Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tax Panel Releases Final Report

The President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform released their final report today, and I for one am left in awe at the complete waste of time and expenses that turned out to be.

Organized on January 7th of this year, the bi-partisan panel was co-chaired by former Senators Connie Mack (R-FL) and John Breaux (D-LA) and consisted of seven other members from scholarly positions and former government office holders (Congress, FTC, IRS, etc.). The group's mission was to build a "report containing revenue neutral policy options for reforming the Federal Internal Revenue Code." Of the three goals listed on the Panel's home page, I just love the first one: "[the options should] simplify Federal tax laws to reduce the costs and administrative burdens of compliance with such laws."

If one were to take a look at the FairTax, they would find that the plan competely does away with compliance costs by making the system "pay as you go." There's no need to fill out forms every spring. There's no need for businesses to worry about tax implications when making decisions. The only decisions required are how much money to spend and where to spend it.

In the entire 272-page report (keep in mind the entire FairTax bill, H.R. 25, is half that length and would cover all taxation for the entire nation), not one major overhaul is made to the federal tax code. Sure the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) is repealed, but that's hardly a drop in the bucket. There are some rate adjustments, but seeing as the reform is revenue-neutral, they do not equate to tax cuts or hikes.

In essence, the last 10 months of laboring to reform the tax system have resulted in a tremendous failure. If anything, the panel should've released a report detailing the necessity of a complete overhaul of the system. They should have suggested the conversion of all the different taxes and credits and yada yada into one, simple, easy to understand tax. The compliance costs of the federal tax code will NEVER go away as long as there's an income tax and/or a tax on corporations. As long as they're around, businesses have to make decisions based on how the tax will affect their profits and the cost of their products.

With one tax, the only thing a business needs to worry about is the inflation rate. Everything else will remain constant, and if there is a proposal to change the tax rate, it will be known and easily accounted for. The conversion of the tax system into a one tax, flat-rate system is the only way to solve the problems the Tax Panel was created to deal with.

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