Taxes

Order Some More Avocado Toast: What Tax Reform Means for Millennials

Young Americans need a fairer, simpler tax code, but there are reasons to worry Congress will screw this up.

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Tammy Ljungblad/TNS/Newscom

Depending on which definition you're using, the generation of Americans known as "Millennials" started being born somewhere between 1977 and 1982. Suffice it to say that none of us were paying much attention to politics the last time Congress passed a comprehensive tax reform bill, in 1986.

Though there's no way to know whether any tax bill will make it through Congress this year, Millennials have reason to be optimistic about reforms that lower rates and spur economic growth. But we should also be wary. America's fiscal policy could rob tax reform of its benefits if left unaddressed or made worse.

First, the good.

Probably the most obvious benefit of tax reform—for Millennials and for plenty of other Americans too—is the potential for simplifying the tax code. Republicans have promised that tax reform will make it possible to file your taxes on the back of a postcard, something they say can be done by ending special tax breaks and shortening the tax code. At present, the code is more than 4 million lines long and complying with it consumes more than 6 billion hours every year, according to the IRS' National Taxpayer Advocate.

The economic and accounting burdens of complying with the tax code fall inequitably on smaller businesses and individual taxpayers, according to research by economists Jason J. Fichtner and Jacob M. Feldman of the Mercatus Center. "An overly complex and cumbersome tax code favors businesses and individuals who can afford well-paid accountants and lawyers," they wrote in a 2015 report.

A simpler tax code is good for almost everyone, but it stands to help Millennials more than most. A 2016 survey commissioned by NerdWallet, a San Francisco–based personal finance website, found that 80 percent of taxpayers aged 18 to 34 say they're fearful about some aspect of preparing taxes, well above the 69 percent of people across all ages who said the same thing. Millennials might have an undeserved reputation for being easily frightened, but there's no doubt that the current tax code induces unnecessary stress. And Millennials are the group least likely, generationally speaking, to have access to tax help.

"Millennials tend to have less experience with a deeply confusing tax code, less cash to seek professional help and less need for the more complicated returns that having children or a mortgage can bring," says Liz Weston, a personal finance columnist at NerdWallet.

Tax reform carries other benefits for younger Americans. Done right, it means increased economic growth and more job opportunities. In the four different tax reform ideas floated last week by the Tax Foundation, projected GDP growth ranged from 2.2 percent to 7.1 percent. Wages are projected to grow too, by between 1.6 percent and 5.3 percent in the foundation's four scenarios.

Lower corporate taxes—the GOP plan would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent—mean potentially lower costs for all consumer products, from avocados to iPhones.

"Tax reform must be bold" for it to work, says David Barnes, policy director for the pro-market group Generation Opportunity. "It must make the tax code simpler, fairer, and more efficient by eliminating special interest tax credits and deductions."

Still, tax reform carries plenty of risk.

If Congress passes and Trump signs a tax reform bill that doesn't do anything to cut spending, it will only pile more debt onto younger generations. Already, each American owes about $62,000 as his or her share of the national debt—that's roughly 8,850 orders of avocado toast (average cost: $7)—and that amount will get larger if tax rates fall and spending doesn't.

But does Congress even care about the deficit? The outline of a tax plan introduced by Republican leaders this week suggests not. The plan would cut $5.8 trillion in taxes, offset by only $3.6 trillion in base-broadening offsets. That leaves a $2.2 trillion deficit increase over the next decade, according to an estimate by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

In the long term, the biggest drivers of the national debt are entitlements. While there's little chance that entitlement reform will be part of the tax reform discussion, it would be unwise for Congress to ignore the subject entirely. Millennials, in particular, get the short shift when it comes to old-age programs that function as a massive transfer of wealth from the young to the old. As Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy wrote in a still-timely Reason cover story in 2012, "Social Security and Medicare, which provide retirement and health insurance benefits for senior Americans, generally without regard to need, are funded by taxes on the relatively meager wages of younger Americans who will never enjoy anything close to the same benefits."

If Congress is serious about fixing the tax code and cutting out portions of it that only benefit special interests, older Americans must be considered one of those special interests. Tax cuts that add to the national debt and leave entitlements on their current unsustainable paths will hurt Millennials the most.

If it's done wrong, tax reform can leave us with years of slower growth under the weight of crushing debt, the ongoing transfer of wealth from the young-and-poor to old-and-rich, and the threat of future tax increases to meet spending and debt obligations.

