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March 27th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How would you change income tax laws?

ALT TEXT

Americans are currently preparing for next month’s income tax filing deadline whether using tax software, filing on paper forms or using a tax preparer. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With this year's tax deadline quickly approaching, President Obama is tackling tax reform. He's creating a task force to propose ways to simplify the tax code, reduce evasion, close loopholes and make changes in corporate tax breaks. But, their main goal is to raise revenue.

The task force, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, has only a couple of constraints: President Obama says they can't propose tax increases for 2009 and 2010; and after 2010, they can't propose tax increases on families making less than $250,000.

It's estimated there's a $300 billion a year tax gap - which is the difference between what taxpayers owe and what they actually pay. The biggest reason for this gap is under reporting of income. This isn't always intentional; sometimes it comes from honest mistakes by filers who are confused by a very complex tax code. The group is also expected to suggest ways to simplify different kinds of tax credits.

The tax task force will present its proposals to the president in early December. Then it will be a question of getting Congress to sign off on any changes.

Here’s my question to you: What changes would you make to the income tax laws?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Anna writes:
That's an easy one.  Set a percentage – say 10%.   Set that percentage for EVERYONE.  No loopholes.  No deductions.  Straight percentage.  No matter what your income, everyone pays the same percentage.  No one should complain.  And the taxes can be collected on a rotating basis.   Like getting a yearly inspection. That way, you always have money coming in.

Jim from Grand Junction, Colorado writes:
Simplification should be the absolute rule in income tax changes. Eliminate all the confusing deductions and percentage rules, etc. Most of the complicated rules favor those who are bending the rules. Simplification favors the low end of the income tax scale and also favors those who can't afford costly accountants who specialize in loopholes.

Bob from Spring Hill, Florida writes:
Changes that should be made include returning to a 39% top tax rate, having hedge fund managers’ compensation taxed as regular income instead of being taxed at the 15% capital gains rate, taxing adjusted gross income under $200,000 at a 10% rate and to top it off, remove the income "cap" on wages taxed for Social Security.

S. from Michigan writes:
A flat-rate tax across the board for all and no sales tax on goods. You want to see the economy take off? That's what we need. A one-page tax code.

Stan writes:
I would create a Federal Sales Tax. The benefits are that it would be easy to administer, streamline the IRS, encourage savings, eliminate the underground economy, and be fair to all. Some will argue it penalizes the poor/lower income because they spend 100% of their economy out of necessity. However, the benefits far outweigh the downside.

Kenny from Illinois writes:
Anything over $5 million a year, I would impose a 90% tax on. Simply put, if you can't live on five million each and every year, you're doing something so incredibly stupid you don't deserve that kind of money anyway!


Filed under: Tax Returns • Taxes
soundoff (365 Responses)
  1. Laurie in Lawrence, KS

    We need a flat tax, say 15%. That way, everyone pays the same proportion of their income. If you make a buck, you pay 15 cents. If you make a million, then you pay $150,000. We also need eliminate all deductions. No one can say this isn't fair

    March 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  2. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    I would simplify it. It would be a bracketed system like we have now, but the base tax you see is the tax you pay. Keep it simple, no loop holes. I think we'd all be suprised by how low our taxes can go if everyone's forced to pay them in full.

    March 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  3. Ed Reed

    None. That's the number one problem, they change it too often. Not only does it make it difficult to understantd and learn it, but long-term planning is impossible when they change the law every year.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    March 27, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  4. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    I would reduce the amount of tax liability for all income levels.....but then close all the loop holes people use to avoid paying their fair share. I believe if you set a tax rate at an affordable level, and then take steps to ensure everyone pays their share, it makes it easier on the tax payers and stil provides enough revenue for the common good.

    March 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  5. Keith - Cleveland

    Is this a trick question, Jack? This is a no-brainer... Make everyone pay a flat tax.

    1. It's fair for everyone;
    2. There are no longer loopholes;
    3. You reduce the cost of govt. by reducing the IRS by 80%;
    4. My grandma could fill out her own forms; and.....
    5. Congress and policy makers would be paying all their taxes;

    It works for everyone except congress, again....(see above)

    March 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  6. Philip from Toronto

    I would create a progressive tax system where those benefiting the most from a free and open market place, a safe and secure America pay the lions share of the much needed taxes to keep it that way.

    March 27, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  7. Burt used to have a job

    I would institute a 100% Inheritance tax and a 100% gift tax. Then the Kids of the 2% of America that controls business can prove that America is a land of equal opportunity. There is class warfare going on and the rich are winning.

    March 27, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  8. Jason, Koloa, HI

    Taxes get paid at the end of the fiscal year instead of being taken out of your check every time. Tax people making over 150k at fifty percent. It's time to stop promoting unnecessary greed. If people want far more than what they'll ever need, then they're going to have to learn how to share. NO LOOPHOLES, flat fifty percent.

    March 27, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  9. Bob Gries, San Diego

    Put back the Clinton tax rates that worked for a decade. When economy recovers, also put back the rates to where they were before Reagan cuts. Then we can pay our bills as a nation.

    March 27, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  10. Jayne

    I would raise taxes on everyone making over $50,000 a year and use the proceeds to fund universal, single-payer healthcare. The tax increase would be graduated, with the very wealthy paying the most. Wouldn't it be great? Those who can now afford health insurance wouldn't have to part with $12,000+ a year and those of us without it would become healthier and more productive. There would be no more bankruptcies from medical expenses and people could change jobs and careers without worrying about insurance policies. Businesses would find themselves swimming in money if they didn't have to foot the bill for health insurance.

    March 27, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  11. Diane/Allentown PA

    Flat tax rate Jack, enough of this April 15th nightmare. Think about it, you could get rid of the IRS – think of the savings that would generate, in forms alone!

    And, this Republican budget with the 25% for $100,000 and above? Come on, that's a 10% reduction from the current rate in case nobody's noticed. Nice try on that one.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  12. Tina Texas

    If you make $25,000 or less and retired you don't have to pay any income taxes which I would qualify. 🙂
    Tina
    Tx

    March 27, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  13. Rob of Brooklyn

    to be honest I'm tired of being taxed for every damn thing. Everytime our government screws up–we are the ones who pay for their messes. First of all get their damn act together- enough with the wars-enough with the pork projects–if we don't have the damn money how the hell can you spend it. .. what happened to adults in Washington.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  14. Venia PA

    The first law I would make is that Republicans could not amend, change, alter or rewrite any new or existing tax laws. After the disastrous eight years it has been proven that trickle down economics does not work!

    March 27, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  15. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Simple, anyone who makes over $100, 000 per year like you and Wolf would pay 25% of your income with no deductions at all, no IRS would be needed. The rest of us would not pay a dime. It's called sharing the wealth and real fairness.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  16. Melissa

    My question is "Why can't everyone pay the same amount of taxes based on percentage of wage". If someone is making a million a year, they should be paying the same percentage of tax as someone making twenty thousand a year.

    Never have I ever seen a country like the US where the rich pay less percentage taxes than the poor. Thats a completely insane mindset. That kind of mindset caused riots in previous centuries. Why would the US ever think that its able to escape the same thing?

    Just look at what happening in other country's right now. People are attacking rich bankers houses over the bonus money they received. It can easily happen here too.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  17. John from Alabama

    Jack: Single people who do not make more than $16,000.00 should not have to pay federal income tax. The deductable pecentage for charitable contributions is the same no matter what the income. I would like to see the Bush taxcuts for the top 5% end in December 31, 2009. I believe only 2 homes' mortgage interest should count as a deduction from income tax, not 3 or 7 homes with mortgage interest.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  18. Anita Roll

    Evansville, Indiana

    Hey Jack,

    I am so overwhelmed with taxes this year that I feel like I'm drowning in paperwork. I'm a freelance artist and travel a lot on my job and have to keep up with a lot of receipts and deductions. I would LOVE to have a flat tax or something like that because I know I along with millions of others are traumatized but this every year. Life shouldn't have to be so hard to keep up with the numbers and figuring and deducting and worrying. We need to simplify our system and make money in other ways to reduce taxes for everyone. I'm for a national lottery with many winners instead of just a few. I think if millions of people were encouraged to spend a couple of dollars a week at a chance to win money ,not a huge amount ,but a nice chunk of change and a fabulous trip for their family it might work. The country could be promoted in the trips to national landmarks and the lottery money could go for social security benefits or other programs that taxes traditionally go toward. This would release the burden from our paychecks and end of year headaches.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  19. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: I would change the tax base to a standard percentage-–if you make this amount-–you would pay X% of taxes--it is not the taxes that we pay that is question--it is what the inept Congress does with it when they spend it--the federal deficit-–the Geithner Rule of Economics--take it off the balance sheet--gone-and start a zero again.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  20. Hope M. Madisonville, KY

    Make the tax laws simpler. Even the IRS can't always give you a
    correct answer and when they do give you a wrong answer are not
    responsible for the mistakes you might make on your return when you
    follow their advice. Totally bogus philosophy. I think everyone should get a larger standard deduction so you don't pay any taxes on income under $50,000. Streamline it so the government is not wasting so much on IRS salaries. I'm in favor of a flat tax and tightening up loopholes so rich people aren't sticking their money in offshore banks to avoid paying their taxes.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  21. Jackie in Dallas

    We've got to do SOMETHING, Jack, because not even the IRS knows what the heck is in those thousands of pages of tax laws!

    I'm not an accountant or a tax specialist, Jack, but I lean toward a flat tax and close the loopholes. And I'd institute penalties on those who off-shore their earnings in order to avoid paying taxes. If they make the money here, it's taxable here.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  22. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    I think it is time for the flat tax in which everyone pays a given percentage of their income. A tax sytem that is fair and impartial would be one in which EVERYONE pays the same amount of taxes. Because of the wide range of our incomes it is not likely that everyone can pay the same monetary amount, but they can all pay the same percentage.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  23. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Tax every member of the thieves that created this mess and all the republicans at the rate of 110%. That seems fair to me.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  24. Kerry Diehl

    Flat tax on income period. No loop-holes, no graduated scales – simple and clean!

    March 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  25. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    I'd change the laws to get rid of the loopholes. Income is income. Period.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  26. Rick Medina,OH

    A part of me says that income tax laws just don't work ... there are so many ways to make a buck, subject to no tax. If you are unconvinced, ask any drug dealer or hooker.

    We won't have true tax reform, until we understand that tax laws only have one goal ... collect money, and not be a part of some mandate for reform or other goals. The only question is ... who do we collect money from, and how much!

    I travel to Europe often, and while I have issues with many of their systems, they understand taxes ... taxing people who 'get,' makes more sense than anything else. We need a tax system that is more focused on consumption rather than income. And it needs to be fair, and recognize that consumption for basics (food, health care, etc.) needs to be handled differently than a guy 'hell-bent' on buying a Bentley.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    March 27, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  27. Peg

    Let's consider giving the middle class a serious tax break, along with
    those with less monies. It is time to up the tax on the wealthy. Plain and simple. We need less disparity and more of an equal playing field. Hope springs eternal!

    March 27, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  28. Dan W.

    I'd add a bracket. "uber" wealthy would pay %1 more. "uber" = $15 mil. a year and bouns' are taxed as income in this bracket.
    Cut cap. gains %5. Lower business tax's %10 but close all "loop holes" so the amount taxed is the amount paid.

    Dan.
    Hondo, TX

    March 27, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  29. Mack in Traverse city Michigan

    This is nutty but I would change the income tax laws so each taxpayer could specify where his money would be spent. Paying taxes might not be quite so painful if I could spend it on what I believe it should be spent on.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  30. Pablo in Tejas

    Jack
    The more you benefit from system structure; the more you should pay to support the system. Therefore, I would make the tax laws more progressive, have deductions for things that strengthen the nation, like education, home buying, charitable and political contributions, and with fewer loopholes.
    Then in my spare time I could cure cancer, colonise Mars and bring world peace.

    Pablo
    Arlington Texas

    March 27, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  31. Steve

    Just a simple flat of 12-15% that everyone pays. No deductions, no exemptions. Post card filing.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  32. Bill in St. Cloud, FL

    Jack,

    How about a flat tax of 15% on all who make over $35,000? Add a 5% federal tax to all non-essential purchases (no tax on food, transportation, housing). Then, get rid of the IRS. Huge savings!

    March 27, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  33. Will North Charleston, SC

    Our government should tax citizens on what we consume, not what we earn. Take a look at the Fair Tax and give it a Fair shot.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  34. Jenna Wade

    What changes would you make to the income tax laws?

    A flat tax – no loop holes – everyone feels the same amount of pain

    Plus i would do a vat tax on all goods and services

    In return, i would ensure education, health care, a roof over our heads, food, and jobs for those that needed help.

    We need to remember that our nation is only as strong as its weakest citizen.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    March 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  35. Micehlle

    This is such a no-brainer to me. Do away with the IRS and implement the Fair Tax. This will tax people based upon what they spend, not what they make. If every American citizen had the money the IRS withholds from their paycheck, talk about an economic stimulus. Plus, this would significantly broaden the tax base as it will force people to stop living under the radar and pay their fair share.

    If Geithner and many, many others in Washington can't figure out the 67,000 pages of our Tax Code, how should any average Joe be expeceted to?

    It's unfortunate, so many people in our generation don't realize that the federal withholding tax was supposed to be temporary. It just 'always been there', so we keep paying them, like sheep. Repeal the 16th Amendment!

    Michelle
    Texas

    March 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  36. BRUCE, ST PAUL, MN

    Three words: loopholes, loopholes, loopholes. Stop allowing exec's to defer income and taxes. Stop allowing money to be stashed in the Cayment Islands. Fix the alternative minimum tax to remove all but those for whom it was intended. Make the capital gains tax the same rate as income tax. Stop allowing congress to add tax laws to other bills. Remove the complexity that allows the wealthiest Americans to hide their income. Prosecute the big cheaters instead of just the little ones. The rates should continue to be progressive, but taxable income needs a reality check.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  37. Mickie

    I would make it a flat tax. If you're poor you pay 4% and if you're rich you pay 4%. None of these exclusions that the rich have over the poor where they end up not paying taxes at all.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  38. Kevin, Punxsutawney

    Without reading all the other e-mails, I can be sure that there are many, very good suggestions for chaning the tax law. To these I would add two items: NO reduction of tax liability for deliquent taxpayers with an income greater than $250,000; and focus the audit activity on the highest income taxpayers. As is the fact, the greatest tax cheats are the wealthiest!

