Comments about ‘Jay Evensen: A tax code no one understands — is this any way to fund a country?’

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Published: Thursday, April 10 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The reason our tax code is so complex is because there are thousands of lobbyists persuading congress to enact deductions, exemptions, credits, and loopholes, few of which benefit ordinary working taxpayers. Money in politics causes our inordinately confusing and confounding tax code.

Far East USA, SC

Lets see. Who benefits most from an overly complex tax code.

Number one on my list would be accountants and accounting firms.

So, lets follow the money. ALWAYS follow the money!

In 2012 this group spent over $16 MILLION in campaign funding to members of congress and PACs.
Additionally, they spent $20 million on Lobby efforts. (in 2012 alone)

So, Accountants and accounting firms spent over $36 million dollars in 2012.
And you want to call that "free speech" and contend that it is good for our country?

I would love to ask you that while you were hooked up to a lie detector.

opensecrets dot org is a great site to see who is bribing our congress. It is mind boggling.

Provo, UT

And the vast majority of lawyers are Democrats, because Democrats love to add more and more and more laws, taxes, and regulations that nay apply to the peasants (What, you think Democrats pay taxes? Ask Geitner or any one of a number of other democrats who have "made mistakes" that somehow means they don't pay taxes we all would be sent to jail for missing).

Ed Grady
Idaho Falls, ID

When conservatives talk about "tax reform," they are really talking about shifting taxes from the country club class to the middle class.

Orem, UT

I have a competent CPA (I think) do my taxes each year. I just don't have the time or expertise to try and do them myself any more. Yet, when I get the final forms from him that I have to sign and send in to the government, I still don't fully understand them.

I am expected to sign each form stating that I believe that the information is correct, when for the most part, I have no idea if it is right or not. That is how complex our system has become.

I pay a boatload of taxes each year and it never seems to be enough. Not only does the government demand an ever increasing portion of my earnings, they expect me to spend an inordinate amount of my time making sure I track everything and swear I got it all right.

clearfield, UT

I remember when (I think it was Reagan), at the state of the union address put up the tax code on the stand for everyone to see it. Thousands of pages. Like reading the Encyclopedia Britannica. You talk to the IRS and can get two different answers to the same question from two different IRS representatives. No one can possibly understand it all. I'll bet many of us break one tax code law by obeying another. Time for some simplification. Let's make the Whole tax code one big 1040 EZ form.

one old man
Ogden, UT

I'm a retired teacher, a Democrat, who paid 2% more in "effective taxes" than Mitt Romney paid in 2011. But then, I don't have all those loopholes and deductions and off-shore tax havens available to me that have been tailor made for the upper crust of our nation.

So, yes, even we awful Democrats do pay taxes. Too often it is even more than our wealthy Republican "leaders."

Salt Lake City, UT

Why they tried to differentiate between people who prepared their tax returns themselves versus those who had them done "professionally" is perplexing.

NO ONE understands the code...and no one has for **years**!!

I don't know if I was always calling about topics on the fringes of the tax code back when I used to try and do my tax returns on my own (hard to believe considering the relative simplicity of my financial dealings back then) but it was a true rarity to have someone at the IRS who could give me a simple, straight forward answer not couched in one sort of caveat or another.

The frustrating and more than a bit horrifying truth is, the tax code is such a mess that no one, not even in the IRS, really knows it!

As we often hear, particularly with regard to affairs of government, "The devil is in the details". There are far too many devilish details in the tax code. We can and MUST do better!

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

In America today nearly half of Americans pay no federal income taxes while anyone who is successful is punished by "the code" and the freeloaders get rewarded. That's the real "tax code". EVERYBODY should pay some taxes not just a few who are forced to pick up the tax tab for the 47%. Detroit is a good example of the results of the "tax code". Those who are punished take their jobs, their money and leave and guess who is left?

Steve Cottrell
Centerville, UT

Interesting to note in the National News section of today's DN the following headline:

AP-GfK Poll: Most Americans say filing taxes easy


Some of you other oldsters may remember back in the 80's Reagan made a big point of trying to "simplify" the tax code.

Congress did, and declared VICTORY!!

I prepared taxes at the time. My two 4 inch-thick binders of blank tax forms went to 4 4inch thick binders. The instructions were (at the time)in 8 binders 4 inches thick and they expanded to 12 binders of the same size.

So much for simplification.

