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Trash the Tax Code? Survey Finds Support Growing for an Overhaul

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Jul 6th 2015
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Should the Internal Revenue Code be tossed out in the evening trash? According to a survey by Let Freedom Ring, a conservative-leaning nonprofit organization headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, that idea isn't far-fetched.

The results of the survey, released on June 29, revealed that a clear majority of respondents (69.9 percent) believe the tax code should be terminated at the end of 2019 if significant tax reform isn't enacted by then.

McLaughlin & Associates, an independent polling firm located in Blauvelt, New York, conducted the nationwide survey of 1,008 respondents.

The following are three of the survey's key findings.

1. Three out of four respondents find the tax code to be “unfair.”

Respondents were asked if the current federal tax code is “generally fair and equitable” or if it is “unfair to the average taxpayer because it favors special interests through special incentives, exemptions, and loopholes.” Seventy-five percent answered that the tax code is “unfair.” This included 72.6 percent of self-identified Democrats, 73.3 percent of self-identified Republicans, and 81.3 percent of self-identified Independents.

2. Eighty-five percent of respondents believe that tax reform won't occur unless something is done to force action.

When asked if something needs to be done to force Congress to get serious about tax reform before 2020, 85 percent said some action is needed. This included 85 percent of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Only 4 percent of respondents disagreed.

3. Almost seven out of 10 respondents support termination of the tax code at the end of 2019.

Respondents were asked if they “support or oppose terminating the current tax code at the end of 2019 as a way of forcing Congress to enact tax reform before then.” According to the survey, 69.9 percent said they support such an effort. This included 68.9 percent of Democrats, 72.9 percent of Republicans, and 68.1 percent of Independents. Nearly 10 percent of respondents opposed the idea, while 20 percent were undecided.

Earlier this year, Let Freedom Ring launched a nonpartisan initiative, “Sunset The Tax Code,” to generate support for overhauling the existing tax laws. The group backs legislation introduced in the House earlier this year by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) that would sunset the current tax code by Dec. 31, 2019, and calls on Congress to approve a new federal tax system by July of that same year.

“Even though tax reform has been discussed for many years, we have yet to see any major actions to simplify the tax code. We must force Congress to tackle tax reform head on. The best way forward is to scrap the current tax code and start fresh,” Goodlatte said on Jan. 6. “That's why I have introduced the Tax Code Termination Act. This legislation would allow us, as a nation, to collectively decide what the new tax system should look like. There are many competing alternatives, but having a set date to end the current tax code will force the issue and the debate to the top of the national agenda. Whichever tax system is adopted, I am certain that if Congress is forced to address the issue, we can create a tax code that is simpler, fairer, and better for our economy than the one we are forced to comply with today.”

According to Let Freedom Ring, the bill has 81 co-sponsors and is being ushered through the House Ways and Means Committee by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX).

“This national survey shows that the public believes the tax code is unfair, that tax reform is unlikely without a forcing mechanism, and that Sunset the Tax Code proposes to do exactly what a large and bipartisan majority will support,” Let Freedom Ring President Colin Hanna said in a written statement. “We hope members of Congress, in both parties, see sunsetting the current tax code at the end of 2019 as a positive and logical way to break the current stalemate and move toward a better, simpler tax system.”

Related article:

Survey: Americans Believe Tax System is in Need of an Overhaul

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