Over 70 percent of Americans think our tax system needs major changes and reform. So if you’re running for President in 2016, you’re going to need to sort through all the different tax reform proposals out there. Luckily, Heritage Foundation economists Curtis Dubay and David Burton have just published “A Tax Reform Primer for the 2016 Presidential Candidates.

Why should candidates care about tax reform? Dubay and Burton write:

The country needs tax reform because the tax code stifles economic freedom, preventing the economy from being vibrant and prosperous. Fundamental tax reform would alleviate the harm caused by the tax system and significantly increase the size of the economy. This stronger economic growth would substantially improve the incomes of all Americans and enhance economic opportunities.

The primer lists the five principles of any good tax reform, and then details four tax reform plans: the traditional flat tax, the new flat tax, the business transfer tax, and a national sales tax such as the Fair Tax. You can read the full primer here. 

Do you support tax reform? If so, tell us why in the comments.

Comments (137)

Anne McCloskey - April 10, 2015

I do my own taxes through TurboTax. If it were not for this program I would have no idea what to do. As it is, I take their calculations, etc., on pure faith. I cannot comprehend why or how the government decides what I should pay. It is outrageous that the government imposes a tax code on us that is thousands of pages long and takes experts (who are often wrong) to figure it out. I want to understand the system that takes my money. It should be fair, clear and simple.

Nicholas Gilliam - April 10, 2015

I am a CPA and passably familiar with the tax code. It is an abomination. The major problems, as I see them, is that the Congress uses it for purposes other than raising revenue (eg. student loan deductions, Low income housing credit, efficient car credit, energy credits ofr insulation, windows, etc). I support abolition on the tax code and the death and gift taxes completely through an amendment and then going to a national sales tax (VAT)

John Preston - April 10, 2015

Tax reform should among the top five objectives of any presidential candidate.
[the other four are National Security, Fixing Obamacare, Immigration Reform, and National Debt Reduction].

A flat tax has great appeal to me. It seems fair, simple, inexpensive for the payer, and pretty easy to calculate. We can save BILLIONS of dollars and probably Billions of wasted hours by scraping the current tax system.

Kerry Patterson - April 10, 2015

We need Tax Reform so that an average individual can understand just exactly what they are paying for. Too heck with the IRS just assuming they can take your money without letting you know why you are being charged. If each individual had the opportunity to see these deductions in an understanding light, they might just get the picture of the Government is doing with their HARD EARNED DOLLARS.

Thomas Stade - April 10, 2015

Freedom from Taxation without Representation is;
National Consumption Tax… If you do not want to buy a Yacht but save…no tax. Tax only when you spend. LASTLY THE AMOUNT MUST BE VOTED ON BY THE PEOPLE IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PERIOD ! Then the Government should be forced by criminal accountability to live within the means sent to them by the people.

Julia Berry - April 10, 2015

Who could deny that the amount of taxes that we are forced to pay has not completely spiraled out of control!

Katz Fujino - April 10, 2015

Fair Tax.Period.

Malcolm B Mathieson Sr - April 10, 2015

I have been a Tax Preparer for both private and commercial companies. I know from experience that the tax code is far too complex for most ordinary citizens to deal with. Too complex, etc.

Clarice Smalley - April 10, 2015

Yes I like the Fair Tax. The IRS is corrupt and way toooo big and has and takes toooo much power. Get back to the States and American Citizens not illegals.

Marc Noel - April 10, 2015

Our government is out control and somebody has to put the breaks on it. Current politicians will do nothing and all of them need to be replaced so they have to work for a living and work under their stupid regulations. Enough already.

James Falisi - April 10, 2015

I like a flat tax mainly because it is a more fair tax, and we could do away with the “IRS”!!!

Karen larson - April 10, 2015

To quote an old Pennsylvania dutch saying, “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get”. In other words, it seems that the tax code is specifically designed to steal from those of us who work for a living any opportunity for economic advancement. And the only reason for such terribly high taxes seems to be the advancement of carreer politicians, and their hugely wealthy donors. I support fair tax. Let’s make the system fair and simple for all of us !

G. J. Parmental - April 10, 2015

4,600 changes to the tax code in the past 10 years. 70% to 80% of errors cited by the IRS are incorrect. Even the IRS auditors do not understand all of the ins and outs, ifs and buts of the tax code. How could we the people possibly understand and comply with all the rules and regulations. Scrap it and start over.

Bill Padilla - April 10, 2015

The current tax code is too complicated, forcing many people to seek outside help for their tax return. National sales tax or a flat tax would be more fair.

Carole - April 10, 2015

Yes, REMOVE and REPLACE the tax code and the IRS. The FairTax taxes consumption rather than productivity at all levels and includes the elimination of the IRS. Tax collection is on new products and services by the seller at the time of sale, no longer individuals or businesses filing forms after the fact or being held responsible for understanding tax rules. Workers keep your whole paycheck and choose when to pay taxes based on your consumption activities. The tax base is spread out amongst all consumers (whoever they are) and not solely on the backs of those who work. Thus government revenues no longer fluctuate with every change of the workforce. No longer will politicians be able to pick winners and losers based on tax code loopholes or special interests. The flat tax on income was what started the whole messy tax code along with greedy, power hungry politicians who used it to gain more power and punish opposition. No more tax on income and productivity – eliminate all such taxes. Give the People back the power they were given by the Founders who did not want an income tax. Thank you!

Richard Topping - April 10, 2015

I made the usual financial contribution. I would appreciate a PayPal link. I believe this link would help you bring in more money. It is so fast, convenient. I make more contribution through PayPal, I do not care to give out my info over the Net.

Claire Crouch - April 10, 2015

I support tax reform but NOT FAIR TAX!!! Fair tax is progressive and a survival of the fittest philosophy. Means testing is not the way. A flat tax is the answer. No reform will eliminate the IRS entirely, but a flat tax eliminates the greatest portion of the IRS.

Keith Klose - April 10, 2015

When the 16th Amendment was passed in 1913, few Americans realized they had just voluntarily enslaved themselves to a voracious new master. We will not be free and the Federal vampire will continue to feed off of our life’s blood until we put a stake in the beast’s heart by repealing the 16th.

john l. hayes - April 10, 2015

any tax is repressive to the economy so the lower the tax the more the economy flourishes.the tax should be as simple and fair whatever the method is.i suggest the tax base should be spread out to cover as many taxpayers as possible thereby reducing the tax burden on everyone.

Robert Minor - April 10, 2015

I support an income tax revision as a flat tax or consummation tax. This will eliminate playing politics with our taxes. We will all pay the same, with no favoritism. We will bring back our manufacturing to the USA in lieu of sending it all to China. We can then balance our budget.
Robert Minor Jacksonville, IL.

Carman Conforti - April 10, 2015

I am in favor of tax reform as long as I know what the reform is before it is passed. No more ephemeral reform like the nonspecific “hope and change.” No more “we have to pass it so you know what is I it.”

Don Bickers - April 10, 2015

It has become way to complicated in the 52 plus years I have been filing. It seems that a flat tax for everyone would be fairer.

