Tax revolution can foster fairness
Thoughts for Tax Time
Once again it's the time of year many of us dread - scrambling to get our taxes filed by midnight tonight (April 15).
If the IRS decides you owe more because of an error, you get penalized (with interest) and fined. That's your punishment for being unable to interpret the 60,000-plus pages of convoluted tax code. There has to be an easier way to pay your fair share of taxes, and there is.
Consider what it would be like under a new bill, currently in Congress, referred to as the FairTax Act of 2007. This legislation, a mere 133 pages, is simple, transparent, progressive and replaces every dollar currently being collected to fund the federal government, Social Security and Medicare.
The simplicity is in how it works. Taxes would be collected whenever you buy a new product or service at the retail level through an inclusive sales tax. It's completely transparent because you always know what you pay in taxes. Your total tax would be on the receipt. You choose when and how much you'll pay in taxes. If you decide to save that money, you pay less in taxes. To make sure it is progressive and protects low-wage workers, all households would receive a "prebate" check at the beginning of each month. That money would cover taxes on the necessities of life. It would ensure that each family could consume, at or beyond the poverty level, tax free. That would encourage and reward hard work, not tax it as our current system does. Those at the lowest income levels stand to benefit the most.
As a bonus, since the FairTax taxes purchases, we suddenly would be collecting taxes from foreign tourists, illegal immigrants, drug dealers and many others who operate in the shadows and do not pay taxes now. We'd collect more from the wealthy because they buy more new products. Under our current system, they are able to avoid being taxed at higher rates by drawing their income from lower-taxed capital gains and dividends.
The best part is that all federal income taxes are eliminated. You take home your entire paycheck, pension and Social Security payments. The FairTax also eliminates all payroll, corporate and self-employment taxes. Companies that have left this country because of our oppressive tax code would return, leading to more jobs and higher wages. The FairTax doesn't tax investment of any kind. It repeals estate, gift and capital gains taxes, giving retirees the security they deserve. Their legacies would be passed on without government intervention. Because all of these taxes are eliminated, we would never have to file a tax return again.
Sound too good to be true? I often hear friends say that it sounds great, but Congress will never pass it. Congress, lawyers and lobbyists in Washington, D.C., are making their livings off manipulating the tax code to satisfy special interests, curry favors and receive exorbitant pay. They will never give up that power voluntarily. This is all the more reason to work toward passage of the FairTax, because it would eliminate these special tax lobbyists as well as the IRS as we know it. It would bring about the biggest transfer of power to "We the people" since the American Revolution.
These are just a few of the benefits. You can read more at www.FairTax.org, which does a much more thorough job of explaining the benefits for tax-paying Americans. Become an informed taxpayer, get behind the FairTax and force Congress to make the change. You can do it by calling, writing and e-mailing your representatives in Congress and by signing petitions like the one at FairTax.org. You also can join us locally for a FairTax Rally at the Lake Hallie Village Hall at 6 p.m. Sunday. Let them know we will not yield to special interests anymore. When they see the growth in support for the Fairfax, they'll have no choice but to listen.
The candidates all talk about nonpartisan change, so here is their chance: Together we can make April 15 just another spring day.
Martin, of Eau Claire, is a community coordinator for Americans For Fair Taxation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.