"Young Americans want a fairer tax code that unrigs the economy," says Barnes, "and puts ordinary Americans ahead of special interests and the well-connected."

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  1. “…there are reasons to worry Congress will screw this up.”

    Now, now, let’s not go way out on a limb here.

    1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

      This is what I do… http://www.netcash10.com

  2. A simpler tax code is good for almost everyone, but it stands to help Millennials more than most.

    We are all far too stupid and attention deficit for anything more complex.

    1. I want to be able to file my taxes in 140 characters or less.

      1. Does your salary at your book store job require you to file?

        1. I’m paid in wisdom, bougie.

        2. He’s hourly. Under the table in cash.

      2. Under a flat tax, all you would need is a postcard to file. Is that close enough?

  3. “Young Americans want a fairer tax code that unrigs the economy,” says Barnes, “and puts ordinary Americans ahead of special interests and the well-connected.”

    I believe this is saying that ordinary americans are an underappreciated special interest.

    1. Don’t worry. Trump will take care of them, and only take a billion or so for himself.

  4. If Millennials were born in 77 that means there were only 12 years of Gen-X births.

    1. Yeah, I’m trying not to make it like… a hobby horse or anything, but there are some odd generational identifying tics in the media I’ve noticed. Of course there’s overlap, but it seems to go something like this:

      The WWI (lost) generation spawned the Greatest Generation (wwii). The Greatest Generation spawned the Baby Boomers (me generation), the Baby boomers spawned Gen X… and then said ‘fuck it’ and spawned millennials too. The suggestion is, something in there got skipped. Now, as a Gen Xer, this is possible because we were nothing but slackers who just wanted to work in coffee shops and be in grunge bands. I’m open to ideas.

      1. I’ve wondered that myself, but the whole thing smacks of some kind of bizarre astrology though. No one can decide what generation I’m in, which is fine with me because the whole thing sounds stupid to me.

        1. Various sources have told me i’m either late Generation X or early Millennial, which is troubling, because i have no idea whether i should be slacking off or cultivating unbearable preciousness.

          1. Same. I’m too lazy to be a hipster.

            1. I used to be part hipster. It was exhausting.

              1. Oh yeah definitely gen x

        2. If the whole thing sounds stupid to you then you are Gen X.

      2. The Lost Generation came of age during the teens and twenties. They begat the Silent Generation (came of age from the end of WWII through the fifties), who begat Gen X, who begat whatever the current generation du jour is. These generations alternated with the Greatest Generation (came of age during the Depression and kicked Hitler and Tojo’s asses, according to themselves), who begat the Baby Boomers (about which the less said the better), who begat the Millennials.

        The point is that, basically, dividing society into generational cohorts is messy and arbitrary, and pretending that those cohorts mean anything is foolish as hell.

        1. I had children late in life. My daughter is 15. Had I had children earlier, she’d be a full blown millennial adult. Most of my contemporaries had boomer parents. Which made sense. I had Greatest Generation parents because my parents had children very… very late. Very… late.

          So while my cohorts were spinning tales of their parents dropping acid and dodging drafts, I only had boring old stories of my dad dodging Nazi flak, bailing out of planes with Nazi bullets in his ass and escaping Fritz’s Stalag Luft 1, and dear old mom singing “Knees up Mother Brown” to pass the time in a London Tube during the Blitz.

          I don’t really care about what date this or that generation started etc., because yeah, it’s mostly bullshit. But different ranges of kids grow up with a different experience and it informs them. But since I had WWII parents, I started shaking my cane pretty early in life. I just find it curious that there’s this mysterious gap that skips over the slacker generation.

          1. I just find it curious that there’s this mysterious gap that skips over the slacker generation.

            It’s the stupidity of Boomer demographers thinking that being connected to the internet before college is tells us anything about that population. A desperate attempt to create a pre/post information age demographic alignment.

          2. I started shaking my cane pretty early in life

            These euphemisms…

      3. Yeah, exactly this. The problem is that the media, like people in general, are lazy and don’t want to acknowledge that even if you’re creating arbitrary generations that these things take time to sort out. People identifiable as millenials started to be born around 1977, and they form the bulk of all people born by the time you get to 1990 birthdays. But birthdays are a bad sorting mechanism anyway when you’re talking things that form a generation: shared cultural experiences, expectations, and values. There’s going to be correlation but not much causality.

