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Efforts In Congress To Reform Taxes Hitting Roadblocks

Reported: Apr. 14, 2014 4:17 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Kistine Frazao) -- Whether you file the old-fashioned way or online, if you prepare your own taxes, chances are it's a complicated process.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., even called it “bureaucratic water torture.”

"Is this really necessary to run this full-time hand cramping program . . .to have our citizens try to wade through all of this?" Wyden asks.

In 2011, Wyden co-sponsored a bill with Republican Sen. Dan Coats to try to reform the tax code:

“Simplifying the tax code has to be one of the very first things we do, Coats said.

That bipartisan effort failed, as have other attempts before and since. One reason? The extreme lobbying that goes on by those who benefit from the current system and even those who help those prepare other people's taxes including Intuit, the company that makes the Turbo Tax software, which has already spent about $20 million on lobbying.

On the IRS website, it estimates how long you should expect to spend if you are preparing your own taxes. If you take a look here, it says the 1040 form is about 15 hours and the instructions themselves are 207 pages.

Rebecca Wilkins is senior counsel for federal tax policy at citizens for tax justice. Her organization recently published a report called "The Sorry State of Corporate Taxes," which found hundreds of companies that have avoided paying federal income taxes.

Everybody's fighting to keep their special rule in the tax law.

“If you paid any federal income taxes last year you paid more than Boeing, and Boeing made billions of dollars, and I think most people find that's pretty outrageous,” Wilkins said.


As lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they'd like to see change, so far those against it seem to be winning the fight.

For more information about tax reform efforts that have failed in Congress, click
here and here.



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