Taxes are Taxing to the Brain--Any Ideas?
A number of years ago, feminists were appalled by a version of Barbie which declared "Math is so hard!" Turn ahead to the early 21th century and a finding by Thomas De Lorenzo of Ernst and Young that taxes were hard--even for users of Turbo Tax. Almost a third of users surveyed were unable to distinguish between a tax deduction and a tax credit--considered a fairly simple concept in the field of tax. De Lorenzo believes that many taxpayers treat tax preparation as a gamble and miss tax planning opportunities which could decrease their tax liability or defer the time of payment. Author Roger Russell's conclusion: do a better job of educating future taxpayers at the K-12 level.
Two thoughts:  Mr. Russell's call for education, though appearing to be obvious, still has validity. Two possible sources: Junior Achievement where available and a campaign by the AICPA simlar to their "Feed the Pig" program on personal finance.  while De Lorenzo and Russell correctly point out that tax simplification is unlikely to completely solve the education gap on taxes; a streamlined tax system could hardly hurt--and might even help with the "tax gap" which Democrats frequently bring forward. The FAIR tax advocated by Neal Boortz and Mike Huckabee has gained little traction in primaries and the "9-9-9" plan of Herman Cain is now almost forgotten--but tax simplication and streamlining is still a worthy goal.