what we have... as God intended.  Citizens do not have what it takes to take anything from the IRS.  This is part of the genius behind our system of government... separation of tax and state.  If you find yourself in a potentially incriminating situation with the IRS, remember the two cardinal rules:

Rule #1:  The IRS is smarter than you are, therefore it is always right.

Rule #2:   If you think the IRS has made a mistake, refer to Rule #1.

If you find yourself in a pickle with the IRS, don't take the Fifth.  We recommend that you drink a fifth.  You may not get better results, but they will be quicker.

Thank you for your attention,

Citizens for Tax Complexity

FAIR HANDED IRS

If the IRS is one thing it is fair.

The IRS would have attacked liberals as well as conservatives if they both had threatened the existence of the IRS.  But that isn't the case.  Only "Tea Parties" and "Patriots" threatened to eliminate the IRS or seriously reduce its role through a flat tax.  Liberals didn't attack the IRS.  So, the IRS didn't attack them.  Seems fair to us.

In the words of George Bernard Shaw, "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."

Thank you for your attention,

Citizens for Tax Complexity

 

IRS IS BEST MANAGED BUREAURACRACY

The IRS is one of the best managed bureaucracies in the country, perhaps in the world.  Otherwise it would not be able to give its managers more than $92 million in performance bonuses.  See the article in the Washington Examiner for more proof of the competency of the IRS.

We are here to praise the IRS, not to bury it.

Thank you for your attention,

Citizens for Tax Complexity

IN DEFENSE OF THE IRS

The IRS is not a political enterprise.  It is a U.S. government institution.  As such, when it defends itself, it is by definition defending our country.

The IRS nurtures and now stands guard over the federal system of government that we have come to know and love.  Through no fault of its own the IRS has been threatened.  Conservative organizations have advocated the destruction of the IRS.  They have threatened to dismantle it and to simplify the federal tax code.  The unintended consequences of such folly could bring our way of government to its knees.

The IRS is not at fault for targeting Tea Party and other conservative "non-profit" enterprises.  The IRS is on the side of right and our sense of fairness should drive us to its defense.  The IRS is to be praised for standing up for itself and for the U.S.A.  Without our complex tax code and the IRS to defend it where would we be?  Thousands of accountants, lawyers, tax advisers and government bureaucrats would be without work.  Our political leaders would lack the funds that they invest so wisely on our behalf. 

The IRS does not sit idly by when it is attacked.  It takes action, especially against those misguided souls who think our federal government is too big, that it spends too much and that it outlaws freedom of choice.

The IRS is not acting politically.  It is acting out of patriotic self defense.

Don't mess with the IRS.  As their employee mantra goes, "We are the IRS.  We've got what it takes to take what you've got."

Thank you for your attention,

CITIZENS FOR TAX COMPLEXITY

COMPLEXITY SPAWNS GROWTH

Academia and Citizens for Tax Complexity are of like mind.  George Washington University has arrived at the same conclusion that we have...  tax complexity employs citizens and puts food on their tables.

Face The Facts USA (FTF), an online project of George Washington University, says the complexity of the U.S. Tax Code has led to an entire industry which employs more than a million and puts food on the tables of our citizens.   Go to Face The Facts USA.

Complexity is good.  It employs many and feeds some of us.  Simplicity is dangerous.  Simplifying processes puts some of us out of work.

Thank you for your attention.

CITIZENS FOR TAX COMPLEXITY

Crazy Talk From The Oracle of Omaha

Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, has completely lost touch with reality or his good name is being used by nefarious perpetrators of change to dismantle the American way of life.

What is being called the Congressional Reform Act of 2012 is spreading throughout the nation in the name of Mr. Buffett.  This seditious trash has all of the earmarks of a communist plot sponsored by Al Kuy-Duh to undermine the very fabric of our society.  Just look at the radical, anti-government ideas being spewed forth on the internet:

_______________________________________________________________________
*Congressional Reform Act of 2012*
 
1.  No Tenure / No Pension.
  • A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.
2.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security rather than a separate Congressional Retirement Fund.
  • All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3.  Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4.  Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5.  Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6.  Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7.  All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/31/12.
  • The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves.
  • Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
  • The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s) LIMIT TO 3, then go home and back to work.
  • If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people in the U.S. to receive the message.
  • Don't you think it's time?
 THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!
__________________________________________________________________
 
Stop this insanity! 
 
Consider the consequences!
 
