We have previously written about the complicated and ever-changing tax laws in the United States. And while Congressional politicians complain the most about taxes and the IRS, they are largely to blame for the state of our tax code. According to Forbes, some 66 major tax laws have been passed by Congress since 1960 - more than one per year.
This is in addition to many smaller changes (about 379 pieces of tax-related legislation have been passed since 1979). And if you think tax volatility is a recent phenomenon, there is evidence to suggest it has been happening at least since the Civil War.
The author of a recent Forbes article cites a plea from the IRS commissioner in 1863. He asked lawmakers for stability, arguing that unpredictable taxes would push business owners to prioritize immediate gains (through perhaps unsavory methods) over honest, long-term growth.
In the years leading up to World War II, the Secretary of War warned that the country's rearmament efforts might be hurt by tax uncertainty. In this election year, politicians will be talking even more about the need for tax reform, or even a "complete overhaul" of the tax system. If it hasn't happened yet, should we really trust that it's going to?
With change being the only constant in tax law, is it any wonder that so many Americans are confused at tax time? Keeping up with changes in the law is essentially a full-time job.
Thankfully there are people who can help: certified public accountants and tax law attorneys. If you find yourself facing questions about tax compliance or have been audited by the IRS, please don't face these problems alone. Instead seek the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney.