Friday, April 15, 2005

No taxation with obfuscation!

The Economist describes the experience of various countries that have implemented a flat tax rate. After having to complete federal, MA, and CA returns (finishing the last this morning) I certainly find the simplication that the flat tax offers very appealling. The CA form I found not prohibitively complicated, but much much more complicated that it perhaps could have been (Q: Is the income in CA earned by those turning people in via criminal hotlines large enough that it has to be an item in the instructions?). I'm certainly not qualified to muse upon the relative merits and drawbacks of such a tax program, but I suspect it has no chance here in the US. For one thing, some segment of the population would end up paying more than they used to, resulting in much wailing and gnashing of teeth. In addition, the other people involved in the tax system (besides the payers, of course) such as the IRS bureacracy, accountants, and lawyers, would not accept their likely reduced role quietly.


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