Tax Day Beauty: 'The Tax Complexity Factbook'

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - One week before the 2000 tax filing deadline, The Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Senator Connie Mack (R-FL) released the "Tax Complexity Factbook" on Monday to inform taxpayers just how much time, effort and money it takes our families and businesses to comply with the very complex US tax code.

At the beginning of the 20th century, federal taxes accounted for less than 3 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP), and the entire tax code and regulations filled just a few hundred pages.

One hundred years later, federal taxes account for 20 percent of GDP, and a complete set of federal tax rules spans more than 46,000 pages.

Other facts of interest worth noting about the US tax code:

This year, the tax code itself fills a thick volume with 2,840 pages and about 2.8 million words. In comparison, the Bible has about 1,340 pages and 0.8 million words.

The IRS estimates that Americans will spend 6.1 billion hours - over 3 million person-years - complying with the federal tax system in 2000.

Over half of individual taxpayers use a paid preparer for their income tax return, up from less than 20 percent in 1960.

Estimates of the costs of federal tax compliance are on the order of $200 billion, or about 10 percent of revenue raised by the federal government.

The IRS receives over 110 million phone calls a year for help by taxpayers. In 1999, the IRS was able to answer only 73 percent of inquiries correctly.

Individuals and businesses had to deal with 481 separate IRS tax forms in 1999, a rise of 20 percent from 403 forms in 1990.

To view the JEC Tax Complexity Factbook in its entirety, please visit the official JEC website at: