Ted Yoho: Make tax day just another day
Death and taxes — you can't escape either and both are events we can do without. Whether you filed your income taxes early or waited till the last minute, tax day casts a dark shadow on your calendar. In a perfect world, the Internal Revenue Service would not exist and tax day would just be another day.
The tax code we are forced to navigate every year is complicated, bloated and inefficient. I experienced firsthand, as a 30-year small business owner, what it is like to navigate the maze of tax regulations and then hand over my hard-earned money to the IRS. This annual ritual showed me how our system suffocates individual prosperity and the growth of business. It showed me how it entices individuals to use loopholes to minimize their payments to the federal government. Our system benefits high-income earners over lower-income earners who can't afford expensive accountants.
I firmly believe we need a tax system fit for the 21st century. A system that rewards individuals, families and businesses for their hard work, not punishes them by reaching deeper into their pockets. We need to completely scrap our current tax system and create a tax code that is simple, fair, transparent and stokes the fires of economic growth in America.
To make this a reality, I have co-sponsored, H.R. 25, the FairTax Act. Introduced by Rep. Rob Woodall from Georgia, H.R. 25 is a common-sense approach to simplifying the tax code, reducing the size of the federal bureaucracy and returning power to the people. Plain and simple, this is a pro-growth, pro-job, pro-opportunity plan for all Americans. The FairTax Act will make tax day just another day on the calendar and allow you to keep 100 percent of your paycheck.
It removes the barriers to economic opportunity and allows Americans to keep more of their hard earned money by repealing all federal corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, capital gains taxes, the death tax and gift taxes. All those taxes will be replaced with a revenue-neutral, personal consumption tax. Having a system that only taxes what you buy will increase savings, promote economic growth, make tax revenues predictable and remove the need for spending so much of your precious time figuring out how to pay Uncle Sam. You as an individual will decide how much in taxes you pay, not the government.
This bill also eliminates a myriad of tax loopholes. There will be no more special deductions or exemptions to game the system. Everyone is treated the same. All goods and services are treated the same. No exceptions. If signed into law, the Fair Tax Act would prohibit further funding for the IRS after fiscal year 2017; hence the IRS would no longer hold the power it does over the heads of hardworking Americans.
The last major reform to our tax code was in 1986 under President Reagan. Since that time, the tax code has grown from 30,000 pages to over 70,000 pages. Written in a language only lawyers and high paid CPAs can understand, it is estimated to cost individuals, families and businesses countless hours and over $160 billion a year trying to understand its maze of rules. Over the past 10 years, there have been more than 4,400 changes made to the tax code alone. We are talking roughly one per week on average. That is ridiculous.
By failing to reform our current system, we continue to perpetuate an environment that is rife with discriminatory practices and restricts economic potential. It is an environment that continues to be a burden on hardworking individuals and families. It is an environment that has created the highest corporate tax rate in the world, and it is driving American corporations, businesses and jobs overseas. We cannot allow this to continue.
America was built by risk takers. Determined individuals worked hard and invested their blood, sweat and tears to make this country great. That same individual spirit and determination is alive and well today. Simplifying our tax system will unlock the entrepreneurial spirit of America, not stand in its way.
I firmly believe the passage and implementation of the FairTax Act is the right course for America. I will continue to work with Rep. Woodall and like-minded colleagues to see H.R. 25 become law.
— U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho is a Republican from Gainesville.