Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Holy 1040, Batman!

Douglas Shulman says he uses a hired tax preparer because the U.S. tax code is so complex. That's a bad sign. He's the I.R.S. commissioner.

  • The tax code itself holds about 3.8 million words, nearly five times as many as the King James Bible.
  • There's also a much larger body of regulations, which carry the weight of law, written by the IRS.
  • There have been more than 4,400 changes to the tax code over the past decade, or more than one a day.
  • The costs of complying with the individual and corporate income tax requirements for 2008 amounted to $163 billion – or a staggering 11 percent of aggregate income tax receipts.
  • Individual taxpayers find return preparation so overwhelming that about 60 percent now pay preparers to do it for them.
  • U.S. taxpayers and businesses spend about 6.1 billion hours a year complying with the filing requirements of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • The monetary compliance burden of the median individual taxpayer (as measured by income) rose from $220 in 2000 to $258 in 2007, an increase of 17 percent.
Good luck!

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