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ICYMI – Brady Houston Chronicle Op-Ed: Congress Working to End the Nightmare of Tax Season

April 18, 2017

Congress has a ‘blueprint’ to ditch Tax Day stress
Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Houston Chronicle
April 17, 2017

Today is Tax Day – one of the most stressful times of the year for millions of Texans. It’s an annual reminder of just how costly, complex and unfair America’s tax code has become.

In many ways, the tax code Americans confront today is similar to the one President Ronald Reagan confronted and successfully overhauled three decades ago. As he described it, the tax code had become a “haven for special interests and tax manipulators, but an impossible frustration for everybody else.” 

“It wasn’t too much to call it un-American,” Reagan said. The same is true today. 

According to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Americans will spend more than 8.9 billion hours doing their taxes for 2016. This comes out to roughly 4.3 million full-time workers doing nothing but tax paperwork all year – equal to the entire populations of Houston, Dallas and Austin combined. 

All of the time and money it takes to deal with today’s broken tax code is incredibly aggravating. But, the tolls of tax season that often weigh heaviest on Americans are the ones we cannot quantify. It’s the stress leading up to Tax Day, the abysmal service from the Internal Revenue Service, and the anxiety of knowing that one mistake in filing your taxes could mean significant IRS penalties. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, I’m leading efforts to end the nightmare of tax season. House Republicans have released a blueprint for bold, pro-growth tax reform. Over the coming weeks our committee will hold a series of hearings focused on overhauling America’s broken tax code. Working with President Trump, we are dedicated to making tax reform a reality.

The House Blueprint delivers a 21st century tax system that truly works for – not against – the American people. This plan will grow our economy, raise wages and make life easier for people in Texas and throughout America. 

The independent Tax Foundation estimates that, over the next decade, our proposal will help create more than 140,000 full-time Texas jobs and grow take-home pay for middle-income Texas households by nearly $5,000.

This starts by making our tax code dramatically simpler and fairer. In fact, under our Blueprint, 9 out of 10 Americans will be able to file on a form as simple as a postcard.

Our proposal closes dozens of unfair special interest loopholes, lowers income tax rates for all Americans and flattens the code down to just three tax brackets. We also simplify and improve family-focused provisions that help Americans buy a home, send their kids to college and give back to their local church or charity. And, to unleash job creation and wage growth, we deliver the lowest tax rates in modern history for American businesses of all sizes. 

With this simpler, fairer tax code, taxpayers need a simpler, fairer tax collector. That’s why Blueprint redesigns the IRS into an agency with a singular focus: taxpayer service. 

Instead of the unaccountable, unresponsive agency that exists today, the IRS will be structured around three service units dedicated to providing top-quality customer support to different groups of taxpayers. One unit will be devoted to helping individuals and families. Another will do the same for businesses. And a third, independent unit will function similar to a small claims court where taxpayers can find swift resolution to minor tax disputes. 

This Tax Day, Americans have a real choice about the path forward. Let’s seize the opportunity to ditch our broken tax code and go in a new direction with a system focused on job growth, simplicity and taxpayer service. 

Brady, R-The Woodlands, is chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee.