by Brian Mahany
We are big fans of Nina Olson, the IRS’ National Taxpayer Advocate. Although understaffed, her office is the last line of defense for taxpayers “stuck in the system” or unable to find answers to their questions. I liked the concept of an independent voice so much that I created the position in Maine’s Bureau of Revenue Services during my tenure there in the mid-90’s.
One of the duties of the Taxpayer Advocate is to issue an annual report to Congress. She gets to speak her mind without the approval of the IRS administration. Her just released report is not very complimentary of the tax code.
Olson reminds Congress that the Internal Revenue Code is about 4 million words long. When you add instructions, forms, rules, regulations, revenue rulings, Chief Counsel Notices and the like the code becomes tens of thousands of pages. That means for 59% of the public, a professional needs to be hired just to file a simple income tax return. Of course, “simple” is a relative term.
Unfortunately, when things become that complex, mistakes get made. And the system often becomes very unfair for certain taxpayers because of the thousands of loopholes found within the code.
According to Olson, 84% of Americans think the code is unfair. And since 2001, there have been 4,680 changes to that code or about one per day! Olson prepared a neat infographic that contains some rather sobering – and depressing – statistics.
The tax lawyers at Mahany & Ertl specialize in tax cases and have helped many businesses and individuals. From complex tax planning to audit defense, tax appeals, offshore tax reporting, criminal investigations and abusive tax shelters, we can help. Many cases can be handled for a flat fee. For tax controversy work, the amount in controversy must generally be approximately $100,000. We do make exceptions for cases “in our backyard.”
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Tax Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine; Minneapolis, Minnesota and our satellite office in San Francisco, California. Services available worldwide.
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