        It’s also the case that these generational cohorts get more ridiculous the younger the target. If Boomers are born 1945 – 1964, Gen X should be 1965 – 1984, and Millenials 1985 – 2004 which means my wife is of the same generation as all the snot nosed 8th graders that have come into her classroom over the past decade.

        1. I think what defines GenXers (aka baby busters) is that the birthrate declined precipitously beginning in 1965, then started to rise again in 1977. Although I think generation demographics are mostly BS, I definitely notice a difference in attitude between my 1971 GenX self, and people born in the later part of the 1970s/early 80s-mostly a greater demand for immediate gratification.

      4. In CA, the undocumented flooded in between the Gen Xers and millennials, bred like rabbits and made us all obsolete, minor players.

        Yeah, very unlibertarian I know. But when you live through it, you gain a whole new perspective.

        1. Yeah, you know that didn’t actually happen, right?

      5. And if you were born in ’65, you don’t exist.

        1. That’s kind of true. My sister and her husband are older than me and born about then. They ain’t boomers, and they ain’t Slackers either. It’s a mystery really.

          1. if you came of age during the 80’s you don’t deserve a generation

            1. Generation C-c-c-c-c-cocaine

          2. Generation Jones.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Jones *

            *Not buying into this generational thingy except in a most general sense.

      6. Somehow Gen Y disappeared and got lumped in with the Millennials – who *I* would have assumed would have been born in the 90’s and not the early 80’s.

        So we’ve got Gen X with only a decade and a half spacing, GenY gone, and Millennials who have been running for over two decades now and still going.

        1. I move to call any group of people we don’t like “millennials”, who’s with me?

      7. I think the “Lost Generation” was born from ’27-45. They were too young for WWII and before the boomers (who don’t start until 9+ months after VE Day, at the earliest. Boomers try to take credit for the Lost Generation’s achievements because they watched it all on TV.

    2. The slackers couldn’t even make it 15 years.

      1. As a member of the slacker generation, they were lucky to get fifteen out of us.

    3. Some folks include folks born in the early ’60s, like BHO2 #44, as Gen X.

  5. I know…. instead of tax reform and controlling spending, lets increase taxes, increase spending on the military and create an expensive new entitlement so we can double up on the deficit!

    It sounds dumb, but it seems to get people elected around here.

    1. Don’t forget the costly infrastructure boondoggles.

      1. It’s crumbling. We have to do something.

        1. How about let some migrant workers from central America do the labor for cheaper than some union wage bum who will hold a stop sign for $30/hour + benefits?

          1. No need. *I* will volunteer to hold that sign up for only $25/hr plus benefits.

  6. Change self-employed and freelance taxes from estimated quarterly income to actual annual income.

  7. Honestly I like the Republican tax plan very much in broad strokes. I’m sure they will fuck up the details with great glee because they are the Republican Party, but the general idea of it is something that would have been broadly acceptable in any political era in which giving one extra dollar to a rich person didn’t stir up a vast horde of screaming banshees and the Huffington Post (but I repeat myself).

    The list of things that are more libertarian is pretty solid: death taxes. Accounting for children in one credit instead of a credit, a deduction and a blood sacrifice. Ending most itemized deductions and thus getting out of the business of trying to steer what people spend their money on. Fewer brackets. And in general, lower rates for everyone.

    The list of downsides is mostly a list of improvements that aren’t extreme enough, which I can deal with as a political reality for the moment.

    I don’t believe for one second that the list of changes and non-changes put out by Ways and Means this week contains the real contents of the eventual bill. But if it were to, I’d support it.

    1. So the old bait and switch tactic still works on some people, I see.

  8. Millennials use the 1040-EZ form either way, so there won’t be much change.

    Who tax reform is going to hurt is upper middle income people in high wage, high housing cost blue states (like me), who will lose a bunch of deductions and pay pretty much the same rates. I guess Republicans don’t care about blue state voters (even those who want lower taxes), and Democrats want to protect tax revenues to the government, so it will probably pass.

    1. Not the millennials who are at the tech start ups and unicorns. They are way beyond 1040EZs. Only the few teenagers who work, Juggalos and people on the public welfare dole are using the EZ form.

      1. Yelp employee whines she doesn’t make enough money

        http://tinyurl.com/j3tgqyn

        You live in some sort of weird fantasy world.

