The IRS itself says that in 2009 American taxpayers - individuals and corporate - will spend about 880,000 man-years complying with a tax code that has exploded to 3.7 million words. The agency calculates 2006 compliance cost American citizens and companies $193 billion, meaning that this year our challenged economy will burn through at least $200 billion to march to the mad music of the IRS.An article in this morning's Wall Street Journal by IRS "national taxpayer advocate" Nina E. Olson says, "Every year taxpayers and elected officials complain about the tax law's complexity. But despite the exasperation, no significant simplification has occurred since the landmark Tax Reform Act of 1986. To the contrary, each new tax proposal is layered onto the existing code, rendering it more complex with every new act."
Olson then goes on to offer some reasons for the growing frustration among taxpayers who on this issue are at the mercy of their elected representatives. Among the dooziest:
Well, I guess the good news is that April 15 will be behind us soon. And the bad news is that, at this time next year, the tax code will almost certainly be bigger, fatter, more complex, more wasteful, and without a doubt more expensive. Meanwhile, perhaps we can all take comfort in knowing that Vice President Biden says it is patriotic to pay taxes.