Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What the US Tax Code Really Costs

How much does it cost to just comply with the United States Tax Code? $338 Billion (more than $1000 per American citizen), not to mention the immense cost in time---the IRS itself estimates that Americans spend 7.6 billion hours a year dealing with the complexities.

I don't think anyone who's filled out a tax return lately would argue that the tax code is too simple or that they'd like to spend more time and money preparing their tax return. I don't hold much hope that there are any politicians in Washington who know how to make things simpler. Every time tax simplification legislation gets passed, the tax code just keeps getting larger and larger, and more and more complex. For grins, I've posted the original 1913 tax forms (that dreaded year that kicked off this lunacy) for the readers to compare to the contortions they have to go through today. Notice the tax rates: 0% on $1 - $19,999, 1% on $20,000 - $49,999, 2% on $50,000 - $74,999, 3% on $75,000 - $99,999, 4% on $100,000 - $249,999, 5% on $250,000 - $499,999, and 6% over $500,000. That looks a lot more like The Land of Opportunity than what I see today.


  1. Timely post. Loved the cartoon where the agent is saying he needs timely payment of taxes to pay welfare costs.
    I have a few students writing their class paper this semester on why the U.S. needs a flat tax. This video would help them a lot. I think I'll show it to the class after the papers are turned in.

  2. Glad to be of service to your class.