April 15, 2008

Washington, D.C. -

As millions of Americans scramble to file their taxes today, U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, called on Congress to reform our nation’s complex tax system in order to reduce complexity, promote savings and growth and raise sufficient revenue to cover the nation’s expenditures while ensuring that distribution of the tax burden reflects individuals’ ability to pay.

"Our tax code is overly complex and nearly impossible for businesses and taxpayers alike to plan for the future with the temporary nature of so many provisions in the tax code," Senator Snowe said. "Perhaps the most compelling reason for tax reform is that Americans waste literally billions of dollars to comply with our overly complicated tax system."

Senator Snowe cited a report submitted by the President’s Tax Reform Panel that found our tax code’s complexity has an economic cost that totals approximately $140 billion per year or more than $1,000 per family. The report found that in 2004, Americans spent more than 3.5 billion hours doing their taxes. On average, Americans spend the equivalent of more than half of one work week – 26 hours – on their taxes each year.

"I believe Americans would rather spend $1,000 on feeding and clothing their children and 26 hours with their families instead of spending that money on time on their taxes," Senator Snowe added.

Senator Snowe also cited the need to address the alternative minimum tax (AMT) pointing out that "unless Congress stems the tide of the AMT by taking definitive action, it will ensnare more than 4 million taxpayers this year."

Senator Snowe, the Ranking Member of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, also cited the need to provide relief for small businesses as a critical starting point for tax reform, "Our current tax system places a disproportionate tax compliance burden on small businesses. I have introduced a package of proposals that will provide not only targeted, affordable tax relief to small business owners, but also simpler rules under the tax code. Small businesses should not be forced to divert precious resources away from new equipment or worker training to meet tax code requirements."