As details emerge of the IRS targeting groups for how they view the world, not how they comply with the tax code, many wonder if anything can be accomplished in this escalating culture of distrust. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the scandal highlights the urgent need to reform the IRS by simplifying the tax code.
As is, the tax code is so burdensome and complex that Americans spend an average of 13 hours a year trying to comply. Taxpayers can’t help but fear as they submit their forms that they’ve left themselves vulnerable to an audit. Even before details of the IRS scandal came out, there was an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and mistrust about the massive amount of power the IRS holds.
Now, calling for IRS reform is a popular part of the public conversation. Republicans and Democrats alike are on the record as strong advocates of change, denouncing the agency’s actions as “unthinkable” and “an outrageous abuse of power.” It’s brought the pressing flaws in the tax code front and center.
And Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp is prepared for this rush of support.
After taking the gavel in the 112th Congress, Camp made the case for updating our tax code. He knew it would be a laborious, complex process but said the one way to assure that tax reform does not happen is to not do the work.
So, Camp and those of us on the Ways and Means Committee have been doing the work.
The committee has held 20 hearings on how to rebuild the tax code. In bipartisan working groups, we discuss how to make the tax code simpler for small businesses and individuals, how to create growth through leveling the international taxation playing field and how to ease the compliance burden to make America more competitive globally.
Under Camp’s leadership, we have produced numerous drafts on many aspects of our tax code. We’ve laid the groundwork that will take this newfound momentum surrounding the government’s breach of trust and move forward to create a new tax code that is fair for all Americans.
The IRS’ overreach is disturbing and we must never let it happen again. Simply put, you can’t reform the IRS without reforming the tax code.
Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., is chief deputy majority whip and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.