Nation's Largest Taxpayer Group ...

Pete Sepp ...Backs Bipartisan Bill for "Tax Reform with Teeth"

(Washington, DC) -- April 15th may be more than half a year away, but according to the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), it's definitely not too early to work on making future tax filing seasons less burdensome. At a Capitol Hill news conference today with federal lawmakers and other citizen groups, NTU expressed strong support for legislation that would spur Congressional action on reforming America's tax system.

"The Tax Reform Action Commission (TRAC) legislation will put much-needed teeth into a tax reform process that has been mostly bark and no bite for many years," said NTU Vice President for Communications Pete Sepp. "Congress needs to kick-start consideration of the many worthy proposals for tax reform that are being developed, and TRAC can pave the way for this vital national debate."

The TRAC Act, introduced by Reps. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Ralph Hall (D-TX), and a bipartisan group of House Members, would establish a 15-member panel whose recommendations for changes to the Tax Code would automatically be formulated into legislation subject to special rules that would ensure expedited consideration in the House and Senate. Although many proposals for consumption-based or flat-rate tax alternatives have been introduced in both chambers (e.g., H.R. 25, S. 1493, H.R. 1783, and S. 1040), Sepp contends that the actual implementation of tax reform has lacked a sufficiently powerful catalyst. Previous attempts to provide this mechanism, such as Tax Code "sunset" bills, have fallen short.

According to Sepp, passage of TRAC would come "none too soon for taxpayers, who are being threatened with a federal Tax Code about to collapse under the weight of its own complexity." This year an NTU study of rising complexity in the Tax Code noted that the standard 1040 "long form" and its schedules took 40 percent more time to prepare for Tax Year 2002 than for Tax Year 1997. Worse, seven short years from now, as many as 35 million taxpayers may be forced to contend with the dreaded "Alternative Minimum Tax," a separate system of complex tax laws originally designed to snare a handful of wealthy Americans.

"It is fitting that 'Action' literally is the TRAC bill's middle name, because Congress must act soon to spare Americans from increasingly painful tax headaches in the near future," Sepp concluded. "The TRAC bill gives tax reform the traction it needs to move forward."

NTU is a non-profit, non-partisan citizen group working for lower taxes, less wasteful spending, and accountable government at all levels. Note: NTU's letter of endorsement for TRAC, and NTU Policy Paper 110, A Taxing Trend: The Rise in Complexity, Forms, and Paperwork Burdens, are both available online at

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