Monday, April 09, 2007

Tax Law Complexity Continues to Grow

From the National Taxpayers Union’s 8th Annual Study of Tax Law Complexity Trends, released last year on April 17, 2006 (release of a new study is pending):

  • The total number of paperwork hours imposed by the Department of the Treasury exceeds 6.4 billion hours (most of which are IRS-related).

  • Taxpayers had to wade through 142 pages of instructions for the standard 1040 form and schedules, up from 128 pages in the previous year, and more than double the number in 1985. As mentioned in the post direclty below, the instructions in 1913 came on one page.

  • 9 out of 10 filers used a paid preparer and/or a computer for assistance in filing their tax returns.

  • Self-employed taxpayers filing the 1040 with small business schedules face an 80-hour completion task – the equivalent of two weeks’ paid vacation.

  • The 1040 tax form with common Schedules A, D, and others will take the average taxpayer 38 hours to prepare this year – with the assistance of a computer! Even the so- called “short” form will take more than half a day (12.6 hours) to complete.


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