In the latest episode of TruTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything,” snarky host Adam Conover took on the economy. Among talk about GDPs and unemployment rates, the show highlighted just how absurd the current tax system is.
In the episode, Adam tells a man distraught over trying to file his taxes that, “Actually, taxes don’t have to be hard at all!” Adam is right—our tax code is absurdly and unnecessarily complicated. Every year, Americans spend over $400 billion and almost 9 million hours trying to figure out what they owe the government.
Over 300,000 people work full-time preparing taxes for families and businesses. That doesn’t even include the variety of online DIY companies that walk you through the filing process.
So why is filing taxes such a headache?
Adam blames the tax-prep industry for fighting attempts to make doing your taxes easier, but that’s only part of the problem.
There’s an army of around 4000 lobbyists in Washington, D.C. whose full-time job is carving out tax exemptions and handouts for well-connected special interests. This year, the loopholes will total more than $1.5 trillion, and they overwhelmingly benefit the people who have the cash to hire lobbyists.
Each handout created for the well-connected means higher taxes and more complication for the rest of us. The tax code is more than 4 million words long. It’s so convoluted there’s almost no guarantee you’ve done your taxes correctly. If you’ve felt that knot of fear in the pit of your stomach every April, you can thank special interests.
Adam points to return-free filing as the solution, but there’s an even better answer—tax reform! Reforming the tax code to close those loopholes would make filing your taxes so simple most people and businesses wouldn’t need professional help to file. And fixing the broken tax code won’t just make your April less depressing, it could lower your tax bill too!
Learn more about how tax reform can help young Americans here.