    March 27, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  39. Dennis in Grand Rapids, MI

    Simple. Implement a Flat Tax. Toss all of your assets (homes, cars, boats, cash, etc...) into a basket, capital gains/losses, and tax that.

    Then all of the other taxes can go away. Talk about simplifying the system.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  40. ed from chicago

    I am self-employed with a home office, a business car, a few modest investments, and I do a little casino gambling. It costs me about 30 man-hours and $100 to use Turbo Tax, or about 20 man-hours and $300-$500 to have my taxes professionally prepared. It adds insult to injury that this much time and expense is required to pay my fair share to the government, not including calculating and paying quarterly estimates. If individual taxes were simplified, taxpayers would be eternally grateful, and I, for one, would gladly give the government the extra money that they are making me spend on tax prep. It seems they could use it!

    March 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  41. Frank from Peterborough

    Simple just roll back the Bush tax cuts to the rich so they are paying their share as well as closing all loopholes allowing for exemptions only available to the corporate elite.

    People won't quit making money because of a higher tax rate and they only move to other countries for cheaper labour without expensive environmental restrictions.

    Can you just imagine all the Wall Street cronies leaving America because of the tax rate? Not likely!

    March 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  42. Sue Austin Texas

    I would change the federal tax system to a flat 10% for anyone above the poverty line. Anyone below the poverty line would pay no tax for anything. In addition retired people should not have to pay income tax for pensions or social secutity. They paid taxes all their lives on their income and now are expected to pay on what they receive in retierment that just seems plain wrong and seems to be a double tax.
    Another way would be with a federal consumption tax that would be enough to suport the nation. You buy you pay tax on only what you buy
    again that tax should be 10% maximum. It is time to simplifiy.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  43. Irv Lilley

    Jack, If anyone wants to overhaul the tax laws, they should make them totally user friendly for people living on social security and a
    limited income.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  44. T.E.. from OK

    I would do exactly what obama intends to do. Just like McCain had once said it isn't fair to give the very wealthy more of a break than we give the middle class and poor according to their pay check.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  45. Gigi

    I would like to see a flat tax. I believe it is the only fair and honest tax structure there is. And probably the best and fair way to pay off our debt and recover a sound economy. If anyone cares...I don't have a lot of faith in our government to make that change since most of them are millionaire's. I remember Steve Forbes talking about it when he ran for president. This run away debt was not caused by the average John or Jane Doe. But as things are going I"ll bet they expect us to pay for it.

    Oregon

    March 27, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  46. Jim from Chicago

    This one's easy. Eliminate the GIANT loophole that allows U.S. corporations to avoid billions in income taxes by burying their income in foreign subsidiaries or phony corporate headquarters (usually just a mailbox) in tropical tax havens. Because of this, the avarage corporation pays less taxes than you do, Jack.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  47. Jim (Grand Junction, Colorado)

    Simplification should be the absolute rule in income tax changes. Eliminate all the confusing deductions and per cenatge rules, etc. Most of the complicated rules favor those who are bending the rules. Simplifications favors the low end of the income tax scale and also favors those who can't afford costly accountants who specialize in loopholes.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  48. Tommy Thomas in Abilene Tx.

    Flat tax -no exceptions- seems better than current tax code to me.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  49. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    No taxes for people making less than $50k/year, which would result in increasing everyone elses taxes proportionate to their income.

    Need to level out the quality of life for Americans, too much disparity right now...

    Sorry wealthy, greedy people, time to give up one of your luxury cars so my family can eat!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  50. Chris - Ottawa, Canada

    I'd get rid of the income tax. Americans pay about 1/3 of their income to the government. The government then spends it on ineffective social programs, wars, bailouts for the rich or uses it to prop up dictators in foreign countries.

    If Americans could keep their money, they would spend it in a far more effective manner. Let's face it, the government has proven over and over again that it can't manage finances.

    March 27, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  51. Doug in New Mexico

    We need the flat tax. No ifs, ands, or buts, the flat tax would be fair for all. Cut out the loop holes and treat everyone equally.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  52. Jack Martin

    First void all existing tax laws. Start a new graduated tax based on the amount actually needed to operate the government. End all exemptions. Taxpayers simply use them against each other. The lowest rate would be 1% the highest 50%. The original intent was based on the ability to pay. It turned into who was willing to pay the politicians for special treatment. It has become a national joke and shame. Then pass a law that no changes can be made without a national referendum.
    Jack in Boynton Beach Fl.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  53. Ed

    I would impose a spending tax on government. 60% of any money they authorize to spend goes to paying down the debt.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  54. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack
    Simple and its always been simple except for loop-te-loop congress
    who will now let the bonuses stand with YOUR MONEY................
    Super simple Jack..................straight tax,NO LOOP HOLES
    EVERYONE pays.......................no exceptions PERIOD................
    Sooooooooooo easy.But of course Jack the lobby will say we don't want the and congress will say yes sir.
    David

    March 27, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  55. Anna

    That's an easy one. Set a percentage. God only asked for 10%. Set that percentage for EVERYONE. No loopholes. No deductions. Straight percentage. No matter what your income, everyone pays the same percentage. No one should complain. And the taxes can be collected on a rotating basis. Like getting a yearly inspection. That way, you always have money coming in.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  56. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,Congress needs to take a good hard look at the fair tax.This way everyone would pay their fair share on the purchase end.Two reasons it'll never happen,it would abolish the IRS and the politicians would not have taxes as a tool to control the population!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  57. Kenneth Kohlmann

    #1. Tax cheats cannot hold elected or appointed office within the U.S Government.
    #2. Government workers who are found to have cheated on taxes shall pay double the penalty financially, and three times the normal jail time.
    #3 Leave everything as it is.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  58. Linda, Papillion NE

    Jack, A three persent flate rate tax on everyone NO EXCEPTIONS with no deductions.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  59. Sonny in SC

    Close the loop holes the republicans have to cut the tax on rich ppl if they don`t want to pay the taxes then they should be cut back to a lower bracket,that they can afford

    March 27, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  60. Bob In Spring Hill, FL

    Changes that should be made include returning to a 39% top tax rate,having hedge fund managers compensation taxed as regular income instead of being taxed at the 15% capitol gains rate, taxing adjusted gross income under $200,000 at a 10% rate and to top it off, remove the income "cap" on wages taxed for Social Security.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  61. Thomas

    **************** ( FLAT-TAX )******************

    March 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  62. Jonathan in Virginia

    Flat tax. No loopholes, no deductions. Yes, it is that simple.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  63. Geri -Oklahoma

    I'd probably end income tax altogether and charge a 10% sales tax on everything including any raw materials, supplies, and equipment that businesses buy. All companies and government entities should be charged a daily 10% Imported foreign labor fee per head every day they have a foreign laborer working for them.

    Geri – Oklahoma

    March 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  64. S, Michigan

    A flat-rate tax % across the board for all and no sales tax on goods- you want to see the economy take off, that's what we need. A one-page tax code.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  65. Tony IL

    Jack, well your income gets taxed, then the groceries, gas, and everything else gets taxed. This is basically double taxing. I say do a percentage of your income tax with breaking it up for federal, state, and local municipalities. Each branch get what they get and they have to budget within that amount. There wouldn't be taxes on groceries, gas, etc and if people worked over-time, then there's more tax revenue going to each of the branches. As far as how much percentage for each branch, let each branch argue over that.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  66. Dennis north Carolina

    I would like to see the tax codes be fair to everyone and one that doesnot have loopholes to escape fom paying. every person or business should have to pay to live in a free country.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  67. Cathie

    Go to a FLAT TAX.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  68. Billy G in Las Vegas

    raise the tax to 50% on any personal income earned over one million dollars and tighten up the "deductions" on rich families. I'm tired of subsidizing their yachts, Gulfstreams and limousines with MY federal taxes.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  69. D. in NH

    Install a flat tax. The first 40 or so thousand dollars should be at a reduced rate but after that everyone pays the same. If you earn it, it should be taxed the same as everyone else. Something would have to be done about small businesses but I'll leave that to minds much better than mine to figure out. Leave it to congress to come up with something that even treasury officials can screw up.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  70. Marc Bohemier

    I'd scrap the whole system! It's time to put in a system that can't be played by lobbyists and these wonderful leaders we have spending our grandkids money. We need a system that rewards hard work and investment instead of punishes us for it. I'd replace it with the Fair Tax. A simple consumption tax that is equal to all.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  71. Barbara, Texas

    I'd make it a flat tax rate for EVERYONE and for ALL forms of income! Overtime money, interest from savings, rich folks, etc...should not have all these different tax percentages to pay... EVERYONE and ALL income levels should be taxed with the same percentages of income...PERIOD!!! 5% or 10% taxes for everyone!! NO deductions to hide behind... you pay your 5 or 10% and that's it!! NO more!!
    The government would collect a lot more taxes that way and NO ONE will get out of paying.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  72. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    Institute either a flat tax or a national sales tax. Get rid of loopholes, deductions and all the illegitimate nonsense that the lawyers love so much. Get it simple enough that the people paying taxes can actually understand what they are paying.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  73. David

    No income tax. I would have a consumption tax.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  74. dave from virginia

    jack,

    i don't mind paying what i owe. i just mind wasting all that time filling out tax forms every year.

    let's just go to a consumption tax or a flat income tax and be done with it.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  75. Lawrence Bredeman

    Only one thing left to do, throw the entire existing so called tax code out with the trash, charge everybody 10% across the board, no exceptions, no refunds.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  76. Mollie E. Niederwald, TX

    What about eliminating taxes? Specifically for those age 50 & up that make 50K or less? Being a state employee for many years I am one of many who are trapped in a particular pay tier & can't get anywhere without changing jobs – which is scary at age 55 & making less than 50K.

    And I am the bread winner – so where is all of this change Mr. Obama? Why do you continue to reward the losers who have failed their companies and this country? I am a taxpayer & tired of all of this nonsense – does this country need another revolution? Taxes are illegal and now our administration is throwing our money to millionaires – that's some change Obama!

    March 27, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  77. Brad Mahoney

    Eliminate all deductions. Deductions are simply a way for people to gain advantage for no justifiable reason. Pay taxes on what you make, period. It would eliminate the disparity between honest people and those who can afford to hire the best liars (AKA: tax prep people). You shouldn't have to hire anyone to get a fair shake. Make it simple, make it fair.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  78. william fitzwater

    We spend billions trying to get out of paying taxes . Wouldn't make sense changing the tax code so it would be more easer to pay taxes. If you think of the billions and billions of dollars spend to try and pay less taxes it would make sense to tax the tax aviodence services.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  79. T.J. Marshall (Raleigh, NC)

    I'd keep individual rates where they currently are, but eliminate all loopholes, exemptions and deductions except those related to essentials such as food, housing and medical care. If we really want to get serious about taxation though, Jack, let's resume putting taxes (tariffs) on imported goods – it'll get U.S. companies competitive in certain industries (autos) again, and it'll force consumers to at least think twice about paying more for that foreign-made stereo.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  80. lou

    The fairest way is to have a flat tax rate with no loopholes, deductions, etc. Then, make up any differences with a higher sales tax on luxury items. If you can afford to buy a yaht, good for you. But please pay the piper to chip in for coast guard costs. Go ahead and buy your mansion, but ante up for the increased cost of energy your lifestyle choice has and we'll use the money to fund national park services that are good for our environment.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  81. Bob White, Hays KS

    Let us return to Progressive tax rates. Establish four or five rates with the first rate to be a tax credit for those who make less than a living-wage. Then establish the additional rates appropriately progressive.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  82. Doug from Bloomington IN

    Boy, Jack. Do you have the rest of next week open? Then let's get started:

    Firstly, no tax system is going to be fair to everyone, so we need to get over that. Ultimately, a progressive tax is the way to go, because the rich and mega-rich can figure out how to live on what they get....after taxes.

    The federal governemt needs to simplify the tax code however they can. Simplification will result in tax cuts for everybody, because they will no longer have to pay an accountant to do their taxes for them.

    The reintroduction of tariffs might help a number of things. It used to be how the government raised their money. Once they discovered the income tax idea, there was no turning back. Tariffs would reintroduce the US to hard-goods manufacturing and "buying American". Then we could adjust income taxes downward. I'm not a protectionist and the US is afraid of being protectionist...so why are we the only major country on the planet that allows foreign goods to enter the country willy-nilly with virtually no regulation?

    Well, I could go on and on, but basically we need to gain control of our own American destiny without dependence on the rest of the world. Once we do that, we can pick and choose who we do business with.

    We need to clean our own house. Then we can have progressive reform.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  83. Susan

    There should be a law for, Treasury Secretary, Congressmen, Senators, politicians anyone in a government position who cheats on their taxes or doesn't pay their back taxes should be forced to step down from their position.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  84. Richard - Knoxville TN

    Well Jack, I read in the Rushican Approved Budget what what the republicans want - To simplfy it -
    Tax everyone below $100,000 at 10% (we mere workers don't deserve any better) and everyone else above $100k pays $25% - Near as I can figure, this $25% figure pretty much increases taxes by about 15% for those in the $100 to $249,999.00 bracket and DECREASES taxes on those making at least $250,000.00 by a minimum of 10%. I think No-Brainer & McConnel need to stick their heads in an electric pencil sharpner -

    March 27, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  85. Jay in Texas

    I would simplify the income tax forms so that even a third grader or Secretary Geithner could understand them.
    Brownwood, Texas

    March 27, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  86. mickey latimore

    The change I would make is ELIMINATE IT COMPLETELY, and replace it with the Fairtax! (National retail sales tax).

    The Fairtax rewards hard work, repatriates jobs back into our Country, promotes savings and investment, and IS progressive.

    Under the Fairtax, Americans at or below the poverty level will be completely untaxed, as they will get a prebate to pay their taxes up to the poverty level, and will get to KEEP THEIR ENTIRE PAYCHECK, as payroll taxes are completely eliminated!