Annamarie Smoyer - April 10, 2015

I support elimination of the IRS. I is used as a weapon against citizens. Since I became more politically outspoken, the IRS appears to be constantly harassing me. I believe that most citizens FEAR the IRS and this is not to be accepted. Now is the time to repeal the IRS and implement a flat tax or a fair tax. Let’s do this while the IRS is in the news with its multiple attacks on citizens and its waste of money on useless things. Now is the time.

marylin - April 10, 2015

Federal government control over We The People has reached frightening proportions. The IRS continues to grow exponentially. I am fearful We will soon not be able to describe ourselves and our country in the glowing terms I learned and believed since childhood.

Ben Modica - April 10, 2015

I support Art Laffers 11.59% flat tax rate as this is the one major step that will lead to a major growth in the economy…

Charles McNeely - April 10, 2015

A “Flat Tax” legitimizes individuals who work on a Cash only basis, leaving the W-2 Employee still paying the great majority of individual income taxes. A National Sales Tax collects taxes when the income is spent, not when earned. It becomes irrelevant as to the source, legal or illegal. Most states have the infrastructure to collect sales tax already in place. IRS would still be relevant, as thousands of employers withhold FICA taxes and never remit it to the Treasury. I know of what I speak, as I am retired from IRS after 34 years as a tax auditor. BTW, I completely agree w/Mr.Gilliam’s comments.

John Ogle - April 10, 2015

I support a flat tax with no exemptions . everyone will be paying something maybe make them feel more responsible

Thomas Stade - April 10, 2015

You cannot allow the bureaucrats to decide the tax rate, whether it is a flat tax or fair tax…whats fair? and who decides?…it should be by the people, otherwise the bureaucrats will just keep on raising the rate and finding more ways to spend. CONSUMPTION TAX is the only way. If the people are prosperous they will spend and this way, the tax the government receives will be proportionate to the prosperity of the people. Also the lawmakers need an accountability law in place to make sure it operates within the budget an they are held responsible for incompetence… Keeping government spending in check.

Loyd Prior - April 10, 2015

I feel inclined to favor the Fair Tax as this would tax money spent regardless of how it was earned.
I strongly favor eliminating all deductions which would eliminate any potential use as a political weapon. Let people contribute to charitable places because the believe in them and not for tax deduction

Lloyd Carter - April 10, 2015

The only FIX for the tax code is elimination. Replace it with a fair National Sales Tax and abolish the over-bloated and punitive IRS as it has become a tool for the political class.

Wiley Brooks - April 10, 2015

Just finished computing my taxes on Turbo Tax. The complexity of the tax codes is beyond belief. Every member of Congress should have to complete their own tax forms. Confiscation of personal property is un-American. Let’s adopt the FairTax® and rid the country of this nightmare including the IRS.

ed spitzer - April 10, 2015

The tax code is too complex, plays favorites, and rares are excessive. I am a believer in Sir Occam’s Razor.

Anthony fox - April 10, 2015

My biggest complaint(amongst several) is that I get a modest pension from Canada from which the Canadians take a 15% tax and the US then taxes me on the pre -tax gross so I’m taxed on tax. I do not have enough income to get any tax credit. That’s an abusive tax system !

Michael kildall - April 10, 2015

As a fiscally responsible conservative I believe in spending within our means and making sure everyone has a share of the load. we already know that 47% or more of working class citizens do not pay income taxes and the upper 1% probably do not pay a proportionate share that the other 52% do. Who knows for sure? but a flat tax would eliminate all doubt if all loop holes and exemtions were not allowed.
A national sales tax is not feasable because the 16th amendment would need to be repealed and I don’t see that happening.

Joan Searles - April 10, 2015

A simpler method of tax must be considered. The one we now have is far too complicated and I doubt if the IRS or anyone else in the government knows exactly where our tax dollars are going. The IRS has far too much power. It needs a complete reform.

Gerald Dominick - April 10, 2015

I also do my own taxes using Turbo Tax. Even with Turbo Tax, it is long, drawn-out affair taking far too much time to complete the return. If it weren’t for that program, it would take the average individual the better part of a week to complete their taxes. Then with the IRS; just pray that the examiner reviewing your return isn’t having a bad day!

Michael Perdue - April 10, 2015

The tax code is used to punish any large conservative groups that goes against the group that is in power at the time. By sending the IRS to attack the conservative group it costs hundreds of thousands to defend themselves.

Herb1949 - April 10, 2015

I support REAL tax reform, however, in my life all tax reform has ever done is make things worse.
My first issue is the income tax itself. The government should have no access to what my income is, where it comes from, or how I spend it. None of their business.

Second issue is the progressive income tax, it is nothing but a device to keep poor people from accumulating wealth.

The only real fair tax would be a sales tax on everything but food, drugs and, maybe, housing, under a set amount, rent or buy. That way we could choose how much tax we would pay, and when. Want to buy a car, chose between a $15,000 Chevy or a $50,000 Buick, to control the amount of tax we pay.

Next we need to decide how much money the government will get and it would have to live within that amount, just like we have to.

Sales tax is the fairest way to collect taxes.

Dennis J. Greger - April 10, 2015

The Tax System for the last 60 years for the most part, has been hard to figure out for the majority of the American people and small businesses. I do believe in the ‘Kiss Rule’, for it cuts through all the BS that escapes most everyone. I have paid much attention to the Fair-Tax proposal that has been through the House and Senate for years. This would indeed cut through that BS. Simple and straightforward, is that to much to ask of OUR Leaders? Respectfully, Dennis J. Greger Sr.

william morgan - April 10, 2015

As long as we have criminals in charge of taxes it will not matter what system we use

Charles E. Millard - April 10, 2015

I support tax reform! I taught high school and community college math for 45 years, always preparing my 1040 IRS tax returns. Since retiring in 2000, I have found it necessary to consult a CPA for preparation due to increasing and conflicting regulations each succeeding year. Whether a flat or graduated tax, the need for reform–and simplification–is critical! Let’s do it!!
Hopefully, Charles E. Millard

Roy - April 10, 2015

A fair tax would be a tax on the use of money rather than on acquiring money. The taxes should not be on investments or savings but on all purchases. There should not be an income tax on businesses or corporations but corporations should be required to pay 90%of profits to stock holders.

Robert Achee - April 10, 2015

The Fair tax should get a serious look. It would reduce,if not, eliminate the IRS. Get most gray market money, eliminate the use of the income tax code as a favor to be lobbied for, and allow workers to keep ALL of their pay and most likely unleash the full force of the American economy. See Neil Boortz book “the Fair tax book”.

kenneth krause - April 10, 2015

The FairTax has been vetted as well as any tax reform proposal and has so many benefits that knowledgeable voters would choose it in a heartbeat if they were aware of the advantages. High points: it eliminates the IRS, it eliminates all the convoluted tax code, it spreads the tax burden to all, it’s revenue neutral, and it takes power out of Congress’ hands and puts it back in the hands of the citizens. Any other tax reform proposal can’t/won’t do all that–just invite more tinkering and tax shenanigans.

Fred Costello - April 10, 2015

1. I wish the article included what the tax rate would be in each of the alternatives and typical payments by taxpayers in all brackets.
2. A consumption tax is to be preferred because it will help the environment, reduce consumerism, encourage frugality, increase capital, and incentivize saving for retirement. I wonder why the environmentalists are not pushing a consumption tax. The chosen consumption tax should be the one that minimizes the cost of the system (for businesses that must keep track of sales; for government workers, including overhead; etc.) We need estimates of these costs so we can compare.

