Posted: Aug 21, 2013 4:46 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - The federal tax code contains more than four million words; if you were to read it out loud, it would take 18 days.
Now U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and U.S. Representative Dave Camp (D-MI) are working to simplify it.
"I think everyone agrees that the tax code is way, way too complex. It just drives people nuts when they try to figure out their tax returns," Baucus said.
They are taking what they call a "blank slate" approach, where they throw out the entire tax code and start from scratch.
Baucus said the goal is to simplify the code and close tax loopholes; he noted, "A lot of folks think the other guy takes advantage of all the breaks, whereas he or she can't."
Baucus formed a "citizens' tax council" which is charged with coming up with ideas for what deductions and credits should be allowed, and what shouldn't.
The council has been meeting for the past six months to brainstorm ideas.
Bill Johnstone said, "The tax council probably, almost unanimously, concluded that the current code was far too complicated."
This week Baucus will meet with the council to hear suggestions as part of the process so that he can get a bill draft out of committee this Fall.
Baucus said, "Even though there is gridlock in Washington D.C. in some respects I think that tax reform is going to go through because members of Congress are going to think, after a while, if not already, 'Boy, this is a good thing. We should clean up the code, lower tax rates, get rid of some of these loopholes and deductions.'"
It shouldn't take the average American 13 hours to gather all the necessary paperwork to comply with the federal tax code.