    We don't need a bandaid on the current system, we need TRUE tax reform..... we need the Fairtax...... and we need it NOW!

    March 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  87. Laura Cook

    "SAVE THE NATION" with Fair Tax

    Here is why the FairTax MUST replace the income tax. It's:

    • SIMPLE, easy to understand
    • EFFICIENT, inexpensive to comply with and doesn't cause less-than-optimal business decisions for tax minimization purposes
    • FAIR, loophole free and everyone pays their share
    • LOW TAX RATE, achieved by broad base with no exclusions
    • PREDICTABLE, doesn't change, so financial planning is possible
    • UNINTRUSIVE, doesn't intrude into our personal affairs or limit our liberty
    • VISIBLE, not hidden from the public in tax-inflated prices or otherwise
    • PRODUCTIVE, rewards, rather than penalizes, work and productivity

    Its benefits are as follows:

    For INDIVIDUALS:
    • No more tax on income – make as much as you wish
    • You receive your full paycheck – no more deductions
    • You pay the tax when you buy "at retail" – not "used"
    • No more double taxation (e.g. like on current Capital Gains)
    • Reduction of "pre-FairTaxed" retail prices by 20%-30%
    • Adding back 29.9% FairTax maintains current price levels
    • FairTax would constitute 23% portion of new prices
    • Every household receives a monthly check, or "pre-bate"
    • "Prebate" is "advance payback" for monthly consumption to poverty level
    • FairTax's "prebate" ensures progressivity, poverty protection
    • Finally, citizens are knowledgeable of what their tax IS
    • Elimination of "parasitic" Income Tax industry
    • NO MORE IRS. NO MORE FILING OF TAX RETURNS by individuals
    • Those possessing illicit forms of income will ALSO pay the FairTax
    • Households have more disposable income to purchase goods
    • Savings is bolstered with reduction of interest rates

    For BUSINESSES:
    • Corporate income and payroll taxes revoked under FairTax
    • Business compensated for collecting tax at "cash register"
    • No more tax-related lawyers, lobbyists on company payrolls
    • No more embedded (hidden) income/payroll taxes in prices
    • Reduced costs. Competition – not tax policy – drives prices
    • Off-shore "tax haven" headquarters can now return to U.S
    • No more "favors" from politicians at expense of taxpayers
    • Resources go to R&D and study of competition – not taxes
    • Marketplace distortions eliminated for fair competition
    • US exports increase their share of foreign markets
    For the COUNTRY:
    • 7% – 13% economic growth projected in the first year of the FairTax
    • Jobs return to the U.S.
    • Foreign corporations "set up shop" in the U.S.
    • Tax system trends are corrected to "enlarge the pie"
    • Larger economic "pie," means thinner tax rate "slices"
    • Initial 23% portion of price is pressured downward as "pie" increases
    • No more "closed door" tax deals by politicians and business
    • FairTax sets new global standard. Other countries will follow

    March 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  88. Philly guy

    I would abolish the IRS and launch the fair tax. No more dumb men in black suite with ear buds. No more audits. No more missing money from MY paycheck. No more SOX and crazy accounting regulations. After this, I would kiss the Federal Reserve goodbye and move to a sound monetary system.

    Things we buy that are not essential to our lives would be taxed at a luxury rate. I would also tax junk food at a higher level than healthy whole foods.

    Voila. America is thin, fit, living within our means with control over our economy, monetary notes and once again would rein supreme.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  89. Dan From Bloomington Indiana

    you want simple? how about a flat tax?

    March 27, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  90. odessa

    i would like to increase & 500.00 to 1000.00 per dependent, decrease value for paying mortgage tax or credit amount, put a plan regarding donating to different organizations for the poor and middle class families because we work hard for the dollar and we should get a bigger break..oh yeah, since we bailout big banks and other businesses, we should get a large refund because we owed them and it's our money.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  91. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Jack, I don't know why it's so damned politically incorrect to say out loud that those who benefit the most from our nation and our society should pay the most. Can someone please tell me what's wrong with that? Since no multimillionaire will ever agree with that and will spend through the nose to fight it, how about revisiting the flat tax? Everybody, whether you make $10 or $10 billion, pays 20%. No deductions, no loopholes......at least until we balance the budget, then we can adjust up or down.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  92. Jim Handy

    We need to come up with flat, straight across the board federal income tax.Our current tax system is very biased against the working poor and single people. If people decide to have families it is thier responsibility to support them. As a single person I should not have to give a larger part of my income in order to help someone else support thier children.

    Jim Handy
    Inglewood , Ca.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  93. Paul Martin

    Hurst Texas
    Roll back the rates to 1980's level.
    Treat investment losses & gains just like gambling winnings & losses.
    Taxation influences life style habits.
    Tax businesses that reduce their median us resident payroll
    All health costs over $1000/person can be itemeized as a tax credit.(Exclude all cosmetic and addition treatments)

    March 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  94. Melvin Seyffert

    I am for any changes that falls in line with the principles of KISS. This means that I'm naturally for changes like the VAT or the flat tax. I don't believe that a certain segment of the population of the US should be given any advantage by hiring tax accountants and tax laywers so that they can parse the tax code in search of every loophole possible. It would help if members of the Congress and the Senate be required to all tax law legislation before voting on it. If they can't read then it should be read to them. NO DOZING OFF!!

    March 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  95. Susan A, Rochester NY

    Automatic audits for anyone receiving bonuses in excess of $10,000/year.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  96. Ken in NC

    Mama always said a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) is best. 15% of your gross Income to the state and 13% of your gross Income to the Federal Government

    March 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  97. Nick - Kulpsville, PA

    Jack, in all honesty, if it were up to me. There would be no tax. There would be no tax because there would be no money. The land is more than capable of providing most of what we need, and we can generate things like electricity for free. But I'm going to stop myself here before I go off on a Socialistic borderline Luddite rant.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  98. J Georgia

    I would tax progressively with a heavy tax at the million and over crowd until the debt was paid off. The paying of the natioinal debt would then trigger a flat tax of a simple 16% for every dollar earned thereafter and a law that says state taxes could not tax any more than 4% including property taxes. Then I would enforce PAYGO at every level of government and take the money out of elected office.

    yeah....I know.....but I can dream, can't I?

    March 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  99. LInda in Bisbee, Arizona

    Sorry, above my pay grade.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  100. Bob

    Jack,

    I would make it a 10% flat tax on all income.

    nl

    March 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  101. Mike, FL

    Time for a flat tax and /or Fair Tax, also allows it to be fair for all of us to pay including illegals. Eliminate IRS and Income Taxes period.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  102. David in Granville, Ohio

    Make the tax laws so simple, clear and transparent that any reporting errors can clearly be assumed to be deliberate. Also create a more comprehensive sliding scale direct tax (e.g. income tax) structure and make direct taxation 90% of the tax revenues.

    Indirect taxes such as sales tax disproportionately hit the less well off – who are paying a much higher percentage in tax. They should be reserved for "moral taxes" such as on alcohol and tobacco products.

    Of course these ideas will NEVER be implemented. They would mean the end of the tax professional to do returns. Need I say more?

    March 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  103. Kevin in Taxachusetts

    I would have a tax that not only working Americans pay but members of congress and undocumented citizens would have to pay too.I'd call it a fair tax.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  104. Mike - Hot Springs, Arkansas

    Perhaps we should consider the flat tax again. You are simply taxed on what you make. No deductions – no flim-flam. We would have to monitor those who are cheating but with simpler laws we could afford to hire more enforcement personnel. It would also have the advantage of putting down all those sleazy lawyers who have been making a hugh living playing the tax loophhole game.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  105. Susan from Greenfield, Wi.

    I would change everything to the 17% flat tax, period.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  106. Charmaine Evans colorado springs, co

    Determine how much it costs a person to live in this country–$20,000 per year? Do not start taxing until the worker has made the full $20,000, then tax the remaining income 10%. Make tax laws simple with no loopholes for the rich and undeserving.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  107. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    How about a flat rate based on total income. Say something like 4% for incomes up to 15K and then up to 33% for incomes over 250K.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  108. Ni

    It simply sucks. Many individuals now are recieving letters from the IRS about receiving additional documentation in order for State Checks to be given out to those who work hard all year long. What kind a proof do you really need to ensure the IRS that you are alive and those you claim are alive. Asking for Birth Certificates and Vaccinations and other detail information of those on your 1040 is an invasion of privacy, with the exception of Social Security numbers, but why should they care, the government can rob US Citizens of there money and not think about the current sitiuation each American Citizen is going through. We all pay our taxes and deserve the money we work hard for, why make it difficult on us. We cant rob political sneaks...but Madoff did anyway.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  109. Jerry Harris

    Flat tax rate for everone depending on you income, no exemptions strickly a tax on you annual salary

    March 27, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  110. Larry -- Belton TX

    I wouldn't leave any income tax laws in place to be changed. And if all those self-righteous bigots in congress would legalize and tax pot, we wouldn't need the IRS.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  111. Charles Swift

    I would enact the Fair Tax and abolish the IRS. It's just that simple.

    Charles Swift from South Carolina

    March 27, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  112. Joyce Zandri

    Jack,

    The only way out of this mess is the FairTax. There would be plenty of jobs if businesses had not moved out of the US to escape the punitive tax laws. Enact the FairTax and the jobs return.

    It really is that simple.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  113. Gigi in Alabama

    I've heard a lot of people talk about a flat rate tax on everyone with no loop holes for the ultra rich. If they would take that out of every paycheck and not give a penny back, it might work, If a person makes $30,000 a year then only $3000 a year would be taken out. That come out to be less than 60 dollars a week and would leave them with a net income of almost 580 a week. As I said, it might just work!

    March 27, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  114. Allen, Hartwell GA

    Jack, first I'd set a realistic base for living, then I'd tax everything else at a flat level for everyone for any income that could be traced to them.

    Seriously, if I could answer this question I'd be advising the president.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  115. Greg, Ontario

    First you get someone honest that can tell you what is needed to run the country. Then you double check it with equally trustworthy people at the state level. If there is a difference you know something is wrong and someone is telling lies. If not you take the total and apply it towards three classes of income. With a working percentage that is both fair and gets the money the government needs.
    You should only need one piece of paper. Gross pay – retirement investment X class percentage = total to pay the government. Now for the kicker "ANY" short falls should come out of the pay of politicians in office at the time and no borrowing from other countries is allowed. Can you imagine how powerful a debt free America (or Canada for that matter)would be? Medical Insurance and education for all would be a breeze.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  116. Mark SChaff

    The FairTax should be put in to place and takeout the current outdated and regressive tax system. The FairTax will be equal to all and not be prejuidce to some and not other.
    The FairTax Plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based axes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar
    federal revenue replacement, and, through companion legislation, the repeal of the 16th Amendment. This nonpartisan legislation (HR 25) abolishes all federal personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, andself-employment taxes and replaces them with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax administered primarily by existing state sales tax authorities. The IRS is disbanded and defunded. The FairTax taxes us only on what we choose to spend on new goods or services, noton what we earn. The FairTax is a fair, efficient, transparent,

    March 27, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  117. David Alexandria, VA

    I would set a single tax rate (I think 15% would do it). Everyone pays (and I mean everyone - the 3% "wealthy" ones who pay 60% of the taxes now and the 48% who don't pay anything now. Everyone puts skin in this game!!

    If the adminsitration wants to redistriute wealth for reasns good, bad and indifferent, then let them do it through transparent social porgrams which we can all see, understand and judge through our elected officials. This would be far better than the hide-and-go-seek game we have built through arcane tax codes, social engineering embedded in the deductions, the AMT, the death tax, and the like.

    We'd also save about a zillion dollars a year in tax preparation, avoidance schemes, enforcement efforts and the like.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  118. William E. Martone

    For years I have been hoping that we would go to a flat tax. Make a dollar pay a dime. I am sick and tired of everyone having enough loopholes that they never pay their fair share. The IRS should be and could be disbanded if we were in a flat tax situation. Then maybe we could work on fixing congress do that no one could retire from being a public servant. I would like to see that people could only serve one term as either a representative for 6 years or a senator for 12 years. I would not allow anyone to serve longer or to retire from service to their country.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  119. DON IN MASS.

    That's easy. Tax the rich alot more than we do now. They won't feel it ,even in hard economic times. If I had 5 million dollars and I was taxed 3 million do you think I would starve?

    Ease the burden on low and middle class income's. In times of economic crisis their level of pain ranges from death to losing their homes, not sending their kids to college, or no medical insurance.
    Actually all of the above at times.

    Capatalism is great but I think the fat cats could help us out a little more.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  120. Darren

    I'd make it so you didn't need to take a new class every year to figure out how do to your taxes. It's ridiculous when college graduates cannot even do their own taxes.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  121. ST-NC

    I would cut it completely. This would put more money in people's pockets. There can always be taxes on other things, like food, purchases, and property.

    Our taxes are high, but it doesn't seem like we get much out of them. Most of our dollars go to benefit others outside the country. One great example is the war in Iraq. How has that benefited us as Americans? Our governments also sends money to other countries every year. What have they done for us lately? Some of them are better off than we are. I say keep our tax dollars here. We need them.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  122. RanDe

    Income tax is one of the ways our government tries to implement economic equality. What I would do is switch to a "income base pricing system" on items, goods and services of necessity.(This of course if we get past the illogical assumption that income-based pricing is discriminatory) I would implement income-based pricing for the majority of the poor and middle-class thus taking the burden profits off the backs of those can afford it least. Income-based pricing would be a way providing economic equality much more efficiently and cost-effectively through business under government guidelines. This would also relieve the government from the task of implementing the majority of economic equality and could concentrate more on the higher income brackets. This would also fulfill the idea that "We the People"are all supposed to be looking out for each other. This would eliminate welfare as we know it. People would be charged for items goods and services of necessity based on their affordability.
    Then I would fade in a flat tax for the majority of people and an income-based tax for the very rich.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  123. Roland - St George, UT

    Easy, Jack: FLAT TAX

    Do away with mortgage deduction. This would help avoid the trap of using home loans like piggy banks and re-set home values to where they should be. A 3 bedroom home in a middle class Kansas City neighborhood is not worth 750K, I don't care if Martha Stewart personally designed the kitchen herself.

