What Tax Preparers Want to do to the Tax Code
What do tax preparers think should be done to overhaul the tax code: Todd Kehoe, Research Director for the Albany Business Review, polled 25 of the top preparers in the Albany, NY area to find the answers.
Before I go any further, let me first thank them all [the 25 preparers] for getting me the information. A certain foolish research director scheduled this survey to coincide with the filing deadline for anyone who asked for an extension on their taxes back in April.
But once they were done with their clients who waited until the last minute (OK, technically, a full six months past the official last minute), they offered a few thoughts about our taxes.
First off, there was one big response to a change in tax law that the preparers think will affect filings next year: The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
Seventy-five percent of respondents said the health care reform law will likely complicate filings next year.
It wasn't the only response. Several preparers noted the change in tax on investment income as possibly throwing a monkey wrench into next year's filings, while others noted a new Medicare tax for small businesses and the self-employed as being a potential hurdle.
So those are the potential tax hurdles in 2014. But let's say, for a second, that we pulled the tax codes out of the hands of Congress and the IRS and let our local tax preparers work on them. What would they do?
It all boils down to one idea: Simplification.
There were a few concrete suggestions, ranging from the elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) to the taxation of municipal bond income. A new look at charitable contribution deductions and a reduction of the corporate tax rate also were put forth.
But over and over, the suggestion of making taxes simpler was the thrust of what local tax preparers think ought to be done.
Another clever idea I liked would be to force Congress to make any tax law changes by July 1, thus preventing them from pulling the rug out from early filers with a late change to the tax code at the end of a year.
Or, if you really want to get crazy, we could do what one firm suggested with the tax code: Start over.
Talk about your not-so-pleasant afternoons.
Source: The BR BixBlog at http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/blog/2013/10/off-the-list-tax-preparers-tax-code.html