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The Complexity of the U.S. tax system

If you live in the United States and pay taxes, chances are you don’t have a clue how the U.S. tax system works. Many believe that’s because “the powers that be” want to keep you in the dark, but the more logical answer is that it’s just too complex to grasp. In fact, the IRS estimated that this complexity will cause you to take over 24 hours to complete a return. Since 1913, there have been over 69K pages added to the US tax code, which was only 400 pages long back then.


Of course, not everyone complains about how difficult it is to prepare tax returns. Accountants and other financial specialists see this as an opportunity to make money, and more than sixty percent of Americans gladly hand over their hard earned cash to preparers every year.


It’s highly unlikely that US citizens will ever get a firm grasp on the tax system, but will always stick with the basics; you pay until you die, you may get a refund, but will probably end up paying more at the close of the year. To many, that’s all they need to know. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a clear understanding as to what all 70, 320 pages of the tax code actually mean?