Don't Allow Distractions to Derail Tax Reform

By Anderson, A. Scott | Deseret News (Salt Lake City), May 25, 2017 | Go to article overview

Don't Allow Distractions to Derail Tax Reform


Anderson, A. Scott, Deseret News (Salt Lake City)


The many controversies in Washington have overshadowed critical work that needs to be done to solve the nation's problems, including reforming the tax system to create jobs and ensure a strong economy.

I'm hopeful the president and Congress won't be diverted from moving pro-growth tax reform ahead. Tax reform is badly needed. The last meaningful tax overhaul was more than 30 years ago, so modernization is necessary. Our current tax system is too complex, distorting the economy and forcing individuals and businesses to make decisions driven by tax consequences, rather than what is good for the business, the individual and the economy.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, will be in the middle of tax reform as Congress focuses on it. He has discussed a number of key principles that provide guidance on healthy tax reform that bolsters the economy.

First, tax reform should be comprehensive, pro-growth and address both individual and corporate taxes. Corporate tax rates should be reduced so that the United States is competitive with countries that have much lower rates.

Second, tax reform should simplify the tax system so that average citizens can understand it. Certainly, complex businesses will always have complex tax returns, but typical citizens should not have to hire accountants and attorneys to determine their tax obligations and file returns.

Studies have shown that the tax code has become so complicated that even tax accountants and IRS employees frequently make mistakes in their calculations.

Third, tax reform should lower tax rates, broaden the tax base and reduce the number of tax brackets. Existing tax incentives, credits, deductions and exemptions should be reviewed to determine their cost, whether they hurt competition, and whether they distort the economy.

Tax breaks that provide a competitive advantage to one business sector at the expense of another should be carefully scrutinized. …

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