The deadline for filing federal tax returns is one week away and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says today’s tax code is a “monstrosity” that’s far too complicated and is a drag on the nation’s economic growth, not to mention our patience. “The IRS says it takes an average taxpayer 13 hours to comply with the federal tax code,” Grassley says. “Every year, Americans spend more than $168 billion and collectively clock in six-billion hours to file their taxes.”
Grassley says he gets “very, very depressed” when he considers how fouled up our tax system has become and he hears constituents’ complaints on the topic all the time. “People come to my office and they say ‘We need tax reform, but don’t touch my part of the tax code,'” Grassley says. “They don’t actually say it that way but that’s the implication. That makes me pessimistic when you have every economic interest is for tax reform but ‘don’t effect ours,’ that’s a zero sum gain and it’s hard to get anything done.”
Grassley, a Republican, says one thing we’ve never tried is throwing out the entire tax code and starting over. “But in 1986, there was big progress made in tax reform and the trouble is, within five years, in a very slow process that brings us to the monstrosity we have today,” Grassley says. “It’s back probably worse than it was in 1986 when we started reform then.”
He says taxpayers already pay enough to shoulder the costs of the federal government. Grassley notes, the Affordable Care Act will raise taxes more than $700 billion over the next decade.