How will we ever get the best and brightest to go to Washington to manage our tax dollars and control social values if we don't exempt them from the consequences of the laws that they pass?  A special protected class is essential for the perpetuation of our way of government.  That class is known as The Congress, made up of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.  These chosen few are special.  They are smarter, richer, better connected and more handsome than the rest of us.  We should treat them differently.  They are entitled to it.  We should honor them for all of the sacrifices they make while leading our nation to the pinnacles of every significant social, economic and moral measure of civilized society.  We owe preferential treatment to our Congress.  We can not in good conscience ask Congress to be treated like mere citizens.
 
It is sheer folly to treat the members of Congress the ways that they treat us.  Where would it lead?  Where would it end?
 
We call on all good citizens to do everything in your power to prevent the Congressional Reform Act of 2012 from inclusion on the ballot in your area.  The citizens of this great country are not qualified to vote on fundamental matters of classism and entitlement.  Leave these matters in the capable hands of Congress.  Stay the course.
 
Thank you for your attention.
 
Citizens for Tax Complexity
 
 
 
 

The Money Will Come From Somewhere

Republicans don't want to slit their own throats before the election by identifying what taxes they will raise to run the government and reduce the deficit.  They probably don't want to slit their throats (or have them slit for them by Grover Norquist) after the election, either. 

If the Republicans win the White House and both houses of Congress you can expect to see a two pronged approach.  Republicans will need to contort the tax system to avoid the appearance of raising tax rates, while at the same time increasing revenues through other gimmicks:

1.  Republicans will not increase tax rates per se.  They will reduce tax deductions.  This will have the same effect, increasing net revenue.  But those Republicans who signed Grover Norquist's pledge will be able to take cover behind level tax rates.  Reducing deductions will require massive changes to the tax code.  The Congress doesn't just rip old statutes out of the old tax code.  It writes new code to explain what has expired and what new statutes take the place of the old.  The code will explode with new definitions and procedures.  The mushrooming tax code will magnify complexity and confusion for tax payers and collectors alike.

2.  The Republicans will likely avail themselves of what has become a growing trend.  Penalties!  They will increase penalties and interest charges levied against taxpayers who are caught up in the new tax code complexities (See #1).  The complexity of the new and improved tax code will cause confusion and thereby enhance the opportunities to levy penalties.  Raising penalties, not taxes, will theoretically avoid the wrath of Americans for Tax Reform President, Grover Norquist. 

It appears to us, Citizens for Tax Complexity (CTC), that the Republicans have come up with a plan to have their cake and eat it too.  They won't raise taxes.  They will raise revenues in the forms of additional penalties and interest.  They will accomplish this with increased tax code complexity.  This bodes well for all of the bureaucrats, politicians, tax lawyers and accountants who we strive to represent.  It feels good to be on the winning side.

Thank you for your attention.

Citizens for Tax Complexity

FOOD ON THE TABLE

Americans are by and large a generous lot.  We wouldn't want to take food out of the mouths of children.  Tax complexity feeds a lot of families in this country.  Perhaps not yours, but according to Face the Facts USA, "We have more professional tax preparers in the United States than law enforcement officers (765,000) and professional firefighters (310,400) combined."  There are more than 1.2 million tax preparers, according to the Internal Revenue Service.  Tax complexity drives one of the largest industries in our economy.  We must protect it.

Here is a link to Face the Facts USA, where they examine Tax Complexity.

Please support our movement to protect Tax Complexity and this important segment of our economy. 

Here are five things that you can do:
  1. Donate generously so we can continue to defend Tax Complexity.  (Click the "Donate" button in the right hand column of this page.)
  2. Become a follower of this blog.  ("Join this site" button in the right hand column.)
  3. Add your comments to this page.  (See "Post a Comment" below.)
  4. Link your website or blog to us.  (See "Create a Link" below.)
  5. Tell your friends about us.

Thank you for your attention.

Citizens for Tax Complexity

Neither Broken Nor Ugly


In his recent article, The Tax-Code Mess, Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies at the Cato Institute and the editor of  Downsizing Government.org, describes the current tax code as ugly and in need of a fix:
In recent weeks President Obama has been on a quixotic search-and-destroy mission for the few remaining millionaires who aren't already paying a huge pile of taxes. Meanwhile, the rest of us face the real-world struggles of filing our IRS returns and dealing with the hugely complex tax system that the president has done nothing to fix.
The federal tax code is getting uglier every year as politicians from both parties add more credits, deductions and other special breaks. In the first year of the income tax in 1913, the 1040 tax form came with just one page of instructions. This year the instruction book for the 1040 is 189 pages long.
The President knows to leave well enough alone.  After all, he has been elected to the highest office in the land, unlike Mr. Edwards.  The President has placed his faith in the hands of the countless legislators who, since 1913, have diligently labored to enhance and improve our federal tax code.  This President knows, as did his predecessors, that the tax code does not  need to be fixed.  It needs to be followed.  Clearly, Mr. Edwards fails to see his responsibility as a compliant follower.