    Everyone, regardless of how much they earn, allowed a personal exemption of $12,000 a year (1K per month). Everything over 12K taxed at the same rate of X percent, doesn't matter how much you make. The personal exemption covers living expenses such as housing, transportation, food, etc. Spend more than that on basic living expenses? Oh well. It comes out of your pocket, not the Government's. (If this is a problem, there could be a personal exemption adjustment by Zip code to allow for higher cost of living areas such as NYC, Boston, SF, etc...but you get the idea.)

    Allow exemptions of up to a certain amount for charitable contributions. Make it a generous deduction, because without this, most people won't contribute. And do away with the ridiculous junk car donation thing. That rusted out 1980 Chevy Citation sitting in your backyard is not worth $7,500.

    Supplement with a National Sales Tax of X percent, this will help catch the revenue that both illegals and tourists currently don't pay to use our infrastructure.

    Just for starters...

    (Roland/St. George, UT)

    March 27, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  124. LUCY - ILLINOIS

    There should be a flat tax, so everyone pays. The money that's put off shore, the Maddoff Ponzi scheme money, the bonus money, and any other crooked things the wealthy seems to get off of paying their fair share, should all be taxed. If they want to escape paying taxes by putting money in Swiss banks, then let them go live there and have no business in America.
    Lucy – Illinois

    March 27, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  125. Sherri Illinois

    There should be NO income tax period because it never goes where it should go I.E. taking care of the American people first & foremost. It funded a unnecessary war in Iraq and yet look at us today, with 5.5 million jobless Americans, tent cities popping up all over the country because of people losing their jobs and homes. I OWE Uncle Sam for the unemployment benefits payment I received in 2008, so I guess I'll be knocking on TS Geithner's door to find out how he got away with not paying his taxes for 4yrs because I'm still unemployed & can't pay Uncle Sam nothing!. I thank President Obama for 2009 that the JOBLESS wouldn't have to pay taxes on the unemployment benefits they receive this year BUT what about 2008?. Eliminate the income tax PERIOD!

    March 27, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  126. Steve Steingass

    The Fair Tax is the only solution for our screwed up Tax System. Everybody pay the same percentage, case closed. No forms, no stress, and American Businesses stop spending Billions every year complying with the tax code.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  127. Beverley, Fredericksburg Va

    Jack,

    Bring back exempting the interest from credit cards and car loans. More people will buy cars, even the gas guzzlers, which would help the car companies – and lessen any further bailouts for that industry.

    Credit card companies heaviily lobbied Congress , got bankruptcy laws changed for their benefit and routinely change the rules on Americans – when it suits them. Atleast let us write off that 29% intrest rate!

    March 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  128. Cindy Merrill

    Over 25% of Seniors who qualify for SNAP (food aid) don't apply out of shame- IF the government wants to make a huge difference (and stimulate the economy) those who file low income tax forms should receive a SNAP card in the mail after the IRS confirms they're eligable.
    Not only would this help our elderly cut through red tape (since I know many dispise filling out forms), but local grocery stores would benefit also.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  129. Deanna R

    I would repeal the current tax laws and create a national income tax rate 10% for everyone. Allowed deductions of pre-tax income would be mortgage interest on the first house, up to 2% for charity, child tax credits of $500 each, medical expenses up to 5% per person, and college tuition credits up to 2% per student in the home, regardless of degree being sought. Deductions will not excede taxes paid. Everyone must file taxes regardless of income.

    Business, 10% after expenses are deducted from earnings, expenses must include retirement and medical benefits for all employees. Every single expense must be listed with receipts in order for it to be applied.

    Tax Fraud- if ANYONE hides or mis-represents the amount of money they have earned, including sending it overseas, they will lose it all and pay a 200% fine.

    Simplistic? Sure, but maybe that's what we need in order to start to unravel all the problems our tax code is embedded with now.

    Fayetteville NC

    March 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  130. Judy

    We all know that the tax laws are filled with loop-holes and deductions galore. It is sickening to know that so many in office do not pay taxes because of the loopholes. I would change the tax structure to a flat tax across the board ... equal percentage for all regardless of income with no loopholes or deductions.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  131. Bob D, Morrisown, NJ

    Ultimately, under-reporting of income is almost always caught by IRS computers, which result in IRS initiated adjustments (the only possible exception being "off-the-books" payments). To reduce the need for these costly audits and adjustment activity, why doesn't the IRS just mail (or e-mail) the taxpayers copies of all the W-2s and 1099 it receives, so misplaced copies from the originators don't result in initial under reporting and audits?

    March 27, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  132. Thom Richer

    There is only one way income tax will ever be fair. That is to simply tax everyone at one rate. In other words, a flat tax. Included with a flat tax there must be no loopholes nor deductions permitted for businesses or private citizens. No business shall be exempt from paying taxes whether it be non-profit organizations, charities, churches, hospitals or universities. Every institution must pay property taxes without exception. Taxation must be fair and equal from now on.

    Thom
    Negaunee, MI

    March 27, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  133. Jan from NJ

    Jack

    The current income tax system is ineffective and outdated. If only people would be open minded and study a Federal sales tax of 10
    percent in lieu of income tax, we could get our country out of debt. People purchase according to their income. At present, drug dealers and prostitutes are just a few of our citizens who pay no taxes on their illegal income but they do buy some really expensive things. The same thing applies to the 40% of our citizens who work "off the books".
    People need to be willing to support change.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  134. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    I would just have the government withhold what I owe them and get rid of the annual filing and the game playing and cheating that goes with it. Just tax me, take it, and get it over with.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  135. Don Magic

    If the Feds allow tax payers to deduct from their state and federal tax interest paid on automobile loans, personal loans for education, and credit cards, middle income consumer’s would invest that money for automobiles, mortgage payments, education, health insurance and other consumer goods.

    Doesn’t that expedite President Obama’s top priorities?
    1. Get the economy moving
    2. Educational opportunity
    3. Reduce foreclosures
    4. Health care

    The Feds and state government would be returning dollar for dollar to be reinvested in main street business.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  136. Dona Leecraft

    I would return the top tax rate to 90% like Eisenhower did and pay for the needed social programs for all Americans! The rich have drained the wealth from the middleclass for decades under Republican rule...time to turn the clock back and get some balance!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  137. Eric

    Jack, I think that Obama's plan to leave Bush's tax plan in place is a lame dodge. He is avoiding the responsibility to pay for his irresponsible humongous give-away scheme of pork and bailouts. What he and congress need to do is put in place an immediate change to the tax scheme along the lines of days of yore, one which prevents the rip-off artists of Wall Street from keeping their ill-gotten gains. Currently our top marginal tax rate is 35% or income over $357K. What I suggest is adding more bands such as 40% at $700K, 45% at $1.2M, 45% at $2M, 50% at $3M, etc on up to 95%. And make it retroactive for one year in order to recover the bonus rip-off. This will stop the overpayment of Wall Street swindlers and bunglers and reduce the obscene ratio of top salaries to peasants salaries back to what it was in the past. Thanks. regards, Eric, Carrboro, NC

    March 27, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  138. Diane Sykstus

    Return the taxing of the people who make over $250000 per year before Bush decided not to tax well-to-do thus placing the burden on the middle class.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  139. Carl from Citrus Heights, California

    It really is time for a flat tax structure that begins to tax at 20,000 with no tax owed. From there the percentage of tax levied is based on income on a sliding scale. The deductions need to be streamlined for simplicity's sake. This may not increase revenues through income taxation but may increase sales tax revenue through greater spending powerr by those who consistently spend for the necessities of life.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  140. Tom from Philly

    Everyone loves to make money no one likes to pay taxes, but god forbid there is a tornado, earthquake, volcano, hurricane, or pothole in the road. 10% tax up to 100K 25% to 200K 40% to 1M$. 70% to 5M$ and over 5 Million 90%.

    This will solve all problems sufficient revenue, no destructive business practices, its not that tax code punishing the rich its the rich punishing the economy, aig/citi. ?? case closed.

    By forcing the top financial class to actually have to work for more than 5 years to earn enough money to live in style for the rest of their life and the next generation's.... they might just not blow up the economy looking for gold nuggets

    March 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  141. Jim

    Jack,

    The current system is way too complex and full of loopholes easily exploited by the wealthy. I think the basic idea of a graduated tax that requires little or nothing of the poor, and more of the rich, is correct. It's the deductions and exceptions that are the problem. They should slowly be phased out and not allowed to be replaced by new ones. Lobbyists should be banned from discussions of tax reform, or at least afforded no more access to legislators than I get.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    March 27, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  142. Mark in OKC

    How about every time anyone, rich or poor, spends a dollar, we just pay an additional 2 cents for income tax purposes, then at the end of the year, those who actually earned BELOW a certain amount would file an "income report" to get their REFUND. I guess that would just be too damn simple.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  143. karen-phoenix

    10% flat tax–everyone and everything!!!! Yes, every churches–they seem to be doing real well!!! Look at how rich the people who run TBN are!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  144. Fred

    As an accountant I have seen returns from both ends of the economic spectrum. I am amazed at how people can live off of 25,000 a year and others complain about trying to live off of several million. The gap is being caused by the loopholes. Corporations can shift their base of operations offshore to avoid millions in tax. The easy fix on the corporate level is to penalize the companies that have factories in other countries and give tax credits for hiring american workers in american factories. Finally the wealthy must pay, if you can't live off of a couple of million a year then your priorities are so far out of whack that you should have to pay more in tax. You don't need a 21 bedroom, 8 bathroom house with 4 swimming pools and a football field for 2 people to live in.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  145. David /Indianapolis

    I would do just what OUR President is trying to get done it work quite well when Clinton was in office wow! it seems so long ago Jack Im head for that time Machine to go back to the past

    March 27, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  146. simonsays/Orlando

    Absolutely. The current tax laws are contained in over 12,000 pages. Who would expect anyone to understand them...even the IRS doesn't. If we went to a Fair Tax or a Flat Tax with no deductions it would simplify it for everyone. It would take away the fact that rich people don't pay taxes, they pay accountants.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  147. Lisa Weidknecht

    10% flat tax on income.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  148. Steve, Clifton,VA

    Jack

    Replace the adversarial relationship between the Government/IRS by having the Government to terminate the contracts for those firms hired by the Government to assist the Government with the collection of taxes and replace them with contractors who sole purpose is to assist tax payers with the preparation of Federal taxes at no cost to the tax payer...I suspect that the change/removal of the present adversarial relationship between tax payers and Government to a relationship of service to the tax payer will yield a return on investment (ROI) significantly greater than the Government currently enjoys....

    Steve
    Clifton, VA

    March 27, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  149. Ed Powell

    FLAT TAX... Term Limits!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  150. David /Indianapolis

    P.s if main street is looked upon as the customers of businesses then if the customers don't have money and their wages are cut as they have been what good is your business? it would appear that the (GOP)the Goof Off Party would know that guess not!

    March 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  151. Ed from Durango, Colorado

    Easy, those below $100,000.00, a flat 7% tax. Those from $100,000.00 to $250,000, a flat 25% tax. Those above $250,000.00 a flat 45% tax. No loopholes, no deductions and no tax preparation and CPA s. Then I wouldn't have to pay a CPA $1000.00 to figure the most complex taxing system in the universe so I can then pay my taxes to the feds and the state. The tax system in this country is totally nuts. But then, one must look at the levels of the individuals who keep screwing with the tax code.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  152. pete in ny

    1. EVERYBODY pays income tax, no matter how little. Democracy means having some skin in the game . If you're playing with other people's money you make different decisions than if it is your own.

    2. Go to some version of a flat tax with a couple of brackets (Progressive), eliminate all of the loopholes including mortgage, charity and municipal bonds ( Sorry Teresa Heinz Kerry!)

    3. Low or no tax on interest from savings accounts to encourage thrift.

    4. Low tax on dividends and capital gains to encourage investing
    (contrary to what many CNN viewers think , millions of ordinary people -including unions-invest as a form of savings) either thru stock or mutual funds

    March 27, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  153. Michael Manning MA, Obama Republican

    Bring us back to Clinton Tax Rates or visit Flat tax again and abolishing the IRS.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  154. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Jack, if I could I would abolish all our insane tax laws and give Americans a fair tax, a flat tax, everyone would be responsible for paying the same percentage, say 10 or 15 percent, period. This would include all businesses big and small. Simple, and straight forward.

    Problem is that the IRS has become its own worse enemy with all its rules, laws, forms that only the professionals understand!

    March 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  155. Dave

    Make student loan interest expense deductible regardless of income. We're a nation that claims to want more doctors, engineers, and other expert workers, but we don't back that claim up by making graduate school costs manageable during the career that follows.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  156. Kris

    Tax law should be changed to reflect the cost of living in your area. I live in the California San Francisco Bay area and trust me, a $100K salary here doesn't even allow you to buy a decent home.

    The American Dream has fled east.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  157. Ken, Centreville, VA

    I own 2 homes, one a rental property, have a dozen or more mutual funds, and have occasionally traded stocks. Each year, my taxes becomes a more undecipherable morass. Even with tax preparation software, the task typically takes 10 hours, and even then there's the lingering feeling, what did I miss, or forget? The tax code is too large and contains too many "special situations" that require an unworkable amount of documentation or analysis to be worthwhile. It would appear a lot of the code just needs to be thrown out.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  158. Terry

    When our tax system worked 100 years ago the people that made the most and used up most of the resources, in all fairness, paid the most in taxes. Our tax code should be like the "good old days". Now 2% of the population own 50% of everything and they still pay less in taxes then a kid working at McD.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  159. Henk Vandenbergh

    Jack,

    as long as all the laws are written by and/or paid for by lobbyists and other special interest groups it does not really matter what we want.
    Does anyone in Washington really care anymore about what's good for the country and it's people?

