With the income tax filing deadline two weeks away and Americans spending billions of dollars and hours filling out IRS forms, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said today it is time to simplify the federal tax code.
"Every year at this time millions of Americans struggle with doing their taxes. They are either sitting at their kitchen tables with a calculator and antacid tablets or they're staring at some income tax software on a computer screen. More often than not they just pay someone else to do it for them,"Wyden said. "These are people who I'm sure would rather spend less time sweating over a pile of IRS forms and more time serving their customers, expanding their business, creating jobs and supporting their families."
Wyden, joined by homebuilders and building subcontractors at a Portland news conference today, said that this year American families and business owners will have spent more than $160 billion and more than six billion hours doing their taxes. Many of these tax filers are sole proprietorships, partnerships, S Corporations and other entities that pass through their business income to their owners who, in turn, pay taxes as individuals.
"We put ourselves through this annual water torture because we have a tax code that is hopelessly out of date, mind-numbingly complex, increasingly unfair and terribly inefficient," Wyden said. "It stifles rather than encourages economic growth."
Wyden has joined with Republican Senator Dan Coats to clean out the tax code by:
· Making it much easier to file with a one-page 1040 form that's just 27 lines long.
· Letting most small businesses expense all their equipment and inventory costs in a single year, freeing up capital so they can expand and create jobs.
· Tripling the standard deduction to significantly reduce the need to itemize.
· Ending more than 60 preferences, so that instead of giving tax breaks to the well off and well-connected, the vast majority of working families will get tax relief.
· Eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax and consolidating deductions for education and savings.
· Going the way of California and adopting the "ready return" approach and let the IRS help prepare your taxes free of charge.