His contention that the tax code is ugly and getting uglier every year only underscores his lack of understanding of the purpose of the tax code.  It is intended to be complex.  That's the beauty of it.  The tax code and the bureaucracy built up to administer it are among the most perfect examples of human ingenuity.

The tax code, as authored by the legislative branch and executed by the IRS, is perfectly designed to meet its intended ends.  It is neither fitting nor fair to apply Industrial Revolution era expectations for efficiency, simplicity or productivity to an ideal, bureaucratic system. 

It is the purpose of the IRS to collect revenues that are required to operate the federal government.  The IRS has three sources of revenue; taxes, penalties and interest.  The IRS does not control tax rates.  Congress does.  But the IRS does influence or actually determine penalties charged for lack of tax compliance as well as interest charges for taxpayers who fail to comply in timely fashion.  So, to achieve its purpose, the IRS has ingeniously compounded tax code complexity to increase the revenues it can collect as penalties and interest.  Tax code complexity causes confusion for taxpayers and for IRS employees.  Confusion causes mistakes.  Mistakes can be penalized or assessed interest fees.  The Congress is fine with this arrangement because the members of the Legislative Branch hate to risk their positions by voting to increase tax rates.   Under this mutually beneficial arrangement tax rates can remain the same while the IRS increases revenues through penalties and interest fees.  It is perfectly designed to increase revenues while reducing risk.

We invite Mr. Edwards to review our posts and, once he has converted, to join us in our mission to accept the inevitable and state the obvious.

Thank you for your attention.

Citizens for Tax Complexity


Edwards, Chris. "The Tax-Code Mess." The Cato Institute. April 16, 2012. 2 Aug 2012







Tax Reform Could Destroy The Economy

The unintended consequences of "fixing" the federal tax code could devastate our economy by exterminating one of the largest industries in the nation, the tax compliance industry.

In her 2010 Report to Congress, Nina E. Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate and head of the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), reported:
A TAS analysis of IRS data shows that taxpayers and businesses spend
6.1 billion hours a year complying with tax filing requirements. To
place this in context, it would require more than three million full-time
employees to work 6.1 billion hours, making 'tax compliance' one of the
largest industries in the United States.
Simplification of the tax system would not require as many people to work as many hours.

It would be irresponsible to strain our fragile economy by putting even a modest portion of tax compliance professionals out of work. Think of the impact on the economy if the government shuttered one of the nation's other large industries, like the auto industry.  We simply cannot afford to shut down one of the nation's largest industries.

Complexity has been working for us. It causes the employment of millions of Americans.  Congress should not tamper with it.

Thank you for your attention.

Citizens for Tax Complexity

Pay to Play

The National Taxpayer Advocate, Ms. Nina E. Olson, appeared before the House Committee on Small Business  hearing on How Tax Complexity Hinders Small Businesses:  The Impact on Job Creation and Economic Growth.  The hearing was held April 13, 2011 in Washington, D.C.   In her testimony Ms. Olson addressed one of the most significant features of the current federal tax code.  She said, "The tax code is rife with complexity and special tax breaks, helping taxpayers who can afford expensive tax advice and discriminating against those who cannot."

Citizens for Tax Complexity take issue with Ms. Olson's unfortunate use of the inflammatory phrase "discriminating against".  The tax code may differentiate between types of taxpayers.  But it is irresponsible to say it is discriminating against one or another.  Of course the tax code treats small businesses who cannot afford expensive tax advice differently than it treats taxpayers who can afford such advice.  It is for their own good and for the good of the nation. It helps the under developed businesses strive to be more profitable.  So they can afford access to the tax advantages.  The U.S. Congress, through the federal tax code, is merely differentiating on behalf of the American people, not discriminating against penny pinching slackers.

Businesses that fail to contribute to the public good should be pressured by the public to either comply with the will of the people or expire.  Any businesses that fail to fulfill their civic responsibilities to retain or hire tax lawyers, accountants and consultants, do not deserve to have access to the same tax breaks that have been paid for by businesses that can afford expensive advisers.  It's only fair.  Lawyers and accountants need to feed their families and put their kids through school, too.

Only the naive would argue that business is played on a level field.  Business is all about creating competitive advantage.  Paying for advantageous tax treatment is part of the American way.  It makes this country great.  If a business doesn't want to pay expensive counselors for tax advantages, it is not required to do so.  But then that business needs to suffer for its poor judgement.  We are talking about the law of the jungle... survival of the fittest.  That's the way it has always been and that is the way we like it.