        1. “I got paid yesterday ($733.24, bi-weekly)”

          Trying… not… to go ballistic…

        2. As of 5:43pm PST, I have been officially let go from the company.

          You don’t say.

        3. I mean, I’m not entirely unsympathetic.

          She lives in San Francisco, that’s not cheap. But she has an English lit degree, did no one take her aide and say, “look, this is fine and all, but given the value of that degree, your salary is going to range somewhere between grocery stock boy and Nick Gillespie”

          You know, just to give her a heads up?

          1. That is pretty crap for San Fran. That’s what I made as a clerk in Tucson. I guess I did work a lot of overtime, but still it would go way further there than SF.

            Though, this one bothers me the most:

            Coming out of college without much more than freelancing and tutoring under my belt, I felt it was fair that I start out working in the customer support section of Yelp/Eat24 before I’d be qualified to transfer to media. Then, after I had moved and got firmly stuck in this apartment with this debt, I was told I’d have to work in support for an entire year before I would be able to move to a different department.

            Her emphasis, not mine. That’s not a long time to work yourself up at all. Her complain it quite literally that she didn’t immediately get the job she wanted right out of school.

            1. She’s 25, and I presume she has a 4 year degree. This is her first professional gig. She’s the very definition of wet-behind-the-ears.

              Customer support is generally not a high paying gig. This is life. It’s not more complicated than that. Yes, had she attended Columbia law, graduated with a hot-shot transcript and academic accolades, sure, she’d have a pretty good job at a law firm and be on a fast-track for a partnership. But after reading her article, that ain’t her. It ain’t a thousand miles of her. She needs to adjust her expectations. I can’t imagine writing an open-letter to my CEO from my first job as a bus boy in a steak house in Ruidoso, NM, earning $3.35 an hour. I shrugged and figured… this is how you start.

              I’m now a Bus Man.

    2. And no, I don’t have the option not to pay state sales taxes, state income taxes and local property taxes.

    3. Correction, their parents fill out their 1040EZ for them.

    4. Correction, their parents fill out their 1040EZ for them.

  9. Tax reform has been proposed since before this baby boomer was born. It has occurred only a handful of times.

    Compare this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenue_Act_of_1913

    to what we have now.

    Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

  10. I would love to see a flat tax on income and/or value-added tax but I know we will only get more of the same shit instead. Accountants are a very powerful force, so too are the other the myriad other rent-seekers who benefit from the current system.

    1. Whenever taxation is discussed, someone inevitably will posit “What we need is a 10% flat tax on all income, no exclusions, no deductions…” or a close facsimile of this statement.

      A “flat tax” sounds nice. All your income taxed at one flat rate. What could be simpler? But a flat tax simply removes the progressive structure (different rates for different income levels and/or types of income). This has two problems. First, much of the tax code exists simply to define what constitutes “income”. Second, if ANYTHING is deductible, such as charitable donations, then much of the tax code will continue to be required to define exactly how this should work. Mountains of paperwork and 10s of thousands of pages of tax code will be still involved in defining what is income, what is deductible, etc. just as it does today. Armies of accountants and attorneys and IRS agents will remain in place.

      If you want to say “All income is taxable income” that’s fine. But it probably won’t work. The current tax code recognizes that not every penny that lands in your pocket represents “income”. For pretty good reasons, the tax code endeavors to distinguish between gross income, net income (adjusted gross income) and taxable income (AGI less deductions).

      1. As an example, if every penny that lands in your hands is taxable, then when Grandma gives little Johnny a birthday card with $10 in it, Johnny must file a tax return and account for that $10, and Grandma may be required to file a correspond 1099MISC to document that she transferred monies to Johnny. Failure to do so on either party’s part obviously is tax evasion and a clear failure to comply with the tax code. If this situation is undesirable, then exclusions must be written and further, the definition of “gift” must be codified so as to avoid certain abuses that would inevitably occur.

        Now consider the nature of a gift exclusion that allows small amounts to be gifted without a need to report as income on the part of the recipient (or file a 1099MISC). First, how small is small? $10, $100, $1000, is that indexed to inflation? Can Grandma give $1000 *and* Grandpa give $1000 each? How often can a gift be given? Or is the limit a cumulative annual amount? If it’s $10, then lots of people will have to file 1099 and cause way more work than it’s worth. If it’s $1000, a lot of people will start black-marketing “gifts”: e.g. maybe I can convince my boss to “gift” me the maximum amount every year? Etc. Etc.

        1. If I loaned $750 to someone, who paid me back $1000 (i.e. repay $750 and pay $250 in interest), the $1000 check is not all income to me right? Income in this case would be $250, the interest paid, the other $750 is simply returning my money. What if I loaned my brother $5000, with a contract, interest payment and everything, then 5 years later decide that he doesn’t have to pay it back? Is that a gift? Have I violated the gifting rules? Is that loan income to him? Is it a loss for me? Can I use it to offset other income? Etc. Etc.

          What about a lottery winner, say $1000 on scratch off. Surely that’s all income? But current tax law says that if he spent $750 buying tickets, the net gambling income is only $250. It cost $750 to “earn” $250. What if he won $1000 but lost $10,000? Current tax law says too bad on $9000, but he owes no tax on the $1000 winnings. Current tax law looks at your gambling income as if you were playing a long poker game: win or lose hands during the game, doesn’t matter, what matters is what you have at the end of the game (tax year).

          If my house burns down and the insurance company writes me a check for $100,000 is that income? What if the insurance pays more than I paid for the house? But what if it pays less than the house is worth?

          More rules will be needed to clarify these situations too. That’s just defining “income”?and those are the easy examples.

          1. If anything is deductible, say charitable donations, then another mountain of pages are required to spell out exactly how the deduction works, valuations to be used, etc. It’s easy enough to track cash donations (but current tax code has a lot of rules on those too, e.g. my donation to my alma mater is 80% deductible if I buy season football tickets, but 100% if I don’t). What is my deduction for used stuff given to Goodwill? Fiar market value? How is that determined? What valuation should be used for the Monet painting someone inherited from their grandfather’s estate when they donate it to a museum?

            Think of the pages and pages of rules needed to define these elements, and the record-keeping needed to comply.

            Unless you really mean a flat tax applies to all income regardless of source and nothing is deductible, then defining the various things that constitute gross income, net income, and taxable income will consume a large portion of the tax code and will continue to chew us up in compliance overhead. Further even if you do mean all income, including Grandma’s $10 gift to little Johnny bear in mind the thousands of 1099MISC forms that will need to be filed. The benefit of a “flat tax” in this situation is negligible.

            1. Individuals spend more than 6 billion hours doing their personal taxes (at minimum wage that’s more than $40B, at $25/hr that’s $150B) resulting in about $2T in revenues. The corporate tax code is far, far worse. Corporations spend around $300B just complying with the corporate tax code, to generate approximately $300-500B in revenues.

              A half-trillion dollars spent just figuring out how much taxes are owed? To collect about $2.5T?

              For every $1 it takes in as tax revenue, the government forces the economy to produce $1.20 and produce reams of paperwork to track, report, and justify the taxes owed and paid. That’s hugely, grossly inefficient, not to mention invasive and a huge drag on the productivity of the economy.

              A “flat tax” does nothing (or virtually nothing) to correct this situation.

              1. Hence why consumption is the only non-bullshit tax. Bill Gates buys a $50 shirt, pays $5. Joe Smith buys a $50 shirt, pays $5. Mike Pennypinch buys a $5 shirt from Goodwill, pays $0, because the tax is only on new items. All 3 of them get a $12,000 check to offset the tax up to the poverty level.

                No need to screw around with who gets deductions and who doesn’t. No need for an armed strongarm goon squad to enforce. Everybody pays.

                Of course, this is why it will never happen. Pols will never give up the ability to engineer (or “nudge”, as a particularly enraging term puts it).

    2. VAT is pretty much to worst of all possible taxes.

      It’s not transparent. It’s complex. It’s costly for companies to comply with.

      A final retail point-of-sale consumption tax would be transparent, trivially defined, and easily collected.

      “The value added to a product by or with a business is the sale price charged to its customer, minus the cost of materials and other taxable inputs. A VAT is like a sales tax in that ultimately only the end consumer is taxed. It differs from the sales tax in that, with the latter, the tax is collected and remitted to the government only once, at the point of purchase by the end consumer. With the VAT, collections, remittances to the government, and credits for taxes already paid occur each time a business in the supply chain purchases products.” [Wikipedia]

      VAT is a jobs program for tax collectors and bookkeepers. If you want to tax consumption, at least do it in the simplest way possible.