Donald Briere - April 10, 2015

Though I recognize that taxes are a necessary evil–I think that they are pure evil when 47% pay nothing. I am more that willing to pay my taxes, but I don’t think anyone should be exempt. A national sales tax would insure all pay. Lower income families can be given a rebate according to need.
Before this or any tax reform should be em-placed something need to be done about spending.

P.Kathy Kleiman - April 10, 2015

Any common sense person would know that as is everything else, our tax system is broken and Obama is just upset that his “wealth redistribution” plan didn’t hold. Too many of us are kids from immigrants from the ’20’s whose great grandparents immigrated from Russia or other parts of Eastern Europe and we know what is in store if Obama gets what he wants, and we have all heard of Resolution 21 from Jose Sorrano (D-CA). And then there is the UN situation and our sovereignty. But we all know that the IRS has been bilking the citizenry for so many years, making it so hard to understand, you cannot do your own taxes and thus, have no privacy at all. And what they can do to your life for just the thought of an audit and one major receipt that you do not have and you all of a sudden owe thousands. We all know the US has been stealing from the citizens through the IRS for years. But how do you fix a Leviathan? You don’t fix something there is no hope of fixing, you throw it away and begin something totally different and made for the 21st century. I appreciate these updates and although I pay no taxes as I am on disability and on Widow’s benefits, I do have a 22 yr old in college full time, working full time and now they have chosen her out of her entire class for the Recruitment for the Canine Division to see if that is what she really wants to do. She is so irrepressibly incredible. And everything I learn from Hillsdale Constitution 101 & 201 she knows as well, she helps me study for the quizzes and she knows if she hears one thing pushing Liberalism to question it and have a really good argument as to why that Professor is wrong and then, why is he/she even pushing a political argument in the classroom. I would love to be a fly on the wall if that ever happened. I like Paul’s idea. But anything will be better as soon as we eliminate the IRS. Wasn’t it Reagan who told us how many millions of dollars of gold we had in our treasury and that we didn’t own an ounce of it. Well just think about now! Live Love from the great Republic of Texas! P. Kathy Kleiman The Editing Chair: An Established Research Company San Antonio, TX

Lawrence J Zucal - April 10, 2015

The article on taxes was very enlightening because it showed how all 4 plans are similar and how they work. Tax reform is a must that has to be done before long so that the benefits that are shpown in future years will benefit everyone. I am fortunate in that I am able to deduct my donations to 503(c)3 organizations that I want to get the excess part of my income that helps them and helps me to keep my taxes down in the low 10% range. These deductions (or non consumptions) must be kept available so that those organizations are able to do jobs that are not done by government. The obvious savings that will accrue when the huge IRS beaurocracy is one of the main reasons that tax reform is needed – especially the part that sets limits on how they control non-profits. What they got away with is almost criminal. Keep up the great work and keep the reports coming. A knowledgeable public is a better public.

mike hayek - April 10, 2015

Any tax reform plan that does not eliminate the IRS is not reform enough. We need to go back to how it was before 1913 by eliminating the IRS and the 16th amendment which created it and authorized an income tax on citizens. We are now effectively paying the consumption tax anyhow because businesses have to increase their prices of the goods and services they provide to pay their business income taxes and other taxes. And to make it worse, we consumers are paying for these goods and services with our already taxed income. Once taxed should be enough. I like the concept of not taxing exports, taxing imports and having everybody who purchases goods and services, including cheats, crooks and even people visiting our country, to help finance our government and country whenever they purchase goods or services.

Barry Everett - April 10, 2015

Of course. Anyone with a ounce of progmatism in their bones know we must.
The main challenge is how to get politicians who are mainly concerned about how to get elected next time around the courage to take away some of our entitlements. I will advise mine I would be willing. After all I do have children and grandchildren.
Barry Everett

Jacqueline - April 10, 2015

The tax code is so complicated one can’t comprehend what’s in it’s pages. It’s complexity adds to the cost of filing correctly. It’s time for reform.

P Kosak - April 10, 2015

After doing my own taxes (Joint) for over 50 yrs, and observing year after year yet an other “adjustment, credit, or some other benefit in the Tax Code to some SPECIAL INTEREST group: I believe the majority of tax payers now enjoy some unique benefit/credit adjustment (yours truly included) and,as a result is unlikely to want to alter the Code even if it could be simplified/shortened (say, like a VAT or national Sales Tax)!

Charlie - April 10, 2015

Our current tax laws are like a Danforth anchor the harder the resistance the deeper the anchor digs into the seabed . The IRS has so many regulations that a computer is the only way anyone can comply to these regulations because of the complexity.

Christa - April 10, 2015

A flat tax would be much better, the current system too complicated

John Thompson - April 10, 2015

Reform is just not enough! We need a complete overhaul of how taxes in the US are applied to all legal residents. Additionally, a fair tax that includes corporate tax as well as individual tax needs to be established so that it becomes a truly ‘Fair Tax’. The IRS is an absolute burden to all taxpayers and prey on every individual. We can only prepare our tax returns on the very small amount of knowledge we have of taxation while the IRS sets there with every conceivable rebuttal to anything we feel is not taxable. We have no place to go for relief. A fair tax, and reduced IRS is the least we need!

Linda Kimbell - April 10, 2015

I am 74 years old and retired. I have done my own taxes all my life. I do have a background in accounting and finance, but the complexity of the tax code now is almost beyond understanding. I have used Turbo Tax for a number of years and am thankful for it. Seniors are punished by the way the amount of taxable social security is calculated. The amount not taxed should have been indexed to the CPI, but it is not, and more seniors are taxed on more of their income every year. We need to throw and most of the tax code and start over with a tax code that is simple, fair and understandable. I tend to lean toward a flat tax.

Robert Roark - April 10, 2015

I believe the Fair Tax is the best solution. It achieves all the goals set forth as needed for a logical tax system. It’s great advantage is that it is a system that Congress cannot easily manipulate as they’ve done with the present system. All other proposals are subject to this inherent pressure.

Morris Weyers - April 10, 2015

The system that I have studied most is the Fair Tax. One of the mandates of any reform must be the elimination of the IRS. It seems that is possible with the Fair Tax.

Joyce Benton - April 10, 2015

I believe we need to have tax reform immediately. 1. Less complicated tax will save so much money for the maintenance fees for the huge IRS organization. It will save much of the time & energies for the unnecessary tense, time for the tax return seasons from people, business and Gov’t . Moreover, it will definitely stop the bullying behaviors to innocent people with different opinions from Gov’t or IRS for good. 2. We should apply the low flat tax format & higher sales tax to every working people and visitors or employees with the visa permit. Whoever, spend in US, they will be obligated to pay the sales tax as now. Foreigners work here with the visa permit, they will be obligated to pay the tax here. It will form the good habit of responsibility for every person. Although we are not rich to subject the death tax for now. However, I believe it’s not fair to people who earned money through their hard working or through the hard working from their upper generations. We can only encourage them to donate instead of forcing. It’s against r freedoms of property and entrepreneurship. It will discourage the spirit of entrepreneurship. It can make us one step quicker to the Communism ideology. It will naturally raise and bring the hatreds toward to the rich through the tax punishment. It is not the American spirit. It will also against our Founding Father’s will for Americans to enjoy our liberty and entrepreneurship which is guaranteed by the constitutions. It will also slow down our innovation spirit and slow down our economy. We have many good way to make our economy booming and secure our country’s financial stability and even get rich or much richer again. I have some very good ideas to make this happen for our country to be much better off instead divide and punish the rich from the poor. It’s not the time for me to say my idea yet.

