Government Bytes


The 1986 Tax Reform Act is 27 Years Old Today

by Douglas Kellogg / /

On this date 27 years ago President Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act into law, saying, “After almost three years of commitment and hard work, one headline in the Washington Post told the whole story, “The Impossible Became the Inevitable.”

After nearly three decades, tax reform buzz has returned to Capitol Hill, and once again a bloated tax code that suppresses growth poses a seemingly impossible adversary. President Reagan credited the American people for ‘never giving up’, and being a key factor in making such initially daunting reform possible – that ‘X’ factor will have to be present today for a tax reform push to succeed.

National Taxpayers Union’s annual study of tax complexity helps paint a stark picture of the tax code’s massive growth since that landmark bill signing in 1986, and the need for another tax reform effort today…

In 1985 the 1040 form’s instructions were 52 pages long, in 2012 they were 214 pages long. Not surprisingly, the use of paid preparers has shot up by more than ten percentage points along side that growth in complexity. Tax complexity cost the U.S. economy $240 billion dollars last year.

With an economy starving for growth, if the American taxpayer makes their voice heard, perhaps the impossible will become the inevitable once again.