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The Cost of Complying with IRS Regulations

At the Tax Foundation’s Tax Policy Blog today, William McBride writes that “tax compliance now takes more than 7 billion hours.” McBride cites the following statement made by Douglass Schulman, IRS Commissioner at a speech at the Kennedy School:

“Perhaps the most telling indicator of taxpayer confusion over the code’s complexity is that today, 90% of individual taxpayers pay for professional tax preparation or tax software to prepare their tax returns. IRS research estimates that, over the past 10 years, the burden for the typical taxpayer has increased by about 20% and would likely be even more if they had to prepare returns themselves without any aids or tools. Moreover, we estimate individual taxpayers and businesses spend more than 7bn hours each year complying with filing requirements.” (emphasis added by the blogger)

McBride adds this observation:

“The more than 7 billion hours it takes to comply represents about a 15 percent increase over last year's estimate of 6.1 billion.  To put that figure in context, it amounts to about 3.5 million people working full time for a year, or about 25 percent of the 14 million who are unemployed.” (emphasis added)

Why all GOP presidential candidates don’t have tax reform as a major part of their platforms. is beyond us.


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