Most American adults can empathize with the plight of Christian Sagers, whose recent editorial aptly describes the horrors of ordinary citizens trying to navigate our ridiculous federal tax code (“Confessions of an honest tax filer (and why the system is absurd),” March 11). It seems that Sagers has focused his ire on corporate behemoths like Intuit (Turbo Tax) and H&R Block, firms which have fought mightily to ensure the IRS doesn’t create a free tax filing system for the general public.
While it’s easy to cast blame on TurboTax and the IRS, let’s not forget who the real villain is. Congress passes the laws upon which the IRS implements the tax code. Many congressmen publicly condemn the IRS for its excesses, but they count on the IRS to do the dirty work and bring the bucks into the federal treasury.
The fact is that despite much political rhetoric to the contrary, our congressmen love the complexity of the tax code. By tweaking this and granting that, Congress curries favor with targeted voters and extracts enormous contributions from industry lobbyists, who are always seeking relief from Uncle Sam. Congress could enact a sensible, simple and fair tax code next month if they wanted to, but to do so, they would lose much of their power and leverage. That being the case, don’t count on meaningful tax reform anytime soon.