Hoyer: Incredible Complexity of Tax Code Commands Bipartisan Action This Year

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), a leading Democratic proponent of tax reform and simplification in the House of Representatives, released the following statement today regarding the sixth meeting of the President’s Advisory Panel on Tax Reform:

“I commend the President’s Bipartisan Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform for its seriousness and vigor in tackling the very important issue of federal tax reform, and for holding today’s meeting in San Francisco on how the tax system influences economic growth and international competitiveness.

“As the deadline for filing federal income tax returns for 2004 rapidly approaches, the one thing that is clear is that America’s tax code is a Kafkaesque maze of complexity and confusion that confounds millions of Americans every single year.  And, unfortunately, our tax laws are becoming more complicated every year, with the Republican Congress orchestrating nearly 900 changes to the Internal Revenue Code in the last two years alone.

“The fact is, our tax laws are so complicated that most Americans – individuals as well as businesses – throw up their hands and hand off the task of a filing a return to paid tax preparers.  In her most recent report to Congress, Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, states that 56 percent of all individual returns and 85 percent of all business returns were prepared by practitioners.

“This complexity is an embarrassment that has a corrosive effect on our democracy and threatens public confidence in our tax system, and it cries out for real reform this year.

“I hope the President’s Advisory Panel takes a close look at overhauling our corporate income tax laws to strengthen the ability of American business to compete in the global economy, to restore balance between large corporations and main-street proprietors, and to allow entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.  Specifically, we need to remove tax incentives that encourage investment overseas rather than job creation at home, and close unfair tax loopholes.

“We know from past experience that real tax reform requires presidential leadership, as well as Congressional bipartisanship, and I am hopeful that the Advisory Panel will issue recommendations that can be acted on this year.  The time for tax reform is right.  The American people deserve a tax system that is simpler, fairer and more efficient."

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