    March 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  160. Carol

    Every one of the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy should be null and void immediatley. We have tried the trick down economics and they don't work! So it is time to bring all those jobs back here that the wealthy have sent out of this country because of greed. We need to manipulate our currency like China, Japan, and some of these other countries. Next, tax all the junk coming back here to be sold so it would be cheaper to make it here. Then our people would be working, paying taxes, educating their children, and we would have money to run our country and get us out of debt to China. That was easy Jack, to bad those in Washington aren't listening.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  161. Kendra Alexander

    As a small business owner (and have a regular fulltime job) I would get rid of the 15.5% self employment tax. That kills me each year. Or, at least give the small business owner the option to contribute, but not make it a mandatory thing. This tax causes many people to go out of business or rethink starting a business. America was built on small businesses and besides, the portion of the tax that goes to Social Security, well- it probably won't be there when I am able to collect.

    Kendra Alexander
    Durango, CO

    March 27, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  162. Rolly Throckmorton

    Not an income tax change, but I would recommend a transaction tax on all stock and bond trades. This would be used to pay for the Wall Street bailout and when that's paid off, use it to support Social Security and Medicare. The transaction tax would have little effect on real investors but would certainly penalize those who speculate by jumping in and out of the market and the short sellers.

    Other nations have used this tax and it is very effective, raising a lot of money (Taiwan for instance).

    March 27, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  163. Scott in Canada

    Take a look at tax codes from around the world for possible guidance on ways that the system could be streamlined. Some people do it better, some worse, and some of those lessons could be learnt from there.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  164. Audrey Hansen

    I hope they simplify it enough so I don't have more questions after I fill out the tax form than I did before. The self-employment sections are gibberish. No wonder people under report their income, I decided to drop what little I was making self-employed just so I wouldn't have to deal with it. It's a real deterrent to entrepreneurs working from their homes. When I looked at how detailed the deductions were I felt that the government must be really desperate to get my nickel. Sad.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  165. Jackie in Dallas

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    We’ve got to do SOMETHING, Jack, because not even the IRS knows what the heck is in those thousands of pages of tax laws!

    I’m not an accountant or a tax specialist, Jack, but I lean toward a flat tax and close the loopholes. And I’d institute penalties on those who off-shore their earnings in order to avoid paying taxes. If they make the money here, it’s taxable here.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  166. Steve

    Why waste their time and our money. The tax code is just like every other program. Driven by special interests/money. Those special interest groups along with the money they throw around and the infleunce that wields will make it impossible to change to anything that is simple and makes sense. I suggest we spend the time and money more wisely on figuring out how to stop the flow of money to politicians. If we can do that we could fix a whole lot of problems in this country.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  167. Carl in Canada

    Flat tax and a general sales tax of say 15-25 percent, so that high income people drive luxury good purchases, but allow low income people to save up for such purchases.
    You have a flat tax in the 30-35 percent range, with a cutoff. Say, less than 30K, pay a flat 25 percent.
    This would completely eliminate the IRS and the funding required to support it. With the extra revenue from a flat tax and sales tax model, and the savings from bureaucracy, you could fund the entire health care system, thereby eliminating the ridiculous insurance premiums every month. In the end, Americans would pay same or less than they do now, and get universal healthcare.
    Probably need some tax reduction formula for investing in new tech, and making some allowances for capital gains. Nothing complicated.
    Oh, and the new tax code would be one page.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  168. Shawn

    I think it's time we instituted a wealth based tax. Should be no different that property taxes. If you have a billion dollars in the bank, you owe, you have a million in stock, you owe. Use it or loose it, time for the rich in this country to take some responsibility for their greed causing this economic fiasco. Use your wealth to improve the country and the economy or loose it.

    Shawn
    Seattle,WA

    March 27, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  169. Ken

    Abolish it and institute a 10% Federal sales tax on all goods. This involves less accounting (none for individuals) and gets rid of witholding taxes.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  170. Doug

    Flat tax! Exempt all income up to poverty level. Index capital gains and interest income for inflation. Eliminate AMT. Eliminate all deductions except medical expenses. Eliminate all tax credits. Eliminate all exemptions.

    Long term: Migrate to a value-added tax system that directly links revenues to economic activity. This is the fairest way to tax and has the least distortion on the economy. Eliminate corporate income taxes (they're just passed on to consumers anyway). Eliminate taxes on saving and investing. Ban use of taxes to influence' behaviors (e.g. tax credits for "favored" activities and levies on "unfavored" activities).

    March 27, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  171. Burt in Arizona

    First off I would abolish the Federal income tax and implement a national sales tax on all services and goods purchased. This would serve two purposes, one it would give all people extra money they would use to purchase goods and services which would help jump start the economy and create jobs, and second the government would not loose tax revenue.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  172. Kurt Schneider

    1) Phase out the mortgage interest deduction. It is already limited to $1 million in principal. Lower that by 50K per year for 20 years. This deduction is what lead to the real estate bubble. It makes no economic sense. Why do we still have it? To prop up real estate prices? Get rid of it.

    2) Raise the gasoline tax similar to European countries. Nothing will stimulate alternative fuels and conservation more effectively than that. Also, the tax could be adjusted based on consumption or some other goal. It could be used the way the Fed adjusts interest rates to keep the economy growing but not growing too fast. In times when there is a sharp increase in the price of oil, the tax could be lowered to cushion the blow on the economy, for example.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  173. Starchy

    Do big time government spending cuts, cut the corporate and personal tax rates and watch the American economy grow like a rocket! Too bad no elected official can figure that one out.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  174. Dean

    Fair Tax baby!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  175. Dean London

    Easy, FairTax!

    March 27, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  176. John - Houston, TX

    We should be allowed to stop paying income tax until the government gets back wall the money the tax payers spent rescuing the AIG, the banks, the Wall Street and the auto companies. If they deserved a bail out, so do we. I know that with the kind of government we have this is an utopia, but that would be my change.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  177. Mark Florida

    Allow the rich tax breaks to expire, and take automatic healthcare away from all in government.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  178. Aaron

    I would get rid of the income tax altoghether. It isn't needed, period.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  179. alan holland

    Have a serious debate about the Fairtax. A consumption tax seems like a great idea that would make the US a very attractive place for companies to do buisness as they wouldn't be hammered w/taxes by the IRS. The average taxpayer would also appear to be much better off under such a system.

    The biggest question I have is if it would bring in an equivalent amount of revenue to the current system we have. Of course, with the congress we now have, nothing is going to do that as they are outta control.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  180. Sylvia

    Since our government is supposed to be working for us, that makes us employers.
    I propose being able to deduct government's losses as business expenses on our returns.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  181. Arlene

    I like a flat percentage income tax with very few exceptions. This include no deductions for mortgage interest, daycare, and medical expenses. While this approach seems to be very harsh, I would like to see everyone contribute equally when it comes to paying taxes.

    Regarding windfall taxes, windfall earnings over $1M are taxed at a significantly higher rate – maybe 50%. Remember this money is a windfall and people should not be planning their budgets on windfall income. If you are that lucky to make that much in a windfall, you should not mind paying more taxes.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  182. Karl F., Seattle, WA.

    1) Remove the 7.5% AGI Limitation for Medical Deductions.

    2) Reinstate the deductibility of consumer interest.

    Both of these would provide additional funds to those who really need help and stimulate the economy.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  183. Larry in Tennessee

    Flat tax for everyone and every company with NO Exemptions or Loopholes! Simple, one page tax law which is easily understood and does not need the IRS' bloated staff to administer.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  184. Fred

    I would eliminate all income taxes on anyone making less than $15,000.annually.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  185. Shaun A Richardson

    I would honestly do away with the IRS and implement a national sales tax on all items but grocery store food. I would take away all of the complexity of deductions, filings, penalties, etc and the overhead costs associated with operating the IRS. There would be no hit from illegal immigrants not paying taxes. If you purchase a good, service, etc in this country, you are then paying taxes. It is pretty hard to avoid buying anything. I think it is fair and let's people feel like they have some control or say over their tax dollars. People with more money purchase more goods, luxury items, etc and will pay more proportionately. People should feel that they make what they make and not some fraction of what they make. It is frustrating to see a $50k total tax liability at the end of the year. However, if that is spread throughout the year and tied to purchases, it is a bit more painless and let's taxpayers feel like they have a bit more control.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  186. sandy gardner

    Have the middle income have the max amount of tax deductions; should not lose a tax deduction for a child over 18(if child lives in your home they are your dependents); health insurance dedution (hospital bill, doctor bill, meds,) should be lower you should claim anything out of your pocket on medical expenses as a deduction not on a percentage; people who work, pay in taxes should get refunds from the government, you should not get back more than you pay in....that way everybody works and pays taxes; college tution deduction should include housing on campus as a deduction not just tution and fees;take away the penalty tax until 2013 if people have to go into the 401Ks to get money to pay mortages, etc (live) until the economy recovers.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  187. sandy gardner

    the above comment comes from collinsville, mississippi

    March 27, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  188. Ondrya in the San Fernando Valley, CA

    I wouldn't change a thing. For all of you whiners out there complaining about paying your taxes, stop your snivelling and listen up. It takes a lot of money to build one of those aircraft carriers, not to mention the cost of the nuclear fuel and the sailors to run the thing. Your taxes go to pay for the cost of freedom. If you don't like it, just shut up and go away. I'll glady pay for your ticket out of the country, preferably to Cuba or Venezuela.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  189. stan duzy

    I would create a Federal Sales Tax. The benefits are that it would be easy to administer, streamline the IRS, encourage savings, eliminate the underground economy, and be fair to all. Some will argue it penalizes the poor / lower income because they spend 100% of their economy out of necessity, however, the benefits far outweigh the downside.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  190. Dan in Phoenix

    Flat tax or excise tax on food for income, These proposals have been brought up but shot down again and again. A flat tax will generate the mos monies and be most fair, the percentage of income rises with income. A good idea because it can actually reduce the overall tax charged to the majority.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  191. easy rider in tn

    Flat Tax and scrap The Code. Although those usurious companies like Liberty Tax and H&R Block would be out of business, it would save the government money from printing forms, revising the codes, etc.

    It would make it less of a drag on all of us to pay money for tax software for those that self-prepare. You make X amount, your tax is say 15% all across the board.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  192. Andrew Bainbridge

    I would tax gas, coal and oil one extra dollar per "gallon" each. That would make buying solar power, electirc cars, and windmills cost effective. Then I would turn around and take that extra revenue and give it all back... I figure lower everyone, and I mean everyone's income by 1 full percent. Think about it.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  193. kenny j from illinois

    anything over 5 million a year,I would empose a 90 percent tax on,simply put if you can't live on five million each and every year,your doing something so incredibly stupid you don't deserve that kind of money anyway!

    March 27, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  194. Zac, Atlanta GA

    We should reintroduce the millionaires' tax on those making tens of millions of dollars, the same as we had for most of the 20th century. It's probably the quickest and easiest way to raise revenue.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  195. miles anderson, minneapolis

    businesses should pay a fee for selling in the market, a VAT or gross receipts tax. Not an income tax. No targeted incentives (r&d, energy credits, hiring credits, etc.), they just cause distortions. You may need to have an undistributed profits tax of some sort to prevent hording of cash and not having a reasonalble dividend policy, but probably not, as long as the cash is reinvested.

    Personal taxes need to be graduated. Progressivity is good. Savings and investing need to be rewarded. Not by a fixed lower rate, but by an exclusion that maintains the progressivity. So dividends and interest income should get a 30% exclusion. Capital gains on investments held between 1 and 3 years should also get a 30% exclusion. Capital gainns on investments held over 3 years should get a 50% exclusion. Capital gains below 1 year would continue to be taxed as ordinary income. This aim is to benefit the LT investors, not the traders.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  196. Bonnnie Bowen

    I would reinstate the anti-monopoly laws that were dismantled during the Reagan years and reverse any other laws that allow banks to be anything other than a bank.

    I believe competition is good for any market place, but without anti-monopoly laws any company can just buy their competition and dismantle them which in effect gets rid of the competition.

    Strong, but fair regulations (ie rules/guidelines) are also needed in each and every industry to ensure fairness.

    Thank you.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  197. Jim Grogan

    The tax code is written to create an ennormous industry for accountants and lawyers, who would all be out of a lot of work (and we would save all their fees) if the tac code was simpler. It will never be significantly changed due to their enormous influence in Washington.
    Efficiency and accountability in the tac code or anywhere else in government, is unfortunately, not ever going to happen again.
    What a travesty.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  198. Bernie Conner

    tax rate for everyone based upon how much you make gross income. No deductions!!! You make more you pay more. Everyone pays fair share.
    Then then those with money could not figure out a way to get out of paying their fair share and I would not need to worry about having my house taken by the government because I cannot pay real estate taxes. It is like paying the govenment rent to live in a house that I already own.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  199. Nancy, Tennessee

    Income tax laws are complex. The government needs to put out an Income tax for dummies book. It needs to list at the beginning of the year all of the things that would be beneficial in reducing a person's taxes. Then when it is time to file, your tax filer wouldn't say, "oh, if only you had done it this way". Main street America pays on way too much of their income because they don't know the ins and outs and can't afford to retain a tax lawyer to tell them what to do.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  200. Guy

    That's easy Jack. Read the Constitution. It specifically prohibits tax on labor. As Ron Paul has been saying all along, it's time to cut out the complexity in the "United States" and repeal the income tax. (Was it ever law? cf. 1913) The federal government receives more than enough income to cover its constitutionally assigned duties.

