Most Americans need help to file our tax return each year - about 90% of people use technology like Turbo Tax, or hire a human tax preparer. Why does it feel like it takes degree in accounting, or the money to pay someone with a degree, or computer software, just to comply with the law?
We talk about why our income tax system is the way it is: full of complexity, difficult to navigate, and extremely personal. It's a system where things like who you work for, what kind of resources you have, and how you spend your money, are directly connected to how much you owe the government each year, and what the government provides for you in return. So how did we get here?
Helping us untangle this history is Eric Toder, Institute fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, Beverly Moran, Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University, where she focuses on federal income taxation, including individuals, partnerships, tax-exempt organizations and corporate, and Joe Thorndike, Director of the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts.
Stay tuned for our follow up episode on how to do your taxes successfully, and correctly - we'll talk about the IRS, enforcement and compliance, and the rise of tax preparation software.