By now, most of us have received our W-2 forms in the mail. It is an annual reminder of how complicated our tax code is. It is also a reminder of all the tax cuts that Congress has to extend this year.
First of all, the U.S. tax code is so complicated that 90 percent of small businesses and families have to hire a professional to help complete their tax returns. A lot of that is because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rulebook changed 4,430 times between 2001 and 2010. Simplifying the tax code has to be a priority for the Congress and the President. This alone will reduce taxpayer error and bring in more revenue to help us attack the $14 trillion in debt we have as a nation without actually raising taxes.
Second, Congress has a lot work to do this year to deal with the expiration of existing tax cuts and fixes for others. For example, Congress must still reach an agreement to extend the Payroll Tax Cut, a solution for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), and deal with the expiration of the Estate or “Death” Tax, which impacts small business owners and family-owned farms. This month, the Congressional Budget Office released a report on our economic outlook for the next ten years and it was not good. Things don’t look promising. This is, in part, because of our uncertain tax situation and because the federal government uses tax revenue as a way to counterbalance Washington’s out-of-control spending.
What we don’t need to is to make the IRS even bigger than it already is. Last year, the President’s IRS budget grew to $13.3 billion. That meant 5,000 more employees for a government agency that already exceeds 100,000 workers.
Taxes, tax cuts, and tax reform are all things that will be discussed at our dinner tables and in Congress over the next year. I will continue to keep you updated on what is happening and what may happen.
Member of Congres