3-Page Tax Code?

Carly Fiorina is getting getting flak for suggesting that the tax code could be reduced to three pages. I, too, believe that she is wrong. Three pages would add needless complications.

Here’s a proposal (from the 1990s) that reduces personal and corporate tax laws to only two pages.

23 thoughts on “3-Page Tax Code?

  1. I remember a “joke” from the Carter years for a Form 1040EZR:

    1) How much money did you make last year?
    2) Send it in.


    • I have a friend, whose tax proposal fits on a 5×7 note card.
      Name, SS, earnings, x0.10., whitholdings, arithmetic, return/bill.

  2. I never understood taxing business’s. The reality of taxing business is that they just pass that tax onto the ultimate consumer. I wonder what part of a dollar loaf of bread goes to taxes and tax compliance.

    • If I remember my cost accounting days correctly, I believe is was like 37 cents of every dollar was the step up portion for taxes. I’m sure the compliance is worse now.

  3. Completely off topic but….

    I’d like to wish Mr. Hoge a Happy Veteran’s Day and say thanks for your service. And thanks to all the other vets reading here today as well.

    • I much prefer this over an income tax. One flat Sales tax shifts the burden to everybody. No personal exemptions, no zero tax folks. Everybody pays, and sees what they pay every time they buy something. (I really think employer withholding keeps people from realizing how much they pay in taxes.)

      • We have a GST here in New Zealand. The left periodically complain that it’s a “regressive” tax on the theory that the poor spend 100% of their money, while the rich don’t have to. Or something.

        Anyway, the government changed the rate from 12.5% to 15% and reduced income tax a couple of years ago. They changed benefits to match, but somehow, that also attacked the poor too.

        • Any taxing policy that doesn’t take a huge percentage of income and wealth from non-liberals is obviously an attack on the poor.

      • NOOO. If you go with a federal VAT, you will end up with both. It gives the feds too much interfering rights with in-state business, as well.

  4. Proposing it for the first time here – and it requires a minor amendment to the Constitution:
    Eliminate Income taxes – implement a Citizenship tax. Every citizen (no corporate taxes of any kind, Citizens only), regardless of age, pays a tax of $10,000 each. You can establish a separate account with your bank, if you choose, to divert funds from each paycheck into an ‘Annual Tax Account’ – there is no withholding, you cut a check to the Federal Government on the first Tuesday of November.

    And then you get to be a citizen for the next year, with all the benefits and bonuses therefrom. Don’t pay your taxes? Please exit the country through the nearest border and go somewhere else. Penalties for not paying your taxes? When found, and convicted thereof, we toss your butt into a plane and take you to a landmass of our choice (Hello North Korea or North Pole!) and give you a parachute and give you your first flying lesson from 10,000 feet. The only downside I see is a rapid increase in the number of jets and pilots required.

    Alas, Eggs and Omelets and all that…

    (You think $10,000 is too much? My first proposal was $1,000…but multiply that times 300 million people and you get…$300 billion dollars. How the hell will all those politicians survive on giving away only $300 billion dollars? So to get to our $3 trillion dollar level, you peasants need to cough up $10,000 each. Now go pull out last years IRS 1040 or look at December’s last paycheck and tell me how much you had shoveled off to the Federal Government for you…and your spouse…and kids…and…oh, well, I’m single with no kids so…$10,000 for me! What, $50,000 for you?)

    As my old Econ professors observed “Math is more cruel than my ex-wife…”

  5. Yep. That tax on my family would be more than our pre-all-deductions income last year. And most years before that it would have taken over half our annual income. And believe me, in this part of the country trying to keep a family of four on under $40K is difficult, at least if you want anything other than an 800sq.ft crappy rental, and being stuck relying on our non-existant public transportation. If you have any medical issues….

  6. New Zealand has a 3-teir system, which is reasonably simple. Well, it was a 2-teir system but the last government decided that they could get away with calling anyone over 60k a “rich prick” and taxing them more. Anyway, there’s no deductibles for dependents or anything else. Yea, it would be nice but it does keep things very simple. You do get tax back on charitable donations, childcare and your tax agent but that’s about it.

    If you’re a salary earner, it’s pretty simple. Your employer deducts your taxes, and pays it to the IRD. If you’re not running your own business or something like that, you just ask them for a summary and they tell you if there’s anything to make up either way – no paperwork to speak of. Well, there is a form if you claim charitable rebates but that’s simple single page. Most of the form is already filled in when you get it, and I think it’s online now too.

    The tricky bit is when you have a family, because there’s quite generous “tax credits” (read: benefits paid through the IRD so they can be called something else – another gift from the previous government) but that doesn’t take much either. Worst thing is that you give them the wrong income figures during the year and have to pay back a bunch of money and EOY. But they estimate themselves so even that’s hard to get too wrong.

  7. My China tax return for the 7 years I lived and worked there was just one side of a single page. Conversely, my US tax return during the same 7 years was 70 or 80 pages long.

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