Guest Post by Congressman Bob Goodlatte
Last week, as we marked Tax Day, individuals, families and businesses across this nation struggled to comply with our onerous tax code. Americans spent countless hours and large sums of money to ensure that they were following the letter of the law when it comes to filing their income taxes. Every year this exercise reminds taxpayers that the current code is broken beyond repair and it is obvious that tax reform is absolutely necessary.
In fact, during a recent television interview Douglas Shulman, the IRS Commissioner, admitted “that he does not file his own taxes in part because he believes the tax code is complex”. He is not alone. It has been reported that nearly 63% of filers used paid preparers. This is up from 38% in 1980. If it is this hard for those who enforce the tax code to comply with the code then imagine what it is like for the average American family or small business to comply with it.
I understand the frustrations of taxpayers and so I have introduced bipartisan legislation which will force Congress to finally address fundamental tax reform. The Tax Code Termination Act will abolish the tax code by December 2012, and call on Congress to approve a new federal tax system by July of the same year.
While almost every Member of Congress recognizes that our tax code is no longer working in a fair manner for Americans, nothing has been done to create a more equitable tax code. Congress won’t act on fundamental tax reform unless it is forced to do so. My legislation will force Congress to finally debate and address fundamental tax reform.
With enactment of my legislation, today’s oppressive tax code would survive for only three more years, at which time it would expire and be replaced with a new tax code that will be determined by Congress, the President, and the American people. This allows us, as a nation, to collectively decide what the new tax system should look like. There are many competing alternatives including the flat tax, the fair tax and others but having a date-certain to end the current tax code will force the issue and the debate to the top of the national agenda.
Whichever tax system is adopted, the key ingredients should be: a low rate for all Americans; tax relief for working people; protection of the rights of taxpayers and reduction in tax collection abuses; promotion of savings and investment; and encouragement of economic growth and job creation. But passage of my legislation, the Tax Code Termination Act, is the first step in replacing our current tax code with a system that includes these critical principles.
To contact me about this or any other matter, please visit my website at www.goodlatte.house.gov.