Is It Time for Tax Reform in America?

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How could anyone say no? With another election coming, our political hopefuls are all bragging about their tax plans.As a criminal tax lawyer and former IRS special agent, I can tell you that it is long overdue. Our tax system is in a state of dysfunction. The Internal Revenue Code is now so complex, that no one can fill out their own return without buying a computer program to decipher the myriad of rules and regulations. The time for meaningful tax reform is now. But it is not going to happen. The special interests have too strong of a lobby. The big corporations and the filthy rich get too many breaks. In America, for the last twenty years the rich have gotten richer and the poor, poorer.
An unfair tax system promotes cheating. Just like a totally unreasonable boss promotes embezzlement, an unreasonable government promotes tax evasion. The average citizen feels like he is being screwed by the IRS and feels like it justifies filing a false return, fudging on deductions or in some cases, simply not filing a tax return. Tax evasion is a symptom of a deeper underlying problem with our entire tax system. People cheat because they feel the system is not fair. Our tax system has become an income redistribution system. Most people feel the working class is taxed and the money is given to those that do not work, and at the top, the rich people pay nothing.
I personally feel that taxation is necessary. We have to have national defense. We have to have roads, flood control, education and health care. What we need is a fair tax and a simplified return. I once proposed that the tax return should be no more than two pages. On the front you declare your income, all of it, regardless of type. To that number the same tax rate is applied to everyone. Equal taxation, oh my god! On the back page you fill in how you want the money spent. You could have categories like “education”, “health care”, “national defense”, “Infrastructure” and “national emergencies”,
This would solve the other problem of how our elected officials spend the money. The budget would be real simple. The people decide how the money is spent when they file their returns, not some political hack. Most people would like to see how their money is really spent. Most people would not cheat on their income taxes or sales tax if there was meaningful reform. How about a national sales tax? How about a consumption tax? We have a screwed up system. You get taxed when you earn the money. You get taxed again is you don’t spend it and simply have it in a savings account. You get taxed again when you die and try and give it to your kids. Let’s make this simple. Tax it one time and tax it fairly.
For thirty years I have defended income tax cases in Federal Court and Sales tax cases in the State courts. The system is not fair. The best way to reduce tax evasion is to make the system fair and just. Let your elected officials know, if you can find them or reach them. It is time for a tax revolution in America. What we really have is “taxation without representation”

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