Tax Day is on Monday!
As we approach our national “Tax Day” – April 18th this year – many Americans, including myself, are faced with anxieties and frustrations over our broken tax system that desperately needs reform. This tax season is unique in the fact that it is coupled with a historic election year, where I am hopeful we will see true conservative values prevail.
At the same time, my colleagues and I must continue pushing for a more simplified tax code that promotes economic growth. Americans face a confusing and costly challenge every year to file their taxes. In fact, in 2012, the National Taxpayer Advocate wrote, “A simpler, more transparent tax code will substantially reduce the estimated 6.1 billion hours and $168 billion that taxpayers spend on return preparation.” I could not agree more. We need a simpler, flatter and fairer tax code—period.
Additionally, we must prevent additional burdensome and superfluous taxes that President Obama has enacted on American families and businesses for more than seven years. The most notable tax increase on families by this president was done through his failed healthcare law, “ObamaCare.” Not only have Floridians and Americans across the country lost their doctors and seen their premiums skyrocket under this set of broken laws, but they are forced to pay an egregious tax pertaining to their own personal health and well being.
ObamaCare mandates that anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance, as defined by presidential-appointed bureaucrats, must pay an income surtax. The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated six million American families will be liable for the tax, and 100 percent of the 140 million Americans filing a tax return will be forced to submit paperwork to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) showing they had “qualifying” health insurance for every month of the tax year.
Additionally, the President’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget for 2017 imposes $2.8 trillion in tax hikes that raise taxes on businesses and investments that would slow economic growth. His budget also increases taxes on oil by $273 billion. This is a tax on Americans in the low and middle classes, and on small businesses throughout our communities. This budget further increases taxes on investments by $245 billion, and by $543 billion in limits on deductions and exclusions.
Taxpayers will collectively spend more on taxes in 2016 than they will on food, clothing and housing combined. In total, Americans will pay $3.3 trillion in federal taxes and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total bill of almost $4.9 trillion, or 31 percent of the nation’s income.
Within our tax code are a number of incentives to support health savings accounts, retirement, education, childcare, and business depreciation. However, the complexity of our code prevents individuals from utilizing these incentives. For example, taxpayers have to interpret 11 different types of IRAs, three distinct ways to help with childcare, and 14 various education incentives, all with complex rules and conflicting definitions attached. Americans need us to simply these laws.
For the past 15 years, conservatives in Congress have advocated for legislation to provide more long-term tax certainty for businesses, job creators and families that will help grow our economy. Congress recently passed legislation that will make more than 20 tax provisions permanent, and will help American taxpayers and job creators keep more of their hard-earned dollars.
Additionally, this legislation will better protect taxpayers by reining in the improper actions of the IRS, including firing IRS employees who take politically motivated actions against taxpayers, requiring IRS employees to respect the taxpayer bill of rights, and prohibiting IRS employees from using personal e-mail accounts for official business.
There is a growing urgency for a tax reform overhaul that simplifies our tax system and compliance for individuals, families and small businesses. As a former small business owner in Florida, I know pro-growth policies that foster the American entrepreneurial spirit are the best avenues we have to create jobs and advance innovation. The health of our economy is reflected in large part by the willingness of business owners to grow and hire new workers, and we must continue giving them the tools and incentives to do so, including improving our tax code.
In addition to providing better financial health for individuals, families and small businesses, more simplified tax policies will help combat fraud, improve tax compliance, increase filing accuracy, reduce burdens, and place the United States on a more competitive platform internationally.
As the receiver of the Tax Fighter and the Taxpayer Hero Awards, as well as a proud co-sponsor of the Fair Tax Act, I promise to keep fighting to simplify our tax laws, ease compliance burdens, and not raise taxes on hardworking Americans.
As always, please continue to write, call and email your opinions to my office. I could not effectively represent you in Congress without the advice of my constituents. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Congress.
Dennis A. Ross