Robert Seklemian - April 10, 2015

Economists claim that to discourage production of something just tax it. Our income tax is counter productive. It should be replaced by a flat consumption tax which would encourage production of incomes.

John H. Patten - April 10, 2015

The FairTax is the only answer to the Federal Taxation mess. What makes it so simple is that it is not based on income. The present system is so complex mainly because it is based on income. A candidate should make the FairTax their primary talking point.

Virginia Ryerson - April 10, 2015

Tax reform is necessary in order to correct Obama’s redistribution of our nation’s wealth. Poor people do not hire others, only the wealthy do. The poor do not open large businesses only the wealthy do. With wealth redistribution there will eventually be no wealthy to hire others. The more people that work the better the economy will be.

Byron Boan - April 10, 2015

Our economy would flourish if we had a flat tax and a smaller fair tax, so every person will pay income tax. Fifty per cent do not pay any income tax now.

Sharon Minton - April 11, 2015

The tax credits, deductions, etc. change as often as the weather, making filing a gamble for the individual. The deductions should are often covered by business through discounts and promotions on sales, so why should the government benefit a class of filers. The flat tax should work more efficiently for the wider population and businesses in the US and abroad.

George Miller - April 11, 2015

I find your tax reform proposals both reasonable and comprehensive. Thus, I would favor any National tax reform that encompasses your proposals.

I agree that a tax enforcing agency would still be required, but it would have far less power and over-reach than exists with the current IRS. Limiting Federal power is generally always beneficial.

Ted Sudderth - April 11, 2015

This may be off subject but this will be my 3rd try at an answer.I have been somewhat critical on my congress woman’s voting so when the vote was cast on funding Homeland Security she gave me her answer. All I ask is do you believe it to be accurate? Thanks, I think–Ted

Dear Friend,
Earlier this week Congress acted to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the end of the current fiscal year. Under no circumstances was I going to let DHS shut down.
The threats facing the United States today are as serious as they were immediately before September 11th, 2001. I do not believe that shutting down the department that oversees transportation security, border security and critical counterterrorism efforts would be in the best interest of our country.
Unfortunately, there is some misinformation about the bill in terms of what was actually funded. The bill that was signed into law did not provide any funding for President Obama’s illegal executive actions on immigration. The funding for implementation of his executive actions is not appropriated by Congress. The funding for the President’s actions would come from fees paid by immigrants who are seeking legal status. Therefore, the office in DHS tasked with carrying out his actions would remain open whether or not DHS was shut down. President Obama would have to voluntarily rescind his executive actions or he would have to sign legislation into law doing so and he is not going to take either course of action.
A few weeks ago a Texas court issued an order blocking the President’s unconstitutional executive actions from being carried out. This ruling proves that the President’s actions were illegal. I believe the legal system is the best chance to permanently stop the executive actions from being implemented.
I have never agreed with the President’s illegal executive actions on immigration. I continue to believe that more should be done to stop his unconstitutional overreach of presidential authority, but I do not believe shutting down a vital part of homeland security accomplishes that goal; especially when it would not hold the President accountable or stop his executive actions from being implemented.
Sincerely,

Kay Granger
Member of Congress

Kevin Emahiser - April 11, 2015

Yes,the current system corrupted, broken, & out of control.

Peter Kessler - April 11, 2015

My wife is a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). She started slogging through our taxes yesterday afternoon using Turbo Tax; was up until 2:00 a.m. She might be finished by later this afternoon.

There must be a better way.

One more thing: I believe every American, regardless of income, should pay SOME tax. Call it “skin in the game,” or whatever, but everyone should have to participate in the process to experience the frustration of filing a return.

Margaret Barnes - April 11, 2015

We certainly need a tax reform: a flat tax seems both uncomplicated and even-handed so that all who make a living are taxed according to the amount they make. I think child and mortgage deductions are also good for the country, but perhaps to every group that DOES get a c-3 rating there does need to be a limit, which I think there is…

albert - April 11, 2015

I operate my life on the KISS principle.
Keep it simple stupid. Our tax code should
be so simple that the typical high school
grad can explain ‘who, what, why, how,
when’ in any tax discussion….I think most
simple approaches will suffice (Flat, VAT,
or ?) Each affects the national outcomes
in unique ways and that should be a congressional discussion/determination.

Russ Knight - April 11, 2015

Let’s return to the beginning of the 20th century when the government was not allowed to tax our income. Repeal the 16th amendment. Return government to what the founders intended.

Robert Attaway - April 11, 2015

I don’t like the national sales tax option. Here in Texas I run my own business and the sales tax is extremely burdensome to keep track of the proper way. I do service all over Dallas and Fort Worth area, every service call that I do I am suppose to bill and keep track of the sales tax rate of that city, county, transportation district, etc. So if I do 100 service calls in 100 different location I have to bill and track 100 different tax rates.

Glenn Sheridan - April 11, 2015

The current tax system is the same as the death panels in Obamacare.. Every year I pay for my own funeral.

Marc Noel - April 11, 2015

Government is out of control. It needs to be reduced in size and scope. We know better than the government what to do with our money.
Cut all politicians salaries in half. And I do mean all. This will show you who is there for their own benefit or is there looking out for the country. Limit terms for all positions from the top down.

Lydia Hester - April 11, 2015

The current tax code is an abomination: far too long, too complex, unfair in both substance and implementation. A national sales (fair or VAT) tax would probably most equitable, but only if the 16th Amendment were to be repealed first and the substitute system ready to go into operation on repeal. With no tax on income, savings, gifts, or estates, the individual would have to file no return. His tax would be determined by what he spent–his choice. Of course, this would only truly work if the states followed a similar system. If the 16th Amendment were not repealed, the fallback choice would be the Flat Tax.

janice lewis - April 11, 2015

I am almost 80 years old, and to this date, I have never been able to figure a tax return for my simple earnings. I swear they make it so hard so you pay an “expert” to do it for you, which is so sad, it should be simple and easy for anyone to do on their own and eliminate all the IRS workers who don’t know anymore than I do.

Jim Fisher - April 11, 2015

We must reduce corporate tax rates to help our corporations compete anywhere in the world, and stop complaining about US Corp paying taxes in foreign countries where they have sales/mfg sites.

Hans Collins - April 11, 2015

The tax code should be revised from top to bottom, for individuals and business. It is far too complex and loaded with breaks for all sorts of special interests. Proper tax reform would provide a tremendous boost to the economy and return corporate profits held abroad to be reinvested in the national economy. Overhauling the tax code is a no brainer, but Congress lacks the courage to do it.