It was one of my first exposures to the fact tht Congress doesn't always do what they say they will do.

I'm also highly skeptical that anything Congress would do outside of a complete and total revamping of the tax code would benefit anyone except the special interest groups.

Fruit Heights, UT

Good thing the LDS church doesn't try to do tithing like the government tries to do taxes. In fact the government should give the flat tax a try because well, its simple. And for those who think that a flat tax is just a way to shift tax paying from the rich to the poor, thats not exactly true because like the church, the government does and should give welfare services to the poor.


"Lets see. Who benefits most from an overly complex tax code.
Number one on my list would be accountants and accounting firms."

The info I looked at on OpenSecrets reports the AICPA (professional organization of CPAs) spent $4 million in lobbying, not $20 million and less than $1 million in contributions. (It is also interesting they gave nearly equal amts to the RNC and the DNC).

You are blaming the tail for wagging the dog.
Yes, corporations employ tax accountants and they pay tax accountants and lobbyists to find ways to reduce their tax liability.
Many accountants don't prepare tax returns. And no matter what tax reform is instituted there will always be a need for tax preparers. I don't know of any tax preparer opposed to simplfying the tax code. But it will never happen because corporations and individuals all have their favored tax "loophole." Would we be willing to give up home interest deduction? Would Mitt Romney give up his carried-interest deduction? What about deductions for charitable donations? How do we define income? Does income include calpital gains? Should capital gains be taxed the same rate as ordinary income?

Highland, UT

The suggestion that the IRS is competent to regulate paid tax return preparers is not only wishful thinking, it also gives the IRS power to intimidate and coerce paid preparers into adopting the IRS' viewpoint on every issue. Every year, the courts tell the IRS that it is wrong in its interpretation of various provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Taxpayers should be able to receive advice that differs from the IRS "party line". We don't let prosecutors regulate defense attorneys either. Long before the IRS is given more power, they should find a way to better teach their own personnel what the law is.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Filing my taxes has been very simple the last few years. I use a popular tax prep computer program that steps me through it and guarantees the results for accuracy. The program costs about $60 and my entire family is able to use it.

But even so, the tax code does need a complete overhaul to eliminate the breaks that wealthy folks may use to pay a lower percentage of total income than we peasants must pay.

Saint George, UT

One Old Man: I am not worried about Mitt Romney or John Carrey (It doesn't matter one hill of beans whether it is a Democrat or Republican. Mitt Romney and Harry Reid take advantage of every tax law possible. Harry Reid is just envious that Romney is worth 50 million and he is only worth six). It isn't Mitt Romney's or John Carrey's manipulation of the tax code to keep more of their money that bothers me. It is the average citizen that doesn't have a clue as to why it happens and doesn't want to do anything about it. The IRS should be abolished! Oh, how are we going to pay for things? That answer is a joke! Fear of government is no reason to acquiesce to the game that is played to keep the poor poor and the rich rich. No amount of laws written, passed, or otherwise is going to fix something that is a mess in the first place, put in power by people who were manipulated in the first place in imposing the charade known as the IRS.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To those complaining about taxes being too high or going up constantly: Total federal taxes today are lower than they were at any point during Ronald Reagan's presidency. They are also 4% of GDP lower than they were at their highest point, which was in 2000. That is a huge drop.
Source: Taxes as a percent of GDP from the tax policy center.

Orem, UT

one old man:

I know that many liberals try to paint this issue as some kind of Republican caused problem, but it really is bi-partisan. There are as many loopholes for liberal fat-cats as there are for conservative ones.

You may have paid a higher tax rate than Mitt Romney did one year, but you probably paid a higher rate than a whole bunch of liberal rich folks who used loopholes as well. Lobbying for tax breaks is common on both sides of the aisle.

I will bet that there are just as many Democrats who hate the tax code as there are Republicans, so stop trying to make this a "rich conservative" vs "poor liberal" issue.

Far East USA, SC

another view.

Google opensecrets accountants then look at totals. My $20 mill was for 2012 and I stand by it.

You are talking about one lobby group. I am talking about the whole category.

While you are at it, google opensecrets defense. then go to totals.

Folks, it is mind boggling how much money is spent to influence our congress.

Mister J
Salt Lake City, UT

I have no issues w/ the IRS forms or corresponding instructions. Its the state forms and instructions that need a Rosetta Stone.

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