NTU Supports H.R. 1397, the Seniors' Tax Simplification Act

Dear Doctor Fleming and Representative Graham:

On behalf of the members of National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write to endorse H.R. 1397, your “Seniors’ Tax Simplification Act.” This legislation would create a new 1040SR form that simplifies tax filing requirements for seniors, who often have multiple sources of non-wage income not accounted for under the standard 1040EZ.

While the creation of a new tax form is sometimes cause for concern among taxpayers, in this instance, H.R. 1397 would ease the pain of the annual filing ritual for many seniors. NTU’s 2014 tax complexity study found that Americans spent more than 6.1 billion hours complying with our federal tax laws. All that time, combined with billions spent on tax software and other out-of-pocket costs, puts the total burden of compliance at a staggering $224.3 billion a year – just for federal income taxes alone.

By using the 1040EZ form, rather than the “long” form 1040, many taxpayers have been able to streamline their tax filing by avoiding detailed deductions and other time-consuming calculations. However, the 1040EZ form doesn’t take into account pensions or Social Security; two forms of income that are among the most common for seniors in their retirement. The proposed 1040SR form keeps the same basic model of the simplified 1040EZ with added lines to include Social Security, retirement benefits, interest, and capital gains. This provides a streamlined solution – at no additional net cost to taxpayers – for seniors, who can be especially hard-hit by the financial and technical considerations involved in the filing process.

Tax compliance shouldn’t be an expensive logistical nightmare for citizens. To help spur economic growth and international competitiveness, our current federal, state, and local tax systems should be replaced with alternatives that are less complex, less burdensome, and less economically harmful. Americans need comprehensive tax reform that results in a fairer, flatter system.

Until a top-to-bottom overhaul of the tax laws can be completed, H.R. 1397 would be a step in the right direction by providing immediate relief for seniors. NTU is pleased to endorse the “Seniors’ Tax Simplification Act” and urges all Representatives to cosponsor this legislation.

Nan Swift
Federal Affairs Manager