Charlie Arnold - April 11, 2015

I have always done my own taxes. Recently I have begun to use TaxACT in addition to filling out the forms myself as a check. I am 75 and my retirement consists entirely of Social Security, Military pension and IRA disbursements. I cannot believe how much is taken out of my income by the IRS, State, and local taxes each year. And I have been particularly angry about having to pay taxes on monies I have already paid taxes on once before. I have used a financial system my mother introduced me to when I was young. I call it the “envelope system”. Before there were spreadsheets on home computers I maintained actual envelopes filled each payday with our mortgage payment, car payment, utilities, groceries, insurance, charities, clothes, home maintenance, entertainment, etc., etc. When computers came along I had all my income direct deposited and converted my envelopes to a virtual envelope spreadsheet system and have maintained such a home financial system ever since. My income has always been divided among the envelopes, real or virtual, based on a budget for each envelope. If income were less at times I covered the essential envelopes such as mortgage payment¸ charity, utilities, or groceries, while having to cut back on clothes and entertainment. I always believed our government should earmark its income and budget in a similar manner. Furthermore I believe it should do this by use of a flat tax, simple, that could be accomplished on a postcard sized form and payable by all but the poorest in our land who I would have pay no taxes at all. This tax should cover the essentials as stipulated in our constitution such as our military to protect us from all enemies of the United States. It should pay for the representatives of our government, and for the essential infrastructure of our country. The IRS would exist on a significantly lower level to collect this flat tax.

JENNY BROWN - April 11, 2015

Absolutely………..no one can really understand the codes they are just afraid of the audits and the fines and persecution.!

Brian L - April 11, 2015

As a conservative I completely agree with the urgency of tax reform, especially simplification — the cost of administering our bloated, intricate tax code is staggering (what is the annual budget for the IRS alone?). BUT I think we underestimate the problem even if the simplification logic is compelling: the tax code got this way because it’s impregnated with thousands of policy decisions, many of which “we the people” happen to like (anyone ready to give up their mortgage interest deduction?). Every REAL proposal to radically simplify the tax code will be met with outrage by the current beneficiaries of all of these policy decisions. Average Americans are going to have to be shown how a dramatically simplified tax system helps their wallets…in order to overcome the liberal narrative that will be screamed from the rooftops (a.k.a. national media) in opposition to all the tax incentives and disincentives that will have to die, taking their cherished policy ideas with them.

Geoffrey Chapman - April 11, 2015

I have before me my father’s 1949 IRS Tax Form. It is ONE page. How much did you earn? Do you own or rent? Married or single? Number of dependents? Any other income to report? Amount you owe, or refund. That’s it. It probably took no more than 20 or 30 minutes to complete.
My tax form this year is 40 pages. It took days to complete.
What has happened over 65 years to bring us to this ridiculous IRS paperwork conundrum?
Have we come so far to lose our way?

Tonia Locker - April 11, 2015

The IRS and our present tax system
has to go. I can find no other logical explanation for the American tax payer getting poorer while the elected officials get richer than the fact that we are watching massive theft of our hard earned income by the very people we elect. We don’t go to
work to support welfare or people who do
not belong in our country. We don’t want welfare exchanged for votes. We want to
vote on how we are taxed. Get the
government out of our pockets. If you do not pay taxes or you are on welfare you should not get to vote to tax those who do.
In my mind that is theft.

Larry DeBerry - April 11, 2015

There is not doubt we need tax reform but along with that we need to know why we need taxes in the first place? When I see where some of our tax money is spent I get mad. I do not want to have the federal government “invest” my tax dollars. I expect to pay for things that actually benefit those who pay taxes.

Linda - April 11, 2015

The more complicated the tax code is, the greater the political manipulation.

J - April 11, 2015

I would like to see a flat tax and do away with the IRS.

Isaac Ocansey - April 11, 2015

I do support tax reform. Such, taxes should be kept as low as possible, when need be, to stimulate investment and growth. By boosting productivity, via, curtailing cost reasonably, it ushers increased revenue, which, in-turn is achieved by the changing pattern of our middle class on votes, that are deem-able to provide self fulfilling and satisfying. When lower taxes are ushered, produce becomes less expensive, which ignite the notion of progression. This mode variably builds energy in our middle class and the goal getter mode of productivity is attained, which ignite income sensitivity, example, overtime. Taxability, the goal getter joyfully and fully implement his fair share of the tax due.

Dean Peugh - April 11, 2015

Everyone everyone should pay their equal share of taxes everyone

Joseph Corege Jr - April 11, 2015

Need flat tax of 105 & no more. withhold 10% from all taxable distributions and we will not have to Fill out tax forms ever again. NO VAT or FED SALES TAX. State city county are enough. Remove Fed TAX on gasoline along with FED EXCISE as well. 10% Is to much to run FED GVT. There should be a surpluss. Fed has no business in EPA,AIG,EDUCATION,. Need to sell half the property in DC and cut Fer employment in half. IF you cannt or do not have the guts for this, I WILL BE VERY HAPPY TO DO IT FOR YOU.

Robert Ackert - April 11, 2015

I would like a straight tax or a Fair tax little to no deductions. Phase out house deductions etc.

Patrick O’Lone - April 11, 2015

I agree something should be done about the tax code. However I am concerned about the proposed National sales tax. I don’t understand why it is being called the “Fair Tax”!. unless I am missing something. It would have seniors paying taxes on money they have already paid taxes on since we buy things with funds from our 401k and similar plans. We also have paid taxes on Social security Pensions since payments into Social Security were not Deductible!

Robert & Naida Rohrbach - April 11, 2015

We are in our 80’s, There has been talk of wanting the tax copy changed to a simple consurmer tax as long as I can remember. There are many other things in the administration that is a great concern. How do we get them to do anything, even the Republicans?

Ron Wedekind - April 11, 2015

The Fair Tax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS [Neal Boortz, John Linder] was written with input with many briliant miinds contritution, This would put an end to unemployment, brign trillions of dollars back to the USA and stop the give away programs as they are today. The problem is that we don’t have legislatures with integreity, honor and a back bone to stop lininginng their pockets with the lobeist and lies. Can you imanage no April 15th. The taxes would be collected along with state tax at the point of sale on NEW FINISHED PRODUCTS. The people of need would receive a check monthly up to the poverity level and you would have to have a Social Security Number for the checks to be sent. This would automatically reduce illigal immagration. It is a shame our elected officials can’t take time to honestly researce THE “FAIRTAX”, pros and cons, and due the thing that would save our Blessed Countyy.

Trish - April 11, 2015

I would like to see the IRS gone. Unfortunately , Congress won’t do anything that means they will lose power. I think we should abolish the death. That money is for you family and the government should keep their hands off it.

Alan Mast - April 11, 2015

Every citizen needs to have an investment in their government. A flat tax gives every citizen the same percent investment. As each only gets one vote, it is fair. Some invest more in our economy than others and should not be denied a larger return on their higher risk.

N. Barton - April 11, 2015

Yes, the US needs tax reform desperately! I am a retired CPA and know through continuing education that the tax laws, regulations, etc. are way too complicated. Staffing to comply is asignificant cost to businesses; it is a support function, non value added to the product or service. Individual Americans struggle to prepare their returns or must pay to have them prepared and do not understand them. Finally, I believe all Americans should pay some tax but there are many who do not…and not just because of loopholes available to high earners.

Tedd Kunkel - April 11, 2015

We need either a national consumption tax or a flat tax and nothing more. Simp!e. No more government manipulation of our lives.

Willmen D. Hesler - April 11, 2015

Tax reform is needed to reduce the size of the Federal Government, reduce Federal corruption and provide more freedom to the governed.

Herman Moon - April 11, 2015

The Fair Tax seems to be the most simple and best of the proposed reforms, but we must not provide for both an Income based Tax and a Sales Tax at the Federal level. The current system is hopelessly complicated.

