A little noticed report was issued last week by the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate that recommends reducing tax rates by 44%.
Nina Olson, who is authorized as head of the office to make legislative proposals to Congress, says that if Congress would eliminate all tax expenditures, it could reduce individual tax rates by 44% and still collect about the same amount of revenue.
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Olson is bound by law to prepare the report at the start of each year, a little known fact to most taxpayers.
She is required to report on the 20 most serious problems taxpayers encounter, the most complex of which is the tax code itself.
She views the need for tax reform as a completely separate problem from the nation’s current fiscal issues.
The Taxpayer Advocate commissioned a survey of a representative group of 3300 taxpayers and found that only 16% believe current tax laws are fair.
Olson finds this low rate of public trust unconscionable. Tax compliance is difficult and American taxpayers spend $6.1 billion hours on tax matters and $168 billion on tax return preparation.
The report says the tax code facilitates tax fraud. Many taxpayers have no idea how their tax is calculated or what rate of tax they pay.
Olson’s report recommends cutting the number of income exclusions, exemptions, deductions, and credits, otherwise known as tax expenditures
A 44% reduction from the new top tax rate of 39.6% would be 23.8%. Olson says Congress should weigh each tax benefit against the complexity of the burden it would place on taxpayers.