    We have experienced corporate downsizing. This will be a great way to downsize the huge government sector that somehow avoids accountability decade after decade.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  201. Gilbert

    There is always debate about who should pay more or less taxes and people always complain about the complexity & confusion of the current tax system. Why can't we just go to a flat tax system? Other than people getting upset because they finally know how much they are paying to the government it seems like a simple solution. You make $30,000 or $530,000, you owe X %.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  202. Derek A Anderson

    Easy - The FairTax Act – period!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  203. Chris McGraw

    I would repeal the tax laws. To make up for the shortfall in revenue, I would eliminate government programs one by one until taxes had become unnecessary.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  204. Troy

    The way I'd change the income tax laws is do away with income tax altogether. Taxes are well and good...and necessary. Income tax, though, is a direct tax and unconstitutional...but hey, our over-bloated government doesn't abide by the Supreme Law of the Land...they just continue to find more creative ways to circumvent it and shred it.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  205. Harry Lime

    Jack,
    Consumption tax all the way. That would be fair. Luxury goods could be taxed at a higher rate, necessities at a low rate or not at all. No loopholes, no deductions.
    Harry
    Tampa, Florida

    March 27, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  206. Ondrya in the San Fernando Valley, CA

    I wouldn’t change a thing. For all of you whiners out there complaining about paying your taxes, stop your snivelling and listen up. It takes a lot of money to build one of those aircraft carriers, not to mention the cost of the nuclear fuel and the sailors to run the thing. Your taxes go to pay for the cost of freedom. If you don’t like it, just shut up and go away. I’ll glady pay for your ticket out of the country, preferably to Cuba or Venezuela.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  207. mickey williams

    1% straight across the board no exemptions and no deductions let the wealthy pay for a change

    March 27, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  208. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    without knowing details of your tax code.. but normally to ...simplify the tax code, reduce evasion, close loopholes and make changes in corporate tax breaks is a pretty good start! The idea is too look at the code and make it more fair!

    As for But, their main goal is to raise revenue. At one point, we have to have new tax or increase tax on what is detrimental to health and environment i.e. cigarettes, junk food products and others. Higher taxes should be paid if you have more than one house since services have to be made available even when not being in use. Electricity tax should be based on your personal revenue since most of the time the higher income earner uses more electricity either from having more than one home or buying more equipment that requires electricity..this would make a fair tax system for the actually amount of service being used.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  209. Mary Storz

    I would think that we need to simplify this whole process as quickly as possible. How about the following:

    1. Keep tax as flat as possible
    2. Have a 4 to 5 tier flat percentage tax base on income i.e.
    Low Income Level to aprox. $20,000
    Moderate Income Level to approx. $80,000
    Middle Income Level to approx. $250,000
    High Income Level to approx, $800,000
    Upper Income Level over $800,000
    3. Allow deductions for only the following
    Mortgage Interest
    Health Insurance Premiums to a maximum $$ amount
    Uninsured Health Care expenses
    Education Cost over and above a set $$ amount based in income
    these deductions could be limited to those makeing less than
    $250,000 or maybe $500,000
    Charitable Constributions

    The flat percentage has to be fair and equitable ao that those in the middle 3 levels are not bearing the entire burden - the upper income level has to bear its' share without the usual whining.

    i am sure that this bring a chuckle to the powers that be and to those think the lower levels should pay the most.

    This would save an considerable amount of money in salary In the IRS system and in the cost of simply overseeing and re-doing the tax laws - this cost has to be huge.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  210. Sue

    Jack, during these tough times, I had to close my 401K to meet monthy obligations, the taxes on those funds was 48% – gee if it was taxed as earned that would be 15-25%. I know the reason for the retirement fund is for after retirement, but it seems only fair to tax these funds at the current rate the tax payer is paying in FICA

    March 27, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  211. Chuck Fleming, San Diego, CA

    First, no tax on savings. If they want Americans to save then stop taxing it. It is taxed to make it so you can put it in savings. Once in savings it will be there to spend later. Second, no death tax. Your money is taxed many times while you are alive, why does IRS think they should get more when you die. You have to leave it to someone, they will spend it if IRS does not take most of it for taxes. Third, fewer forms. Trying to figure out your tax is more painful than paying the tax. Not to mention that no two people can come up with the same tax amount for the same person. A previous head of the IRS said he could not understand most of the IRS code.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  212. Steve - Mich

    I'd definitely put the tax rates back to the Reagan or Clinton era for the upper incomes.
    I'd then set the AMT to be indexed permanently.
    I'd then drop the investment tax breaks for upper incomes including capital gains on investments and real estate deductions to coincide with a maximum.
    I'd also then hire thousands of more IRS accountants and go auditing firms and upper 40% of incomes to see where they are cheating the tax code.
    I'd then eliminate tax havens out of the country such as the caymans.
    I'd also then raise payroll taxes on any company hiring non US citizens and requesting the H1B visas.
    Once the Tax revenue stream was straightened out, and confident a high number of people were now actually paying correctly, i'd Drop taxation on small businesses, and give big deductions for those that offer health coverage to their employees.
    I'd Lower or eliminate small business fees, permit and license costs and any other odd misc cost for small businesses.
    I'd also wipe out loopholes for upper incomes across the board.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  213. Casey | Sebastopol, CA

    What many fail to understand is that those making high dollar incomes cannot exist without those making poverty wages. Giving those at the bottom more of their money (by not taxing it) allows them to buy the goods that the rich make THEIR money from.

    This is the reverse of trickle down economics... and honestly, the best thing to come from this economic crisis is the death of the moronic theory that the rich would let even a single dollar escape their grasp once they had it.

    Trickle down, indeed! That all sounds fine if you're not standing in the "trickle" without an umbrella.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  214. Larry Gomes

    Dump the 38,000 pages of tax code in favor of a simple sales tax on all goods and services except for food. This accomplishes several goals. 1) Everyone pays unlike the current system where people who make money in the underground economy don't pay at all. 2) It discourages consumption, which will encourage the use of products to their full life thereby reducing waste. 3) It addresses the tax gap you spoke about in your article. 4) It will get rid of an entire parasite industry of accountants and tax lawyers who contribute nothing to the economy. For poorer families, rebates can be instituted to help make the tax less regressive.
    Westborough, MA

    March 27, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  215. Dawna from Michigan

    I'd eliminate them!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  216. Dale,,,IOWA

    Well Jack sense you asked ,,here goes ,something short and sweet 1st. I would tax lobbyists money to all elected officials at a 99% rate if Corporate America wants to have a {pigs ear} let them pay!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  217. GLENN BAKER

    (1) Make the tax rate at 15-20% across the board. The wealthy would have MORE money to give to charities and invest into businesses. The less wealthy would have more of their money to provide for their families and more money to buy those higher ticket items that we all love.

    (2) Stop the minimum credit amount that one is allowed to claim (can't recall what it's called but it's the one where you have to have so much in deductions before you can actually claim them in order to reduce the amount of taxes paid). That way, single people like me and others who do not make a lot of money can still reduce their taxes paid by their contributions to charities, churches, etc – JUST LIKE THE RICH FOLK! Thank you very much – that would be FAIR! You would find more people giving to charities.

    Yeah, it would be fair but I don't expect it to ever happen. They don't think like we do because they've forgotten what it's like to be us and try to make it from payday to payday.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  218. Julie

    Throw it all away and start over with the Flat Tax.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  219. Ed

    I would like a fare tax. Everyone pays a percentage of his or her income...no deductions, no other discounts.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  220. Michael Kirk

    Income taxes should be abolished. Thats it!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  221. Jeffery Pender

    This seems to me to be a simple problem Jack. I am a huge supporter of the Fair Tax. It is extremely simple and fair. It taxes you based on goods you purchase, not what you make. Therefore, it benefits those that save money because you are not taxed on money if you save it. If you choose to buy an expensive car worth $50,000, then you pay tax on it. If a person with a similar income chooses to pay $30,000 for their car, then they are taxed on that price. It is all about personal choice, which is the way it should be.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  222. Kurt F

    1) Eliminate the cap on Social Security contributions; shouldn't we all pay equally, regardless of our income?
    2) Return the Capital Gains to 20% or 22%, and tighten the definition of Capital Gain.
    3) Allow the other Bush tax cuts to lapse
    4) Tax corporations on the difference in pay between a job off-shored and and its US rate; every job that leaves costs them money.
    5) Give companies a tax break of 50% of the tax rate of a job that stays here, creating tax incentives to keep jobs here and not offshore them.
    6) Increase tariffs on imports of countries that devalue their own currency to increase imports to the US (call it the Wal-Mart tariff).

    March 27, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  223. Bruce

    I would ban all property taxes, put in place a Steve Forbes style flat tax, and ban the IRS from confiscating possessions or closing anyone's accounts if they see errors.Even better, taxes should be voluntary like the once were. We are on the verge of a tax revolt if our government doesn't start spending responsibly.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  224. Phil Hayes

    Raise money? I thought this was shop-'till-you-drop.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  225. Jeremy

    I would eliminate the income tax all together and go to the FairTax system. This would create immense oppurtunities for every industry since they could operate here in the US tax free, Everyone's paycheck would significantly raise and people not currently paying taxes such as drug dealers or people being paid under the table would end up giving to the system whether they wanted to or not.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  226. Dartanon

    Flat tax rate for every wage earner. One rate scale for individuals, with possibly two or three tiers, one scale for companys, again possibly two or three tiers. Simple and fair. No deductions, no games, no loopholes, no forgiveness.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  227. Jack Kress

    A flat 10% for everyone – no deductions – what's so hard.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  228. Arnold (Dallas)

    I would make the tax laws simpler and move toward a modified flat tax. I believe due to tax law complexities the cost of compliance is a drag on the economy. A simpler tax code would ultimately would cause less confusion and higher rate of compliance and easier to administer.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  229. Bob Kennedy

    Drop the income tax and adopt a VAT or Federal sales tax. The waste in human resources and productivity in administrating and complying with the income tax code is a disgrace. Compliance would improve as would revenue – especially were the tax also to be applied to those drugs that are now so costly criminalized. As the saying goes, keep it simple, stupid.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  230. Nancy from Duck, NC

    Briefly put, when an employer provides health insurance benefits for spouses or dependents of its employees, federal tax law permits the value of the health insurance coverage to be excluded from employees’ gross incomes. However, if an employer provides the same health insurance coverage for domestic partners (or the dependents of domestic partners) of its employees, tax law considers the fair market value of that coverage (including employees’ pre-tax contributions) as reportable income. Because this assigned income increases an employee's overall taxable income, it also increases an employer’s payroll taxes. According to a 2007 report issued by the Center for American Progress and the Williams Institute, unmarried couples lose $178 million per year to additional taxes and employers pay a total of $57 million per year in additional payroll taxes because of this “unequal tax treatment.” As it stands now, such a financial inequity causes employees to pay more in taxes or risk their family members’ health - a choice that in my opinion is contrary to promoting public health and assuring equality for citizens.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  231. Dave Dority

    Abolish the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). We have worked very hard to be able to take advantage of all the legal tax loop holes afforded to us, only to get increasingly slammed by the AMT.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  232. Mark L.

    Jack –

    The personal income tax regulations are so complex and have been for so long that it's almost impossible to understand them. There are obvious and not so obvious reasons for this. If I were in charge to unilaterally change the tax code it would be very simple indeed. No exemptions for anyone, no deductions for anything. In exchange, if you make a $1.00 you would pay 10 cents and be done. That's right a flat tax rate of 10%. Not rocket science, but it doesn't have to be either.

    I recall asking at the time US Senator Bob Packwood at a luncheon when he was promoting the "Tax Reform Act of 1986" why he and Dan Rostenkowski didn't favor a flat tax, and his reply was it would be disproportionately unfair to the poor. Personally I think it would be unfair to the rich, but that's another story and opinion.

    Keep up the good work. America needs more Jack Cafferty's!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  233. Bill Smith

    Jack – only one simple change is needed to streamline our tax code. Simply require every member of congress to do their own taxes. We would have a simple understandable tax system in the blink of an eye.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  234. don ankersen

    quite simple to fix... two lines on return
    1. how much did you make this year
    2. remit line one

    March 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  235. Will Pelkey

    Jack

    I'd change the laws so folks paid all taxes to their state. The states could then remit payments to the feds. We'd be able to save money by closing the IRS, and give states a way to check the power of the federal government.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  236. AL

    The fair tax act every one pays a flat 5-10% on income.
    Retirement income etc no tax
    Gov workers serving in OIF/OEF should pay no taxes.
    No free ride for the non worker.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  237. Gary Andersen, Northridge, CA 91325

    I would dump our present system for either a straight across 10% income tax for everyone. No deductions, no returns. 10% come out and thats that. Or a national sales tax on all goods except food and medication. Again, we would loss that huge agency, the IRS, and there would be minimal cheating. Right now our tax code doesn't work as we have seen with the recent tax problems with nominated politicians.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  238. Paul

    Easier tax code? How about reduce taxes and get rid of all the stupid tax credits? Too simple I guess....

    March 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  239. AG from Harrisburg, PA

    One way to simplify tax code is to reduce the number of options to two: taxable income and exemptions. No more itemize vs. standard deduction, no AMT calculation, no alien vs. resident etc. etc.

    Right now because of a million options, filing tax returns correctly is harder than playing a game of chess against a grandmaster. Even IRS employees do not know all the variations.

    As for changes, I would like to see all out of pocket medical and dental expenses as tax deductible. Currently they are tax deductible only when they exceed 7% of AGI. Why 7%?

    Any interest paid should be tax deductible since it is treated as income by the interest earner and taxed which is double taxation.

    Taxpayers should be allowed to invest in IRAs even if their employers offer retirement plans. Currently, if the employer offers retirement plan, no matter however bad, I can forced to invest in it. Why?

    Most importantly, there should be one tax, the Federal tax. Eliminate state taxes, county taxes, municipal taxes, township taxes and local taxes. These taxes are leading to states milking the residents. Taxes are hiked annually without notification/justification. Having states get their share from Federal taxes will enforce better utilization of funds by the state governments.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  240. TomH

    Sales Tax Only. Get rid of the IRS and everything else.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  241. Gurgel

    American citizens living abroad should not have to pay income tax returns. American citizens living abroad already have to pay taxes for the country they are currently living in; it is not fair to expect that they should pay income taxes to the U.S. as well when they are not living in the country and therefore not taking advantage of any of the social services (which are minimum anyway) provided by the U.S.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  242. Steve Kendrick

    Two words "Flat Tax".

    March 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  243. Chris, Albuquerque

    They shouldn't change the existing tax laws at all. Instead, they should rewrite the whole damn system based on one of the many flat tax or use tax alternatives. Anything to move away from the broken, loop-hole-ridden mess we currently use.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  244. Maryann Switana

    The United States needs a fairer tax system. It should be a flat tax. Everyone should pay something. Regardless of age or income.