Rachel Verdon - April 11, 2015

“Each of the tax reform plans described here would aid Congress in reforming the IRS. Since each of them would make enforcing the new tax code simpler than under the current system, they would all allow a considerably smaller revenue agency.”

The “New Flat Tax” nullifies the FLATNESS. Why are we restoring all the exemptions? Ridiculous. There is NOTHING “simple” about this New Flat Tax!
Abolish all the exemptions and abolish the IRS.

The FICA tax is also spent by Congress as income tax. There is no “locked box.” Get rid of FICA. Privatize the Entitlements.
Pay off the unfunded Entitlement liabilities by auctioning off Federal lands, the BLM holds 50% of all US land today worth quadrillions of dollars in assets. Chile did this and their privatized entitlement system is a success story!

Next, auction off all the government bureaucracies. They are levying unconstitutional “hidden taxes” as fines and fees.

All of this is an exercise in futility when the Federal Reserve Board is printing trillions of dollars in funny money. Shut down the Federal Reserve Board and Banks first. Then adopt Steve Forbes’ “Flat Tax Revolution.”

Rachel Verdon - April 11, 2015

Maybe the Federal Government could print up a 74,000 page copy of the IRS Tax Code and deliver it to each taxpayer like the old AT&T Yellow Pages so we might better understand all the laws, loopholes and lobbyist perks and regulations?

harry carroll - April 12, 2015

I am in favor of tax reform. Should be a national sales tax and only a national sales taxes! Eliminate Business / corporate tax – Corporations never pay taxes – they just pass the “tax” they are required to “collect” to their consumers, i.e. it is a misleading / hidden tax. Also, would save companies millions of dollars to administer this “tax collection service” which would substantially boost the economy. Income tax should be eliminated. A national sales tax would ensure that “richer” people would pay more by the nature of their spending but this would promote saving and investing. Finally, 1) government should be required to balance the budget (except in time of war) 2) all laws passed should equally apply to all government employees (Social Security, Health Care etc.) 3) Term limits. These items should be addressed via constitutional amendments – Washington will never pass these on their own

Roberto Antonio Rossetti - April 12, 2015

What began as something simple in 1913, such as a 3% on income that in those days was pereceived as large, has burgeoned into a large volume of more than ten thousand pages of what is taxable and when and how exemptions apply. It has become so complicated that even two IRS agents can’t agree interpretation. The IRS itself has become an irresponsible, overblown, and an expensive agency that we can do without It should be abolished..A Fair Tax or a Flat Tax will simplify the reporting process and there should be a small revenue receiveing agency with

Roberto Antonio Rossetti - April 12, 2015

(continued) congressional oversight.

David Winter - April 12, 2015

A tax on Income is a regressive tax and hurts our economy. We need to eliminate it and the IRS and go to the Fair Tax which taxes consumption. This simple change from income tax to consumption tax removes politicians tinkering with tax code and puts decision making back in hands of private citizens where it belongs…

Mark Schwenne - April 12, 2015

A system the average person can not understand is designed purposely to create confusion and lawlessness. My top CPA firm can hardly keep up with the rule changes much less me “Joe Average”. As some suggest, fire the IRS, burn the tax codes and replace with a federal sales tax. hmm What would lawyers and CPA’s say?

James Pacocha - April 12, 2015

Tax reform should be among any candidates top priorities. A simple flat reasonable rate that makes filing simple and easy for all. The IRS has again become a corrupt political tool and should be eliminated.

James D Marshall - April 12, 2015

I support tax reform. This year I have volunteered as a tax preparer at our local Senior Center. I have seen close up and firsthand how complicated our tax system has become. Our citizens should not have to pay someone to complete their taxes. Yet, those who come to us for our free service tell us of paying hundreds of dollars in past years just to have someone do their taxes. Why? Because the forms and instructions are so complicated. I have seen tax payers on the verge of tears because of the burden of our tax system. We desperately need a simplified and fair system. Congress needs to step forward and provide one.

Dennis Eben - April 12, 2015

I support tax reform because the tax code has become so onerous and subject to so many abuses by the IRS that we need to revise it to be very easy to understand and follow. I would like to understand the differences between all the proposed revisions.

John Porter - April 12, 2015

I support tax reform because the current tax system is an abomination that no one person can understand and this complexity costs our society millions of dollars every year in the effort spent to minimize taxes, to keep track of all profit, loss and deductible expenses and filing the return, Last, but certainly not least it has become a tool of certain members of congress to reward special interests with deductions and credits in return for which they may reap large donations from their benefactors. I favor the consumption tax (national sales tax) approach similar to House Bill H.R. 25 and Senate S 155. because of the simplicity and the fact that it would expand the base of taxpayers from approximately 50 million taxpayers to 350 million taxpayers. I oppose the Value Added Tax concept because of the complexity & uncertainty of computing “value” and the fact that it results in a higher end product cost or price to the end purchaser which represents a penalty to all U.S. manufacturers competing in the global market. The concept delineated in H.R. 25 and S 155 allows us to collect taxes from everyone in the U.S., legal or illegal aliens, criminals and citizens that buys a new product or service. It changes the role of the IRS from scrutinizing citizen taxpayer affairs to that of scrutinizing businesses who sell products and services; so the number of targets of IRS surveillance and auditors is a much smaller number.

Jerry Metcalf - April 12, 2015

Yes I support tax reform. I think the 15% flat tax would be great.

Michael C Phillips - April 13, 2015

I support the “Fair Tax”. As I understand, the fair tax is a tax on products and services one chooses to incur upon themselves. If one does not desire to procure either products or services than they can bank their honest work achievements rather than be taxed for them.

Other than that, I am of the inclination as Dr Ben Carlson and believe that the Biblicle tithing of the first ten% to do Gods bidding and keep the other 90% for your contribution to society as a contributing member. Since government has taken on the place of God then government should be able to get by with 10% except that government is made up of greedy people not even closely associated with God.

Our Forefathers were principled individuals clearly immersed in Religion (Christian) and far superior to our present individuals that are presently calling for an Article V constitutional amendment. Beware the dangers involved with this action. An Article V Constitutional Amendment was what happened in 1787 when the delegates to that convention were supposed to “Just tweak the Articles of Confederation”. Our Constitution is no where close to the Articles of Confederation that were to be just tweaked.

There is a reason that all of our amendments to our Constitution have been proposed by Congress and voted upon by the states.

An Article V Constitutional convention (Convention of the States) opens up the Constitution for all sorts of nefariousness while an amendment proposed by Congress opens up the discussion to only one amendment at a time.

Howard Woods - April 13, 2015

Unfortunately “tax reform” is just newspeak for “taxx increase”. Spending reform must come first! Do away with baseline budget automatic increases in spending every year, PERIOD. Until Congress passes a spending reduction plan, 50% of all gov’t employee pay and benefits go toward paying down the debt. (they created it, let them pay it!)

Jim Ehrenfried - April 13, 2015

I fully support tax reform. Our system is the most stupid, difficult thing I have ever done. A flat tax would work for us all.

Larry Nester - April 13, 2015

Tax reform (or tax cuts) will do little good or even do harm, if significant entitlement reforms, spending reductions, agency closures, and overseas military reductions are not implemented. The tax structure needs to be simpler and more efficient, but our government primarily has a spending problem, not a taxing problem.

