Agricultural Tithing and (Flat) Tax Complexity

Adam S. Chodorow Chodorow


Tax complexity has been of major concern to legislators and academics almost since the first income tax was enacted in 1913, and scholars have generated a large and varied body of scholarship on the subject. Some scholars have explored the causes and nature of complexity, while others have focused on how best to simplify the current income tax, while keeping its major design features in place. Those interested in more radical reform of the current tax system have seized on the purported complexity of controversial provisions, such as the progressive rate structure and the tax preference for capital gains, to justify the elimination of those features. More recently, consumption tax advocates have claimed that such taxes are inherently less complex than the income tax, and therefore, we should replace the income tax altogether with some form of consumption tax. Indeed, Steve Forbes has repeatedly argued that his preferred form of consumption tax is so straightforward that we can calculate our taxes using a simple postcard and abolish the IRS in the process.

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This journal is published by the University Library System,  University of Pittsburgh.

ISSN 0041-9915 (print) 1942-8405 (online)