Is Filing Taxes Harder than Reading Shakespeare?


Posted by Hugh Johnson on Thursday, April 12th, 2012, 4:50 PM PERMALINK


If you’re reading this, you’ve likely filed your 2011 income tax return or maybe you’re taking a break from hours spent deciphering the tax code to file an individual tax return before the April 17 deadline.  Either way you’re one of the millions of Americans who are struggling to comply with a complicated tax system that wastes working hours and hard earned dollars.

By both IRS and Forbes’ estimates, Americans spend billions of hours complying with federal tax law; a number that is likely higher if we include state compliance costs.  The same report concluded that the average taxpayer spends over $250 on tax preparation services.

These costs don’t just affect individual income taxpayers.  Businesses spend millions of hours and investor dollars to prepare and file corporate tax returns, while the IRS has 35 permanent staffers at ExxonMobil’s headquarters to enforce compliance—paid for by taxpayers like you.

Finally, if you think we “doth protest too much”—the current tax code including instructions and regulations is about 3.8 million words long.  Shakespeare’s entire works, by comparison, are 900,000 words long.  Remember how long it took you to read Hamlet in High School?  It’s no wonder taxpayers waste so much time worrying about how much money the government will take on April 17th.
 

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