Richard Strzepek - April 13, 2015

Tired of the arbitrary double and triple taxation on income and investment income as well as inheritance taxes. It’s about time that a simple and fair tax system be imposed. Business should succeed or fail as a result of supply and demand – no subsidies, tax breaks, Industrial Development Agency auctions of the peoples money. Thomas Jefferson warned about taxing people in their meat and drink. We’re way beyond that now.

Wayne Blake - April 13, 2015

I support ta reform. I like the VAT so that everyone pays when they purchase items. I believe we need a basic scrub down of the federal budget. There is probably 15-20% of waste, fraud and abuse in the budget. We should work to eliminate duplicate agencies and rework our welfare system to help those who are truly in need, And balance the federal budget in 5 years not 10.

Donald Welch - April 13, 2015

Explanations given for tax reform were well thought out and correct in all aspects. The economic objectives can in my opinion be met by removing the present tax code and replacing it with the National Sales Tax or (Fair Tax). When an individual receives his/her full pay check, he or she is more apt to put the extra money into savings or to spend it. Also it would greatly reduce the number of employees in the IRS bureaucracy.

Kenneth Payauys - April 13, 2015

Since 1992, TaxCut & H&R Block Home Deluxe software have done my Federal & State taxes. Since about 2004, I have advocated for The Flat Tax (Robert Hall’s & Alvin Rabushka’s original work and 1995 update). The so call “Fair Tax” in not fair: It is a hidden tax (buried in the cash register receipt price – Congress can change it and you, the consumer, wouldn’t know)! Reportedly, the IRS Tax Code contains more pages than the Bible, which makes the code (Title 26 – INTERNAL REVENUE CODE) WAY TOO COMPLICATED! The excellent Heritage “Tax Reform Primer for the Presidential Candidates” article (April 7, 2015) convinced me that the Retail Sales Tax – a consumption tax – is a best method to adopt: It meets the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid! Hall and Rabushka (Economists) were right-on four decades ago: Congress has been delinquent about correcting the U.S.A. federal tax system ever since. KP

Paulette Bryson - April 13, 2015

I would like a flat tax so everyone will pay the same percentage of what they earn.

Jeff Schroeder - April 14, 2015

I believe replacing the tax code with a consumption tax is the only way to really energize the economy. The upper end of society don’t pay income taxes nor do corporations, only you and I. I think this one factor is the jump starter for America.

Henry C. Holder - April 14, 2015

Yes, I support tax reform. Reform should simplify taxes, i.e. flat tax, etc. and eliminate the IRS. You would save mega bucks by eliminating the IRS – people also lawyers and accountants. Potentially truth and accuracy would result.

Howard L,. Wilson - April 14, 2015

The federal Government is Bankrupt, exhibited at: http://www.USDebtClock.org
My debts exceed $600,000 As such, I would require money that has value, such that I could sell some of the scrap in my yard, for Money, rather than giving it to the Town of Andover, with no return to me.

Richard Clark - April 15, 2015

There is no question that the complexity of the tax code stifles business and wastes time and money for both the citizens and the government. The only chance we have of ever paying down the massive debt and employing the middle class in well paying jobs is through growth of the economy, and the existing tax code is holding our economy back.

William B. Powell - April 15, 2015

The identity of “who does not favor tax return” might be an interesting and helpful arrow in our quiver. Heritage experts probably already have completed this exercise. If so, please consider publishing it.

The Heritage “A Tax Reform Primer for the 2016 Presidential Candidates” is outstanding. It is on my computer desktop for my easy and frequent access. I am not a candidate but I promise to us it.

Many thanks to Heritage Foundation economists Curtis Dubay and David Burton for authoring the primer and the Foundation for making it widely available.

William B. Powell

ChuckB - April 15, 2015

So far, candidates have been talking about moving our country into the 21st Century. If they are truly sincere, why do they keep trying to convince us that tweaking and tinkering with an antiquated, corrupt, immoral income tax system is going to move us in any direction other than back into the 20th Century. This tinkering scheme has been tried many times before with the current situation being the result. There is a fresh way to really point us in the right direction: The Fair Tax Act of 2015, HR 25 and S 155 in the Congress. Yes! I know. There are a couple of people out there who write scathing anti-FairTax (a Registered Trademark) screeds to head fake you into not informing yourself about the proposal. No one knows why they want to hang on to the income tax. However not knowing about the FairTax can be easily remedied by reading two 4-page White Papers for the correct view. Nothing could be more simple: repeal all individual and corporate income taxes, eliminate the IRS within three years of enactment, destroy all known income tax data and replace it all with a simple, single rate consumption tax collected once at retail only on new products and services for individual use. You pay the FairTax on a purchase, you’re done with federal taxes until your next purchase. For more information, read the two papers below:

FairTax Overview/Prebate 2015

FairTax Overview 2015
http://fairtax-psyclone.netdna-ssl.com/media/attachments/54998dfe2017a864640002ce.pdf?1423202589

FairTax Prebate Explained 2015
http://fairtax-psyclone.netdna-ssl.com/media/attachments/549999512017a86464000320.pdf?1419352401

Mark Avery - April 15, 2015

In one way or another, nearly every thinking person supports tax reform. Sadly, that is pretty much where unity ends.

I am thoroughly amazed by the number of people who argue for a flat tax and simultaneously advocate for eliminating the IRS. The two are mutually exclusive.

Any tax on income requires that tax be collected from anyone who has income. Depending on how that is defined, it can include personal wages/salaries, business income, interest, dividends, capital gains, and other sources. The more identified sources, the more complex the system, and the more difficult it is for people to understand. (Government currently counts on that, knowing that nobody would support the current system if they understood it.) Although every flat tax proposal defines it differently, they all have one thing in common – the tax is on income, and the number of sources from which the tax is collected is not significantly different from the current system, and every proposal still includes each source paying that tax directly to the Federal government, with enforcement of those payments also by the Federal government. Arguing for a flat tax and abolition of the IRS can only happen if some other Federal agency is created to manage receipt, audit, and enforcement. Abolishing the IRS and keeping a flat tax (or any other tax on income) means replacing it with an agency with some other name, but it’s still the IRS.

The only one of the listed proposals which does not require a Federal agency is a retail sales tax of some flavor because all but a few states already have a sales tax collection and enforcement infrastructure in place. In addition, the Federal retail sales tax portion would be embedded in the advertised sale price of each item, replacing the current embedded taxes which are already included but not specified. There is a portion of the collected tax that is designated to pay for the collection service that the Federal government would levy upon the retail sales points; that percentage would be held by the store from the collected taxes prior to forwarding the remainder.

Want it to be flat? Then don’t include the prebate associated with the FairTax as proposed. The demagogues would call that regressive because a greater portion of low income individuals would be spent and, therefore, taxed. This is why the FairTax includes a prebate to cover the cost of taxes included in the level of spending required to survive. As a realist, I recognize that a truly flat retail sales tax will never get passed without a wholesale replacement of Congress. As described in the article, the FairTax is progressive, but only mildly so, and the progression decreases as wealth (and therefore spending) increases. It would be possible to pay no tax by spending at the subsistence or survival level only (the article calls it poverty level, but that is not an accurate characterization of the FairTax prebate). It is absurd to call the FairTax unfair because it is included in the sale price of an item – if anything, it’s more fair for that very reason because people will know better what to expect at checkout than with a tax added on after the fact. The argument that Congress could change it and we wouldn’t know assumes you aren’t paying attention. Several proposals have already suggested having the amount of tax paid broken out at the end of the receipt by both percentage and total dollars – for those who aren’t paying attention, that would certainly make it clear. (Of course, it wouldn’t necessarily mean they would start paying attention since they already are used to that mode.) Doing so would be a very simple software change to the point of sale software.