      1. Fair enough, but then what politically viable tax reform do you suggest?

        I mean there has been clamoring for something like the land value tax since the 1700s, which has gone nowhere, so that is pretty much dead.

        Operating taxes as fees is the only other suggestion I’ve heard that has legs, but it is regressive, so a non-starter in many circles.

      2. VAT may make sense in Europe and Asia, with a history of tax evasion bordering on criminal and for cash based activity.

        Any business large enough for VAT to have fiscal impact will have electronic banking, and scads of paperwork anyway.

        The overhead of paperwork at each stage of manufacture, deliver, purchase makes not sense in the 21st Century. The Europeans still have it because it’s entrenched (like the tax free benefit of helath insurance here and the mortgage interest deduction.)

        Lets not add a new petrified bureaucracy. Just set the tax rates to pay for the government we want. If what we have is more than we want (or more than we can pay for), cut programs, rank-orderd by value, 100% from the bottom of the value list to the break even point.

        The problem is, our politicians won’t cut low value programs 100% and keep trying to pare a bit everywhere, to prevent the gored ox syndrome for those getting low value subsidies.

    3. A flax tax debases the choice that individuals such as myself have done in doing Roth conversions.

  11. “Millennials tend to have less experience with a deeply confusing tax code, less cash to seek professional help and less need for the more complicated returns that having children or a mortgage can bring,” says Liz Weston, a personal finance columnist at NerdWallet.

    Liz, you’re a moron.

    1. The tax code isn’t any more confusing now than when I started out.

    2. ‘Less need for the more complicated returns’ means you’ve got one job, no complications, so you’re filling out a fucking 1040EZ. Which any moron who graduated high school should be able to handle.

    3. if you’re taking your 1040EZ to H&R Block to be filled out because ‘its too complicated, you’re not even as smart as the above moron.

    Let’s get real here. While simplifying the tax code is good (in general, as long as it doesn’t come with more bullshit – but it will), for the average person the complexity is not an issue. Its barely an issue for someone with a house and kids and a complete doddle for someone without. Sure, if you’re running your own business from your home the thing can be a complete nightmare – but as you say, most Millennials aren’t doing that.

  12. “A 2016 survey commissioned by NerdWallet, a San Francisco?based personal finance website, found that 80 percent of taxpayers aged 18 to 34 say they’re fearful about some aspect of preparing taxes, well above the 69 percent of people across all ages who said the same thing.”

    Ugh. Did you look at this poll? It was online and non-probability. In other words, it is not generalizable to the population. Dig into the info on the poll and you’ll find the line, “This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.” You might have well used a snap poll on FoxNews or CNN.

    I understand the point of using data to support an argument, but this feels cherry picked to support your natural biases on the matter. It weakens your arguments.

  13. GOP tax cuts are never a good idea. Every time they do it, they increase the deficit and there was never enough stimulation of the economy to pay for it. If they justify anything with “It will pay for itself”, hold on to your wallet, and buy gold.

    Even Reagan’s tax cut stimulated by good old fashioned Keynsian stimulation.

    Any tax reform this time must be revenue neutral. No cuts until politicians have the will to cut spending (unlikely)

    Kennedy (1962) and Reagan (1986) tax cuts made sense when the marginal rates were 94% and 90% (if I recall correctly. When top marginal rates are 39%, the value of the cut won’t matter, except to those with the best lobbyists.

  14. Some of you are not recognizing that complying with income taxes costs the average payer 10-20 hours/year. Not nearly as quick and simple as some of you think. Why do you think H&R Block charges a couple hundred dollars for the average customer?

    There is LOTS of room to simplify. I really think every line of the 1040 removed, including its schedules, helps a lot. We could even live with the major deductions like mortgage interest and charitable contributions, and still have it much simpler.

    Of course lots of IRS employees, some accountants, and tax professionals will be cut loose to find useful work.

    1. The tax reform proposes getting rid of the AMT, the stupidest thing ever. That alone makes the bill worth passing.

      1. AMT is to collect tax on people who manage to outwit the purpose of the rest of the tax code. Keep it.

  15. Keep your affairs simple and use TurboTax to do taxes. No big deal. ‘Tax reform’ is just another excuse to cut taxes on the wealthy while running up huge deficits that cripple the economy the middle class depends on.

  16. It sounds dumb, but it seems to get people elected around here.

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