    Regards,
    Maryann

    March 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  245. Robin Krauss, Milwaukee, WI

    Scrap the current system. The only reason Washington loves it is that politicians and lobbyists can manipulate it to make money for themselves and their own interests. Install a consumption tax like the FairTax that would be simple, transparent, and fair. People would actually pay tax as they purchase goods and it wouldn't be open to corruption. But Washington never likes anything that's simple...

    March 27, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  246. BRC Ont Canada

    This year Jack, I too hope to get a bail out for my tax bill.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  247. Randy

    Let us declare all interest we pay, credit cards etc. on schecule A as we did 30 years ago.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  248. Bill Massachusetts

    We have created a multi billion dollar business, to just process taxes. Graduated rates based on income are fine, but keep it simple. You make 100,000 pay X percent, you make 50K, pay Y percent. Remove all other deductions and ANYONE, even Wolf can now do his own taxes.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  249. Dan

    a 15% flat Fed tax for everyone and then get rid of the multi-milion dollar IRS. Don't need them anymore.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  250. Roger in Atlanta

    I would tax all income the same - no lower rate for capital gains, for example. I would eliminate all deductions and exemptions. With no deductions or exemptions, tax rates could be lowered. These changes would eliminate many forms and make the tax forms easier to complete.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  251. Lynne Tracy Pompano Beach, FL

    K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly) I like the idea of a flat tax, that's simple doesn't require hours ot time, an accountant, software and can be done easily by an 8th grader. I have a masters degree and can't figure out the convolutions or understand their rationales.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  252. marilyn nj

    A big and great change that should be easy to do is the medical expense deduction. Just reduce it from 7.5% to 1% of a person's gross income. Healthcare is expensive and this would bring some relief.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  253. Joe Damato

    Jack,

    Let's cut all the nonsense and get down to it. We need a Flat Tax. Period. Everybody and I mean everybody pays 10% of the gross income, no loop holes, no deductions, nothing just a flat tax. This way we can colloect more revenue and decrease the size of government. We can send some of the taxmen down to the border.

    Joe from Tennessee

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  254. johnathan steil

    First tell the government to stop stealing from me and abolish the Income tax. Either way the 1040 form doesnt have a valid control number there
    for people who turn it in are violating the law.

    "Paperwork Reduction Act" (PRA) 44 U.S>C 3500-3520 it says that no person shall be subject to any penalty for
    failing to comply with an agency’s collection of information request (such as a 1040 form),
    if the request does not display a valid control number assigned by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
    in accordance with the requirements of the Act, or if the agency fails to inform the person who is to respond to
    the collection of information that he is not required to respond to the collection of information request unless
    it displays a valid control number.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  255. Becky Eggers

    I am a licensed Tax Consultant in the State of Oregon and see clients on a daily basis that are double dipping into the Earned Income Credit. There are multiple people living in the same households, claining rthe same expenses for Head of Household and splitting their children up amongst family members so that they all will qualify for EIC. Thousands of dollars going to people who shouldn't be receiving it. We don't ned to have tax hikes for any income level, we just need to come up with solutions to the problems in our existing tax system.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  256. Sal

    Jack,

    A transparent tax law with a simpler base, a single low rate and fewer administrative burdens would build a system Americans respect rather than fear.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  257. Drew from Pittsburgh

    Jack,

    I'm a student who finds myself paying the same percentage income tax as an AIG Excuetive... Doesn't make sense right? Where are the moral's in this country that someone making millions can't help out the little guy and pay a little bit more? Seems like I need to hit the lottery just to pay my taxes which go to the bonuses of CEO's and CFO's anyway... Got any lucky numbers?

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  258. Scott

    I always thought that taxes on wages was supposed to be unconstitional.
    But I digress, if we are to tax wages a flat tax seems by far the simplest and fairest. I'm sure those with more don't want to give up more but they have been scamming on tax loopholes for far too long and a flat tax would set things right. I suggest 12%

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  259. george in Florida

    I'd raise taxes. As an American who lived in Canada for 29 years I paid a hell of a lot more taxes than anyone here with the same income. The deductions in Canada come off the lowest tax rate, not the highest like here. You also do not receive many of the deductions that are available here. My income tax in Canada for 2008 was 4 times what it would have been here. But guess what. I had national health care that paid, in total, for more medical services, surgeries, births, doctors visits, xrays, MRI's, ultrasounds, kidney stone attacks and emergency room visits than you can shake an "I'm a poor overtaxed American" stick at. No wonder the country has a huge deficit, no real health care and no way out. You get what you pay for.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  260. Allen M Worob

    I would pass and enforce a tax on foreigners living abroad. This is a pre-meditated.act They should pay. I would also tax 110% of the gross pay and fair market value of benefits for IRS agents and IRS court staff. Their returns should be reviewed by citizens from whom they have tried to collect money. Turn about is fair play.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  261. Aimee

    That's a very easy question- get rid of the alternative minimum tax! It hasn't been adjusted since 1969 and those of us living in expensive areas like NY/LA are suffering greatly! $8000 of my hard earned money was taken away from me due to the archaic AMT, meanwhile I'm living my life of "luxury" shopping at the 99 cent store!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  262. ron/wisconsin

    simple, line A = total gross income from all sources, line B = 20%, multiply line B times line A, this is what you owe for the year! no deductions, so govern your own situation carefully, because if you make a buck, you owe uncle sam $.20.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  263. Jack Stewart

    I do not own a home any longer but instead rent a small apt which is plenty for the wife and I who are close to retirement with no small children at home any longer. What I would like to see is a rent credit, similar to those who get to deduct interest from owning a home, that would allow us to deduct some of that rental payments off our taxes. Thanks, Jack

    Hinsdale, IL

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  264. MIKE

    Jack,
    What's the matter with a flat tax? You pay a percentage of what ever you make...no deductions...no loop holes! And we could lay off about 3/4's of the IRS, saving the taxpayers bundles of money. The only downfall I see is it would greatly reduce the number of candidates available for cabinet positions.

    mike

    March 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  265. David S.Walenski

    All i know is,we need another Boston tea party. Enough is enough already,my pockets are being drained by Federal and state taxes. They now want me to come up with an idea to get more, from whom.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  266. Mel & Ellen

    Take away the corporate tax loopholes and institute a flat tax.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  267. Tim Glebus

    I feel it is as simple as a flat tax. Everyone pays the same rate. Why do we insist on such complicated tax laws and tax rules. Just make it simple – I know government is not simple but let's give it a year and see how it works?

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  268. Sam

    Just make it easy to take deductions and credits. There are too many ifs, buts, thens, elses. Take a step back and look at the laws wholistically: does the IRS really want to minutely manage the tax laws for people making less than 100K, 70K, etc? Even after all this complexity in the tax laws, the total amount of credit a family gets for every child is not that great !! Reduce complexity in laws by removing multi-tier conditional deductions/credits. Increase deductions & credits for things that actually will improve the QUALITY OF LIFE for masses of people.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  269. Bill b

    Jack. Regarding charity donations from the rich. They should not complain about losing the right off. Anyone who donates anything should do so to help... Not just to save on taxes which is actually just another way to get richer.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  270. Mike

    First eliminate it! If unable to do that, then put limits on the code like mandated MPG requirements. i.e. Make it law that whatever tax code exists, it must be in clear English language and shall be condensed to contain not more than 10,000 words, nor require more than one form for all tax filers.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  271. Christian Haerle

    I would make the income tax structure as "progressive" as possible. Anything less leads to severe economic problems. Or even war.

    For a business owner to make a profit, the wages he pays to his workers has to be less than the retail price (income) of the products his business and the labor produce.

    Therefore, for any business owner to make a profit, the wages he pays to his workers has to be less than the "sticker price" of his products. As a result, it is impossible for his workers to be able to afford to buy what they themselves produce. (If he pays one million dollars in wages per year, to make a profit, the sticker price of those products has to be more than one million dollars).

    Some might say that the surplus production will be exported. But the nation to which we export has the same problem. The workers there receive wages that obviously do not allow them to buy everything they produce. If they could, the owner would have zero profit.

    The whole system relies on expanding markets or expanding monetary supply, but both I suspect are dead ends.

    There has to be a solution, but so far I do not see it, except through a very progressive income tax structure.

    Best regards,
    Christian Haerle
    Zurich Switzerland

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  272. Kenneth A. Vaughn

    Abolish the Individual, corporate, payroll , and capital gains taxes and replace with the FairTax Plan which includes a prebate to negate the regressive nature of a sales tax. This puts all an employees earnings into their hands to spend as they choose. It funds Social Security, Medicare, and Medicad, makes universal health care possible, it stimulates and makes American made products competitive globally, it will foster foreign investment capital into the U.S., it will bring Off Shore capital home, it will tax the illegal drug and gambling cartels. It will eliminate $500 billion dollars from the budget for the current cost of collecting the federal income tax as the FairTax will be collected by the in place Sales Tax collection agencies.
    Kenneth Vaughn
    PhD. Candidate

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  273. Jeffery Pender

    I would be quite fine with raising the tax rate for people making over 5 million dollars (for example). As a general rule, people making this much money have the financial resources to pay people to figure out how to avoid paying taxes via loopholes. If the loopholes cannot be closed, then raise the tax rate!! Face it, if you cannot live comfortably on $5 million/yr or more, you are pathetic.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  274. Karl

    Jack: The current tax code is anti middle class. I mean it would be different if we got some kind of representation for it. The fairest tax code which would work in good times and bad is a consumption tax–ie raise the sales taxes to make up the difference. Also this would alleviate the 300 B shortfall you mentioned–everyone would have to pay it.
    Karl in PA

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  275. Phil Hunt

    Make them easy – eleiminate the current code erntirely and have a national sales tax. For those on welfare and maybe items like prescriptive drugs, a card could be provided exempting these. The wealthy would be taxed more, because they spend more. It would encourage savings, since interest earned and captital gains are income, NOT spending. It would put a lot of tax lawyers and CPAs out of work, but then they could find something honest to do.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  276. Eric in Texas

    The Fair Tax Plan would be a good place to start, or something similar too it. Studies taken about the plan show that it will generate $300 Billion more annually than our current income tax. Also no IRS forms. Whats not to like?

    March 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  277. Lew in Virginia

    Jack,

    Start by telling the truth: There is no way to pay for the country's immense unfunded liabilities–that is, entitlements–and mushrooming debt without raising taxes on everyone. Even soaking 100% of the income of the so-called 'rich' would not be enough to close the gap.

    Then ask former Senator Bill Bradley–who led the last useful tax reform in 1986–to chair a nonpartisan commission to devise a new plan to simplify the tax code and spread the responsibility to pay for the government's obligations among the entire adult population. (I emphasize 'nonpartisan' as opposed to 'bipartisan' to underscore the reality that 1/3 of the electorate is independent of either party, and should be represented.)

    March 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  278. Derek - Kansas City- ROCK CHALK

    From the point of view of a master's degree student in accounting, nothing should be changed to simplify the code. The confusion that the tax code is, is the same thing that I am counting on for a job.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  279. Bill Kaneohe, Hawaii

    Jack!

    Where is the law? Which says the people have to pay taxes? Taxes are supposed to be on Corporate Gains earned! Have all these corrupted companies pay taxes and leave us law abiding citizens alone. I know what you're thinking Jack! This reader pays his taxes yearly & timely.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  280. Terence

    Jack, I would use a new short tax form thats coming out this year. It only has two lines. Line 1 is how much do you make. Line 2 is SEND IT IN!
    Terence, Piscataway, NJ

    March 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  281. Chris - Seattle

    Jack, many on this blog agree, flat tax say 10% to 15% for everyone, across the board. Everyone then shares and contributes to the cause , equally...

    March 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  282. Mark

    A "progressive graduated income tax" is one of the planks of the communist manifesto. It would be unacceptable at 1 page of length...at over 67000 pages it's a national disgrace. The only thing acceptable to the American people is repeal of the the 16th Amendment, repeal of the unConsitutional Federal Reserver Act, and the Fed's collection agency...the IRS; and a return to excise taxes to fund government...of which the FAIR TAX now before Congress is. Until this day, more Americans will refuse to compy and more Americans will refuse to convict their fellow Americans of tax crimes. The insanity of USC Title 26 WILL BE overturned by the will of the people and jury nullification.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  283. dwain majak

    Jack,

    simplify, simplify, simplify. So simple, many people would balk. especially tax attorneys, the IRS, and specialized tax preparation companies. I say that it's time for career changes for them – they can learn to build bridges, roads, and schools. Productive, meaningful jobs.

    My plan: a $10,000 a yer per person personal exemption, After that, an across the board 12% tax rate. No deductions for this or for that. As I said, so simple, most people will balk. Think of it – a form with amount earned, a line for the personal deduction, a line for the remainder, a line for the taxes owed, well, you get it, about six lines total.

    Oh, and those folks getting those multi-million dollar bonuses – good for them. and for us – at 12%, we'll do much better than we do now with all the write-offs they currently enjoy,

    Joe Simpleton

    March 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  284. Nancy Keeton

    Finally a question I can answer –
    Flat percentage tax! No exemptions, no loopholes, no tax code

    March 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  285. Larry

    Jack, It’s really time for “change”. Take 15-20% of everything we spend. Eliminate the IRS, Tax Accounting Firms and everyone else who benefits from the complex tax laws. If Wolf needs an accountant to do his taxes, what about the average Joe. If the H&R Block commercial is factual, there are mistakes on 4 of every 5 returns. What’s wrong with this picture? BTW, cabinet nominee’s don’t pay theirs when due or on time either.