In no case can a retail sales tax be equated to a Value Added Tax. Anyone who does so fails to understand the meaning of the word retail.

A prerequisite for any national retail sales tax method for funding the essential functions of the Federal government is the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment and the authority to tax income it grants. Failure to do that could well result in taxing both income and consumption resulting in double taxation.

I appreciate the linked article’s objectivity. The Heritage Foundation has long advocated for a flat tax. I do find it amusing that they try to say all the listed taxes are consumption taxes based on formulae of varying complexity. The New Flat Tax comes closer than any of the others, but it’s still an income tax; i.e., paid based income, not on consumption and at that point.

Until we get rid of the notion that taxing income and savings are a reasonable way to fund government, we will be stuck with the IRS or a rose by some other name.

Jim Dick - April 16, 2015

I support tax overhaul, not just reform.

The best option is the FairTax, legislation currently in both houses of Congress….

Richard Harding - April 16, 2015

We critically need tax reform; but, trying to get concenous on what is required will take a special task force to make recommendations.

Jeannette Griessel - April 16, 2015

We need a flat tax where no deductions are possible to skirt every individual’s and industrial responsibility to America where we have the freedom to purchase, build, grow, and prosper without running to another country to avoid paying. It is also much too complicated for an average person or family to work things to their best advantage in our current form. It could much more fair for all citizens and businesses. Also, get rid of the ACA which drains much of our tax money when each family or individual should be able to work out their own on the economy. What we had before the ACA was much less expensive, and there was much more freedom in choosing our plans, our doctors, our prescriptions, etc. We also could avoid or get rid of our IRS. Thank You!

Tom Daily - April 16, 2015

Congress should eliminate the tax code and the Internal Revenue Service ( as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). Congress should put in place a flat tax and a new revenue collection agency to enforce the system.

The U.S. Tax Code inhibits investment by taxing its businesses on the income they earn in foreign countries. This suppresses wage growth and job creation for American workers.

Kenneth Putman - April 23, 2015

I did my own taxes for years until it became virtually impossible to wade through all the legalese created by the IRS and our ridiculous tax laws. Half the time I don’t think the IRS people themselves could prepare my tax form without making serious errors. I am appalled when I consider all the time and effort US citizens spend preparing the tax forms. Even more appalling is the reckless abandon with which our government bureaucracy wastes the funds collected. I will gladly support tax reform that reduces both the size and power of the IRS while reducing the tax burden on US citizens.

Randall Nash - April 24, 2015

As one of our founding fathers put it, and I paraphrase; If a law is so voluminous that its interpretation can not be universally demosrtated, then such a law is a derision of justice and promotes despotic abuse. Such, in my opinion, well describes our current tax code. I am of the opinion that tax reform which proves to reduce, simplify and make more uniform, our tax burdens, at any time, for any reason is always a good step.

G Todd - April 24, 2015

I have read that the current tax code is either 5 million, or 40 million words long. If 40 million, that would fill the entire Encyclopedia Britannia. Thus, ignorance is an excuse, as it has been determined that it is unknowable to the average person. Whatever the case, I am definitely in favor of a simple tax system that does not make me fill out a complex form every year, where I usually avoid trying to take anything more exotic than the basic deductions, thus I probably loose money through it. I think everyone needs to be treated the same – the rich should not be taxed at heavier rates, nor should business be floundered with such burdensome costs as we have seen. I am not rich, by the way – lower-middle class only – nor do I own a business. But, I see the link between enabling business to flourish and my own prosperity. They work together. I often thought a national sales tax would be good – it would get internet sales also. But, I would have exempt items like food, low cost clothing, utilities, and possibly fuel if not too much to ask. These are necessary items for both the individual and businesses. Also no corporate taxes or capital gains taxes, if possible. But, I am not an economist and do not know for sure if this would work without voids or overlaps. What I do know is simple is good. Its efficient. Make it simple, fair and uniform. Less paperwork mean more productivity. That’s all I got.

Paul Tobiason - August 29, 2015

Does ANY Congressperson or senator do their tax filing WITHOUT the aid of a CPA or computer program ??? Voters might like to see a referendum that would require them to do this by themselves with no special assistance. They made it this way!

Tatia Williams - January 3, 2016

I have been in an audit for three years. Every time I get a letter I have a week to reply or else. Then I get letter after letter saying they need 90 more days to work on it because they are behind. The tax software got my daughter and I backwards in our college deductions and credits. I had to have 8 phone calls over an hour on hold and have spent 750 dollars to discover that fact. I faxed them a 1040x immediately. It showed received on my end. They say they never got it. I received threatening letters. I was on hold again 7 hours. Finally paid 180 and sent return receipt required to 5 addresses. Now a year later they need more time! all for a 2012 tax return. They need to be disbanded and unfunded. A flat tax is the only way to make this fair!

Immediately end their funding. That will step in the right direction

M. Brent Pittman - January 18, 2016

My tax and trade reform plan: Create good paying American jobs with good benefits for American citizens and Veterans by repealing all sales/consumption taxes and replace the lost revenue with an import tax/tariff on imported labor (India, Poland, Guatemala and the Philippines) and manufactured goods (Mexico and Communist China, North Korea and Vietnam). Change the USA Free Trade Agreements with more favorable terms that will create good paying American jobs for citizens and Veterans with good benefits because USA citizens are the world’s #1 consumer/customer. Stop the USA’s nation building because this world peace strategy is exporting USA wealth, increasing USA debt and threatening America’s National Security.

USA TRADE DEFICITS have CAUSED the USA $18T BUDGET DEBT, DECLINING VALUE of the $, INFLATION and USA UNEMPLOYMENT, Underemployment and LOW Worker Participation Rate! Goods need to be manufactured in America, not imported or assembled and then distributed and sold in America from tax abated and tax increment financed (TIF) district warehouses and retail paying poverty wages and employing illegal aliens.

Burn the Federal and IN state individual income tax code and give each income receiving American citizen a $25000 standard deduction while keeping current dependent exemptions. Then tax the next (2nd) $25000 at 2%, the next (3rd) $25000 at 3%, the next (4th) $25000 at 4%, etc. until the government budgets are balanced. My strategic plan will cut government spending and increase tax revenues as well as economic growth.

Burn the Federal and IN business and corporate income tax codes and place a “fair tax” (with a standard deduction of $10 Million on ALL IN business and corporate sales,/revenue including foreign after deducting compensation and benefits for American citizens’ labor; except for CEO’s and their immediate subordinates). Tax the second $10 Million at 1%, the third $10 Million at 2%, etc. until the government budgets are balanced. All standard deductions and exemptions should be adjusted for inflation. Remember the Republican holy-grail: tax cuts that pay for them-selves by unleashing economic growth. A rigid U.S. tariff/import tax would reduce the incentives for U.S. companies to acquire foreign companies for tax inversions so that they could avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Collect an export tax on natural resources/commodities such as oil and natural gas.

More details at facebook.com/mbrentpittmanindiana

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