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IRS scandal should be rallying cry for tax reform

POSTED: June 5, 2013 10:05 a.m.

The more we learn about the Internal Revenue Service targeting groups based on their ideologies, the more chilling the case becomes.

Agents did not just target groups with the words "tea party" in their name — they went after groups whose applications contained the word "patriot" or those who focused on the need to "make America a better place."

For one pro-life group, the IRS demanded justification for their prayer meetings. The group’s eventual approval came with the condition that they stopped protesting abortions performed by Planned Parenthood.

We need answers. In addition to calling for accountability at the agency, I have asked for a list of all Georgia-based groups that were targeted as part of the scheme so we can have a better understanding of just how broad this scandal reached.

Accountability is important, but it is not enough. This case makes clear that the IRS has gotten too big and too powerful.

The genesis of this agency’s power lies in the complexity of our tax code.

Today, the American people spend 6.1 billion hours complying with the tax code at a cost of $168 billion, according to the Taxpayer Advocate Service. That’s enough time to build the Empire State Building 619,918 times over or to build 165,365 Golden Gate bridges.

Not only does our overly complex tax code take a lot of time and money just for compliance, it empowers special interests and IRS bureaucrats over most citizens.

While special interests exploit loopholes to skirt their tax bill, the IRS targets regular people trying to comply with the tax code because they are easier targets. As made clear in this case, the complexity of our tax code also gives agents far too much discretion in how to enforce the law.

This incident should be a rallying cry for all Americans that it is time to scrap the IRS and our outdated tax code.

That is why I support the Fair Tax. This legislation would eliminate all taxes and replace them with one, simple, retail-sales tax. Necessities would be tax-free through a prebate program that prevents an undue burden on low-income families.

By eliminating all the complicated forms and the special-interest loopholes, the IRS would no longer be needed and everyone would pay their fair share.

An added benefit: anonymous bureaucrats would no longer have the ability to stifle groups based on their perceived ideology.

 

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