WASHINGTON -- A new congressional report on the complexity of America's tax code recommends eliminating or streamlining dozens of taxes and abolishing numerous limitations on tax breaks based on income.
The report by the staff of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, running 1,300 pages over three volumes, marks one of the most comprehensive efforts to show Congress how to simplify a tax code that amounts to nearly 1.4 million words, more than 650 tax forms and about 13,000 pages of explanation.
The report was issued in advance of a Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday on tax complexity.
The recommendations for individual taxpayers include elimination of the alternative minimum tax, which "no longer serves the purposes for which it was intended." The complicated tax was intended to ensure that very wealthy people didn't escape taxation through legal means. The tax increasingly threatens the middle class because it was never indexed for inflation. It will strike at least 21 million taxpayers by 2011.
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