If the self-employed individual is a certified public accountant, that may not be a big deal. If that individual is a piano teacher or a general contractor, they’re going to need to shell out some money just to be able to understand how to pay their taxes. And if they mess up, they’re going to be on the hook for even more – lawyers, accountants, penalties, fees. Paying taxes is enough of a burden. We don’t need to create additional burdens just to be able to pay taxes.
According to a report by the National Taxpayer Advocate, it takes U.S. taxpayers (both individuals and businesses) more than 6.1 billion hours to complete tax filings. The tax code, which was just 27 pages a hundred years ago, is so complicated that roughly nine out of 10 Americans rely on paid professionals or software to prepare their tax returns. Having to pay a service to help you pay the government… That sounds a little backwards.
Furthermore, on average, more than one new tax provision is added to the code per day. Let’s just think about that for a second. How on earth are normal people supposed to keep up with the pace of this red tape? Similar statistics abound, leading individuals across the country, along with myself, to the same obvious conclusion: fundamental tax reform is needed.
Fortunately, there is an answer already on the table and it’s called the Fair Tax.
Introduced by Rep. Rob Woodall (GA-7), this forward-thinking piece of legislation would abolish the Internal Revenue Service, while also eliminating the federal income tax, corporate income tax, and estate tax. To replace this revenue, the federal government would implement a national consumption tax. By structuring our tax code in this manner, we will only be taxed on what we as individuals choose to spend on new goods or services – not our hard work, savings, and investment.
The Fair Tax is a reasonable, simple system ready to be deployed. It supports individual liberty, economic freedom and free market capitalism – all virtues of our Founding Fathers. Right now, the only individuals who benefit from our needlessly complex tax code are those families and corporations wealthy enough to hire legions of tax attorneys to leverage the loopholes and lower their burden. It’s the small business and working families who are left paying full freight.
It’s about time for our country to think about taxation in a more sensible, fair and transparent way. If we want a strong national defense, we need to pay for it and it is our civic duty to do so. But as policymakers, our aim should be to make that process as painless as possible, the burden as low as possible, and the efficiency as great as possible. The tax code we’re operating under now achieves none of those goals and it’s time we scrapped the current code and started over with something better. The Fair Tax is that solution.
Congressman Rich Nugent represents the 11th district of Florida. He is a member of the Armed Services Committee and the House Administration Committee. Prior to Congress, he served in the Illinois Air National Guard and as Sheriff of Hernando County.
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