Today, the National Taxpayer Advocate issued its 2012 Annual Report to Congress. Key findings include:
It takes U.S. taxpayers (both individuals and businesses) more than 6.1 billion hours to complete tax filings.
For 2010, the Taxpayer Advocate estimated that it cost individual and corporate taxpayers $168 billion to comply with the code.
Today’s tax code contains almost four million words.
On average, more than one new tax provision is added to the tax code each day.
Roughly nine out of 10 Americans rely on paid professionals or commercial software to prepare their tax returns (nearly 60 percent of taxpayers hire paid preparers; another 30 percent use software).
In 2000, (the most recent tax year for which the Taxpayer Advocate found data), taxpayers spent about 18 million hours completing and filling out Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) tax forms to determine whether they owed the tax, leading the Advocate to suggest repeal of the AMT.
Clearly, this report reinforces what Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) often says of the tax code: “It is ten times the size of the Bible with none of the Good News.”