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


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