Weekly Columns

Tax Day

Senator John Boozman's Column for the Week of April 18, 2011

Apr 18 2011

It’s easy to understand why we’re so frustrated with our tax system. If you’re like me, figuring out the complex IRS code is a struggle. It’s so complicated, that we must rely on computer software to make it easier. While we’re fortunate to have services that ease the burden of filing our taxes, we shouldn’t have to rely on software for a quick, painless way to figure out our taxes.

I believe our current income tax system is fundamentally flawed and in need of a major overhaul. Today’s tax code is unfair, discourages against savings and investment, and is impossibly complex. As the General Accounting Office (GAO) found in a 2002 study, it’s leading Americans to pay more in income taxes to the tune of about $945 million annually. The study estimates that 2.2 million people overpaid their taxes because they claimed the standard deduction instead of itemizing. Even tax professionals proved the difficulty of navigating our tax code; half of all returns were overpayments prepared by tax professionals.

It’s clear our tax system needs reform and I’m committed to being a part of the effort to fix it. I’m a firm believer that we’re overtaxed and Arkansas families deserve more of their hard-earned money, instead of giving it to the government. We deserve a tax code that is both simple and fair which is why I’m supportive of tax reforms and willing to change our current tax structure.

As Congress seeks to reform our tax system, we must keep these key ingredients in mind: simplicity, a low rate for all Americans, tax relief for working people, protection of taxpayer rights, reduction in tax collection abuses, promotion of savings and investment and encouragement of economic growth and job creation.

While raising taxes is never wise policy, it is particularly damaging to Arkansas at a time when our nation faces record deficits and a stagnant nine percent unemployment rate. The American people are already overtaxed, and I will continue to support legislation that cuts spending, lowers taxes, and does not place the burden of debt on future generations.

For those of us who haven’t filed our taxes yet, there is still time. While we’re used to filing our taxes by April 15th, there is a short extension because of a District of Columbia holiday. This year we have until April 18th to file our taxes. The IRS estimates that 20 to 25 percent of all taxpayers file in the final two weeks of the tax season and about seven percent of taxpayers seek a six-month extension to file.

It’s time we end the talk of reforming the tax code and get to work doing something about it. Let’s consider reforms that will save us all time and money and clear up the confusion by simplifying our tax code.