Thank you for your attention.

Citizens for Tax Complexity


OH HAPPY DAY!



We, the Citizens for Tax Complexity, hereby declare June 28, 2012 to be an annual day of celebration.  Never before in our history has so much been done by so few (the Supreme Court of the United States) to advance the cause of Tax Complexity.

According to the National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina E. Olson, the IRS will need billions of dollars and thousands of new employees to fulfill its newest responsibility as national health care benefits administrator.  Ms. Olson brilliantly anticipated this expansion of IRS responsibilities in her 2010 Annual Report to Congress:
... In recent years, however, Congress has directed the IRS to administer
a host of new benefit programs:
■■ In 2007, Congress directed the IRS to make Economic Stimulus Payments (ESPs) to most U.S. taxpayers and some non-taxpayers.  Among the consequences, the IRS was overwhelmed with phone calls, receiving more than double the typical number.  This increase caused the percentage of calls getting through to a customer service representative to drop sharply, from 82% in fiscal year (FY) 2007 to 53% in FY 2008.
 ■■ In 2008, Congress directed the IRS to administer the first of several versions of the First-Time Homebuyer Credit (FTHBC).  Among the consequences of the various versions of the FTHBC provisions were: taxpayers claiming the credit could not electronically file their returns to comply with strict documentation requirements; significant IRS processing and enforcement resources were diverted from the IRS’s core work to administer the credit; and returns claiming the credit have been subject to a high audit rate and substantial delays in the delivery of legitimate refund claims.
 ■■ In 2009, Congress directed the IRS to administer the Making Work Pay (MWP) Credit for working individuals and to coordinate MWP credits with Economic Recovery Payments to certain non-working individuals.  Among the consequences, IRS processing resources were again diverted from core work, and more than seven million returns were not processed timely.
■■ In 2010, Congress passed major new health care legislation and has directed the IRS to administer large portions of it, including the Premium Assistance Credit, the Individual Penalty for Lack of Coverage, the Employer Penalty, and the Small Business Tax Credit.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the IRS will need between $5 billion and $10 billion over ten years to implement these provisions.
Just think of it.  The Supreme Court has determined that the "health care legislation", mentioned by Ms. Olson and known collectively as Obamacare, is constitutional as a tax to be appropriately administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The IRS will need to hire and train thousands of new employees with the skills to implement the new provisions or transfer employees from tax enforcement duties to do these new jobs.

According to Ms. Olson, the expansion should cause the IRS to, "Create a program office, headed by a new deputy commissioner position, to provide strategic direction for all social benefit programs."  This will bring the total number of Deputy IRS Commissioners to three... an increase of 50% in commissioners and a commensurate increase in all of the administrative overhead that goes with it.

The resulting organization chart for the IRS will be more complex.  The increase in complexity will cause the government to spend a lot of money (read stimulate the economy) and hire a lot of people (read lower unemployment).  Stimulating the economy and lowering unemployment are worthy ends in and of themselves.  So much so, that any examination of the federal government's ability to afford either the new healthcare benefits or the bureaucracy necessary to administer them should be considered at least unpatriotic.  It is our opinion that the IRS should find a way to penalize any such examinations.  The country could use the money.

COMPLEXITY IS GOOD!

Thank you for your attention,

Citizens for Tax Complexity



IRS IS THE BENEVOLENT BUREAUCRACY

The IRS delivers results.  If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) intended to deliberately increase civil penalties assessed to U.S. taxpayers by making the tax code more complex; and if the IRS was competent at its task; then you would expect to see measurable increases in both the amount of penalties collected and in the complexity of the federal tax system.  The good news is that the IRS actually measures and reports this progress at its website, IRS.gov.  What greater authority could we hope for?

All of us here with Citizens for Tax Complexity would like to commend the IRS, or as we like to think of it the Benevolent Bureaucracy,  for extraordinary success in the face of difficult times.  The total penalties collected by the IRS in 1999 were $7.5 billion.  In 2011, just twelve years later, that figure zoomed to $19.9 billion.  This is an incredible rate of growth given that the country suffered through  two recessions, two wars and a stock market meltdown that rivaled the worst in our nations history.  The IRS is to be congratulated for staying true to its priorities during such challenging times.

If you were compliant enough to avoid being penalized by the Benevolent Bureaucracy, you owe a debt of gratitude to the IRS for increasing civil penalties on other taxpayers.  These penalties enlarged the nation's coffers by $12.4 billion more in 2011 than in 1999 without relying on any tax increase, just increased penalties.  This alternative source of revenue offset what we, as taxpayers, had to pay in 2011.  How is that for Benevolent? 

The penalties assessed by the IRS have increased in value and importance over time.  Washington does not leave them to chance.  To assure that tax complexity would thrive during the first decade of the 21st millennium countless changes have been made to the four key publications used by our government to explain your tax obligations:
  1. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC), sometimes called Title 26, as authored by Congress, 
  2. Treasury Regulations authored by the U.S. Treasury Department to interpret the IRC and provide procedural guidelines
  3. Revenue Rulings which are the IRS's interpretation of the IRC in certain situations and 
  4. IRS Publications, summaries of the IRC authored by the IRS to provide simplified explanations of the code, but unfortunately they are not recognized as tax law and may not hold up in court for your defense
For an explanation of these publications read Making Sense of the Tax Code at Investopedia.com.  

There are many disparate estimates of the size of the federal tax code.  According to CCH Standard Federal Federal Tax Reporter it has grown since 1913 from 400 to 73,954 pages.  The federal code has been described as seven to ten times larger than the Bible and four times the size of War and Peace.  Regardless of the measure, you may rest assured that it is big and it is growing because complexity leads to confusion and confusion leads to mistakes and mistakes lead to penalties and penalties lead to increased revenue for the federal government.

As Albert Einstein said, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."  While he may not have said so at the time, I suppose Mr. Einstein intended to conclude his comment with, "...as God intended."

Nina E. Olson,  National Taxpayer Advocate, probably would not agree that God intended taxes to be complex and to increase in complexity over time.  In her 2010 Annual Report to Congress, Ms. Olson said, "The most serious problem facing taxpayers – and the IRS – is the complexity of the
Internal Revenue Code."  She literally ranked complexity as the most serious problem of the twenty problems that she was required to report that year.   Her entire 2010 report is available for your review..

As the National Taxpayer Advocate, Ms. Olson heads the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an agency within the IRS tasked with helping taxpayers who can't get satisfaction with their tax issues through normal IRS channels.  She is required by law to make an annual report to Congress and in it to identify at least 20 of the most serious problems encountered by taxpayers and to make administrative and legislative recommendations to mitigate those problems.

In her 2010 report Ms. Olson went on to describe tax complexity in terms of labor required to comply with tax filing requirements.  She reported:
A TAS analysis of IRS data shows that taxpayers and businesses spend 6.1 billion hours a year complying with tax-filing requirements. To place this in context, it would require more than three million full-time employees to work 6.1 billion hours, making “tax compliance” one of the largest industries in the United States.  Tax law complexity imposes monetary costs on taxpayers as well. About 60 percent of individual taxpayers pay practitioners to prepare their returns, and another 29 percent use tax software to assist them.

Ms. Olson's observations about the complexity of the tax code were not news to Congress.  Congress had painstakingly created every word of tax law over two centuries.  It stands as a masterpiece.  A tribute to our form of government... of the people, for the people, by the people.

In 2010 Ms. Olson presented her tenth annual report.  She had mentioned the complexity of the tax code every year on her list of top twenty problems.  She also had the temerity to suggest ways to fix the problem of complexity.  It is this kind of rebellious thinking that makes one wonder how she was ever appointed to a government post.  Can't she see that we have the best tax system that money can buy?

Of course complexity is increasing.  Congress knows this.  Of course this causes confusion for taxpayers, professional tax preparers, tax attorneys and employees of the IRS.  Congress knows this.  Confusion causes errors.  Congress knows this.  Errors can be penalized.  Congress knows this.  The Benevolent Bureaucracy collects additional revenue in the form of penalties without increasing tax rates.  Congress loves this!

Why doesn't Ms. Olson get it?  Complexity is how we all win; citizens, politicians and bureaucrats.  Our country is built on federal tax complexity.  Even in her own words Ms. Olson said,  “...tax compliance is one of the largest industries in the United States."  Does she think it would be that big without the benefit of complexity?  Would she have us close down one of our largest industries?  COMPLEXITY IS GOOD!  (As long as we are not among the unfortunate souls who must pay the penalties.)  

In conclusion, I believe that we have reasonably verified that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS):
  1. deliberately increases civil penalties assessed to some U.S. taxpayers 
  2. makes the tax code more complex as a means to accomplish point #1
  3. is competent at its task of increasing revenues despite difficult economic times
  4. has built one of the largest industries in the country
  5. is truly a Benevolent Bureaucracy for taxpayers who avoid penalties

Thank you for your attention,

Citizens for Tax Complexity