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The Main Reason Tax Forms Are So Complicated

Posted by libhom Monday, April 20, 2009

envelopes with tax forms in them
Photo: Joy Weese Moll

I read the post complaining about filling out taxes at Swerve Left, and it got me thinking. He focused largely on having to pay taxes for reprehensible things. However, it got me interested in discussing why the damned forms are so complex.

Part of it probably is due to lobbying by tax preparers. I think that is especially likely here in New York where you have to add and subtract the same numbers on different pages of the forms. However, there is a bigger underlying reason why the forms are so ridiculously byzantine.

There are way too many tax breaks for the rich.

So many of the lines on the forms are either for deducting things that middle class people, not to mention poor people, cannot afford. A lot of other items are income that the government treats differently and favorably because rich people get it. Capital gains are only the most blatant area where unearned money is taxed at lower rates than money people earn by working for it.

If we had a more equitable and less corrupt political system, the rich wouldn't get away with what they are doing. In the process, filling out tax forms would much less painful and annoying.



  1. RickB Says:
  2. And it's a con, the people who decide, pay almost none,the trickle up is a torrent since the 80's. We pay tax to look after each other while the rich just take and take.
    And wow!! After a preview I swear the word verification is -taxes- !

  3. Christopher Says:
  4. The worst tax forms are New York state tax forms.

    I will not miss them when we move back to California.

    The Federal forms I can usually manage and if I can't, I just go to H&R Block and pay them to deal with everything.

    But, the New York state tax forms are like everything in this state: a mess, antiquated and unwieldy.

  5. Batocchio Says:
  6. Schedule D is the one that gives me headaches when I have to fill it out - the rest aren't too bad, for the federal. Several people have suggested adding more marginal rates at the top, which would tax the rich, the super-rich and the obscenely rich more. Do that, enforce it and raise the personal deduction and you could have a simpler and more fair code.

  7. Anonymous Says:
  8. It's all those reptilian humanoids infiltrating the government!

  9. two crows Says:
  10. I'm among the lucky, I guess.

    In Florida, we have Fed taxes but no state income tax. That's why God invented tourists. :)



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