WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD), who has long advocated tax simplification and reform, released the following statement on House Democrats' commitment to this issue, as well as continuing Democratic efforts to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax. Tomorrow, April 17, is Tax Day, the filing deadline for federal income tax returns for tax year 2006:
"Today, millions of Americans are grappling with our nation's unbelievably complicated tax code as they prepare to file their federal income tax returns for 2006 by Tuesday's deadline. Millions more won't even try to prepare their own returns, instead paying a professional to do so.
"Unfortunately, the complexity of our nation's tax laws only increased during previous Republican-controlled Congresses. In fact, since 1995, the U.S. tax code and regulations have grown by one-third to more than 60,000 pages. And, while President Bush appointed a bipartisan commission to study tax reform, he has ignored its recommendations and failed to engage on this important issue.
"Perhaps nothing better illustrates the need for federal tax reform than the expanding reach of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) - the so-called stealth tax. Originally designed to ensure that wealthy taxpayers paid their fair share, the AMT will arbitrarily ensnare an estimated 4 million taxpayers this year and force them to pay more in taxes than they otherwise would pay under our tax system. The AMT increasingly affects middle-income taxpayers, because it was never indexed for inflation, and it requires Americans to calculate their taxes twice - once through standard tax forms and again through special AMT forms. Without action, 33 million taxpayers will have to pay the AMT in 2010.
"House Democrats are committed to permanently fixing the AMT, as well as to tax reform and simplification generally. We urge the President to join us in this effort because we know from experience that Presidential leadership is imperative."