    Larry
    Bettendorf, Iowa

    March 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  286. Lynne

    Reinstate deductions for credit card interest and loan interest on cars. Eliminate wage cap on social security/medicare contributions.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  287. Ray of Rockville

    Get rid of all the deductions including charity and the home mortgage scam, and keep the family exemption. The exemption would reflect the poverty level for a given family size, plus a nominal education and health care allowance. Thus a family of 4 would exempt about $30,000 from taxation. Then all remaining income would be taxed at a flat 17% rate for everybody.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  288. Frank Fischer

    Have those healthy working individual who don't pay taxes donate their time to work for the government. Many of us so called higher tax bracket individuals work 60 plus hours a week, this come with our jobs falling into exempt categories not hourly wages. Then the government would have a reduced payroll and the people complaining about the rich will know what it is like to work long hours and not have the time to enjoy the left over money the government has already taxed.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  289. LeeAnn from Indiana

    The first thing I would suggest is to change the AMT. I am in sales and make about $74K per year with 4 kids and get hit with this every year due to my work related expenses. 74K is not what it used to be, especially with 4 children, yet I am being hit with a tax that is designed for the wealthy.
    Another thing I would change is the Earned Income Credit. I do not understand why people get money back just because they have children and earn an income. I believe it keeps people in these lower income situations because the payoff is so substantial. To give people money that someone else "earned" just because they are lower income does not seem fair.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  290. Steve - Mich

    Oh Also, i'd eliminate Taxes on the first 10,000 of investment income claimed per year. (includes savings interest, bond, cd yields, stock gains, etc.)
    THAT would spur investment in the market for the lower and middle incomes.
    I'd also remove taxation on the first $35,000 income for anyone 65 and older.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  291. Christian Larsen

    Why can't we just have a simple percentage formula (i.e. a flat tax)? It would reduce loopholes, reduce cheating and make it easier to file. Instead, we are left with a system the is constantly changing and difficult to navigate that favors those who cheat or can afford the best representation. A flat tax would be fair, stable and transparent. I would know that my neighbor paid his/her share and I would know what to expect for a debt. Moreover, we could dismiss a number of tax professionals and reallocate those resources as well.

    If we aren't going to simplify the tax code we should, at least, teach people how to prepare taxes in high school, college or elsewhere. A tax code that is constantly changing cannot be fair.

    Christian
    San Jose, CA

    March 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  292. Don from AZ

    Increase the amount of personal exemptions more in line with what it costs to provide basic living expenses, and reinstate the % of tax on the wealthiest to where it was before the Reagan era. Allow the middle class to recoup what has been lost over the past many years.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  293. Kathy in Tempe AZ

    Flat tax 9.99 percent for every one, all entities, no loopholes. I should not have to support someone elses kids, etc. Companies pay the same as individuals. KISS.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  294. Bill in Texas

    Jack:

    It's time to put that 40% of Americans that pay no taxes – back on the tax rolls. Everyone has a stake in our government - so everyone should pay taxes!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  295. Kyle

    Considering that income taxes are unconstitutional (and penalized work), my "change" would be to eliminate it. I wonder what sort government cost savings this would produce?

    March 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  296. Michael Le Houllier (Taichung, Taiwan)

    Simple: Implement the Fair Tax.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  297. Gigi

    A flat tax is the only new tax I'm interested in. Any other would not benefit me or the working class.

    Oregon

    March 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  298. Lee Greer

    A National Sales Tax on everything that sells, even real estate and internet sales – graduated rates – zero on food – or at least staples, going higher up to a luxury tax rate for high end products. No tax on savings and government securities. Keep some of the IRS folks to run the sales tax collections, and move the investigator/auditor types over to the SEC and banking – seems we need more "oversight" in the investment side.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  299. Bob in Houston, TX

    I'd just modify it to exclude me. No other modifications required IMO.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  300. Tommy

    Simple, Flat tax of 10% on everyone making more than $10,000 a year and 15% for those making more than a million a year.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  301. Jim rukavina

    Charleston, SC- I would impose a flat tax of 10% on everyone; individuals and corporations with no deductions. All non-profits would have to re-file for their exemptions under much more stringent rules to obtain their tax-exempt status. All the think tanks and institutes that employ the talking heads, consultants and so-called experts would be gone under my new tax plan. I would drop the percentage rate after we've repaid our debts and funded all our essential programs. NASA would abolished and the money saved could be applied to universal health care. The displaced NASA employees and the extra IRS employees could administer the health plan. There's more and I'd be happy to expound on it should any0one be interested, Jim.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  302. Robin Krauss, Milwaukee, WI

    The best thing Obama could do to prove he supports fairness and transparency is to scrap the current tax system and move to a consumption tax. People would always know what they owe, because they would pay tax as they make a purchase. It would be far less susceptible to corruption, and politicians and lobbyists would be very unhappy – and that would make ME happy.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  303. John

    I'd institute a 3% net worth tax on every household or business worth more than 5 million dollars.

    That would provide plenty of $ to reduce deficits and improve infrastructure and healthcare, reduce the problems associated with dynastic wealth, and provide businesses and households with the incentive to invest constructively, instead of buying more unneeded yachts or jets.

    John
    Los Angeles

    March 27, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  304. Len in Clarkston, Wa.

    I think the answer is a flat tax based on ONE percentage for all. If the tax were 5% then EVERYONE pays 5% of what they earn...individuals, business even our current "non-profits (including churches.) For every dollar you make..you owe 5 cents. No deductions, no credits and more importantly no IRS as we now know it. Simple, direct, easy to monitor. It could work, Jack. Really.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  305. Thomas matthews

    It seems to me that allowing a deduction for all medical expenses that are already allowed by the IRS in Flex spending accounts would help everyone. Instead of having us deduct money up front into a Flex Spending account, simply ALLOW any money spent which would normally be allowed in Flex account (no requirement to reach a percentage of income first) to be a simple tax deduction.
    If we did it this way people would be more likely to spend money on their health. That would benifit the country in that people would be healthier and make more taxable income. The medical community might even like the added spending.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  306. Vinod

    Tax the politician's incomes at 90% and add a voluntary box for folks who want to contribute towards higher taxes.

    Keep all taxes non-politician's taxes down to 10% for incomes 100,000

    March 27, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  307. Greg Morris

    Taxes must shift to a sales tax. Forget income tax. A sales taxes will fairly tax the rich with their big spending habits and fairly tax the poor with their minimum spending.

    Greg Morris
    The OC

    March 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  308. Lyle Andersen

    Jack, why is everyone avoiding the obvious. If there ever was a time for the FAIR TAX it is now. The benefits would help our county in many ways and simplify the cumbersome tax system! Everyone would be paying their fair share and it would generate more revenue than we do now which would help to slow down the growth of the national debt.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  309. Steve

    I like Kris' idea. I'm renting a 1 bedroom apartment in San Francisco for over $3k/month! Even if I found roommates, with the cost of living being so high, I still wouldn't be able to survive on a $100k salary.

    People should be taxed based on the cost of living in their area. A person making $250k/year in San Francisco could never purchase a home, whereas a person living in Kansas earning the same salary could own an above average home, two German cars and send all three children to college!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  310. warren cox

    flat tax rate for everyone....regardless of income

    March 27, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  311. David Eckersley

    FLAT TAX. Everybody pays an equal percentage of what they earn. Then draw the line, forget all the exemptions and can the IRS. The tax system is the way it is so that the government can siphon off as much money as possible without our knowing it. The only way for them to get more money would be to raise the flat national income tax percentage. With that kind of transparency, the government would would be wiser with our money, and less willing to add program after failing program.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  312. Guy

    Jack,

    I would eliminate the tax deduction businesses get when they have commercial property sitting empty. If they did not get the write off they would lower the rent until they could rent the property and this would encourage other businesses to take the risk and open up shop. There are a lot vacant properties with no incentive to lease. This would help stimulate the economy with small businesses.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  313. Major Hooper

    Eliminate the IRS...that'll save bucks...then institute a flat tax on all products for all people and businesses at a set rate to pay the bills of the country...say 7%. No one gets out of it and everyone pays the same rate no matter what...no too much, not too little, and no escapees from paying their fair share by under-reporting income...no corporate loopholes...no tax code nightmare and the budget gets and stays balanced.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  314. Bill

    It is obvious that what is ever best for my individual situation is best. The commom good should be left to the common man, and he should have to pay for it.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  315. Bobby in Florida

    The right thing to do is to stop giving refunds. Have a flat tax ever one pays. No matter how much money you make. $1,000.00 or $2,000.000.00. Poor, middle class. upper middle class, rich, or millionaires. Every one pays a flat tax.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  316. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    The FairTax Amendment is the only solution to our national digrace of a tax code. Unfortunately, pathological Republicans and greedy tax lawyers would rather see this great country taxed into third world status before acknowleging the wisdom of a consumption based tax system. With no personal or corporate tax code to manipulate to their advantage, there would be no need for these legal slease bags, nor would there remain a cottage industry for tax evasion. In a country that trumpets the virtues of personal success, it sure seems to go out of its way to penalize it.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  317. jeff dziuban

    First, If you are an offshore company that does more than 50% of your business in the USA then you pay taxes as a domestic corporation. No more relocating to Aruba, the Cayman Islands, etc. or wherever to avoid taxes. Since the early 1950's the percentage of total revenues paid as taxes into the US treasury by corporation has dropped by 50%. Meanwhile, the revenies paid as taxes by individuals has risen by 35%+. I guess it's due to taxes on all those bonuses and stock swaps.

    Also, get rid of tax write-downs for losses incurred in year X against profits gained in year Z, except for new start-up companies as they will commonly lose money the first few years until established in any economic situation. Otherwise, when the boon comes, put some aside for a rainy year or a down economy just like the average citizen does(hopefully).

    March 27, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  318. ALBERT BELL

    First, I would only apply property tax to items that people owned.That is, if a person is in the process of paying a bank for a car, home, boat, or any item that could be taxed, they would pay absolutely no property tax. However, when the person assumes ownership of such items by forfilling its obligation to the bank then property tax would apply.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  319. mathew tolpingrud

    Social securtiy tax does not stop at 100k. The highest paid people like to express their false indignation about having to pay a higher tax rate but they always fail to mention that after 100k they no longer pay FICA taxes.

    Also, unearned income (capital gains) tax rates should never be lower than earned income tax rates.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  320. Charles

    Hey Jack,
    It's simple...If you are working, you pay a flat tax based on your income. The new formula should take into consideration deductions for houses, taxes etc. If you are employed by someone else, your taxes should be deducted from your wages and at the end of the year you owe nothing and don't have to pay excessive accounting fees to file just to be told that you owe more.Those who pay their taxes regularly, for example weekly or monthly or quarterly in the case of the self- employed, should pay a reduced rate or less tax than if you wait til April 15th to pay. Those who don't pay by the 15th should be taxed more and pay extra fees.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  321. Ken

    Flat tax all, no breaks, no write offs, no nothing just a realistic flat tax that is unchangeable for all. If you make 500 or 500000, flat tax it all at a set percentage. Easy for everyone to do own taxes. There are no returns to do. Flat tax. Make it a constitutional admendment so that the people vote to enact and politicians can not change. Just Do It!!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  322. Dave in CO

    Jack,

    I would like a flat tax that had a base deduction of about 50 to 100 thousand per person. After that they could tax at about 38% with no deductions. This would relieve the tax burden on the folks that spend the most of their discretionary income and contribute the most to our economy. Giving tax breaks on the top end actually drains money out of our economy like the last eight years have done. This theory will work because of the economic principle of marginal utility.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  323. Ken W.

    Jack,
    The current tax system is a complete nightmare. Thousands of hours are spent each year trying to complete confusing form upon confusing form. The rich and corporations avoid much of their share via loopholes; while illegal immigrants pay nothing into the system despite the benefits they receive.

    So, my change? Do away with it all together. Institute a national sales tax for all goods except food and housing. Reform the IRS to collect this new tax. Everyone pays under this system based upon how much they consume ... no matter their station in life. No more free rides for illegals, no more confusing forms, no more audits for normal everyday Americans, and no more loopholes.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  324. Charles from NJ

    Flat tax or a consumption sales tax. I'm sick of paying huge taxes while many people I know are getting refunds!! The more you buy the more you pay.

    It's amazing how so many simply say tax the rich more when the rich already pay most of the taxes. Get real, everyone needs to pay their fair share.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  325. JR

    I would recommend two changes that would have big impacts on most people. The awful 1986 revisions to the tax code took away most of the medical expense and interest expense deduction when itemizing. The allowable medical expense deduction was raised to anything over 7.5% of Adjusted Gross Income. Any family making 100-200k a year would need 7-15k in medical expense to just get one dollar of deduction.
    This at a time when most families medical expenses are increasing dramatically. The other deduction I would bring back is the interest expense on anything including credit cards. This would help out many individuals.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  326. Ken in NC

    Subtract the amount of federal taxes withheld from gross income and send the balance to the IRS by 04-15- of each year.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  327. Charles Conti

    How would I change the tax laws? I'm in favor of a fair TAX CODE. I think the Fair way to obtain money from taxes would be to require everyone who lives and works in America to pay a fair amount of tax. This could be done with a straight flat tax with no loop holes, everyone must pay something based on income, not purchases. I make way under $250,000 but I think the idea of taxing those making over the $250,000 amount is unfair and tends to stifle the American way of those willing to take risks and have the desire of entrepreneurship which makes America Great!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  328. David Ft. Hood,Tx

    a flat tax based of the yearly income of a house hold and using only proved deductions to change the amount a household owes the government and add tax brakes to military why should they work so hard to pay there own wadges and for big business for every new job they create but penalise them for every one the ether move out of the us or just cut. the government seems to run for these big businesses so make the big business pay for what the government, big business, and badly maneged banks created

    March 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  329. Jarvis from Marietta, GA

    Jack....this is easy. I would implement the FairTax. It is just that simple.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  330. Daniel

    The answer to this is real simple; I would eliminate them...completely, and replace them with a sales tax levied at the retail level (note, this includes internet sales as well). Before anyone gets in a tizzy about how expensive this would be for retailers, consider this. Every cash register or computer built since about 1980 has had this ability built in. Also, most retailers already take care of sales taxes at the state level. The elimination of the need to track profit/loss/plant and equipment/etc for tax purposes will more than offset the slight additional cost of reprogramming their cash registers.

    Why do this? Here are some reasons:
    1) Encourage savings. If you are a saver, guess what, you pay less federal taxes. Savings rate goes up, more money is available for investments in our country’s future. Most important here is that under my plan you get a choice. Spend more, pay more taxes, spend less, pay less tax.

    2) Removes an incentive for business to leave the US. Since my proposal would remove ALL taxes on persons and businesses (yes, even profits) at the federal level, there would be little incentive, for tax reasons at least, for businesses to move overseas.

    3) Billions of dollars in savings to people and businesses that no longer have to comply with a staggeringly complex tax code. We will probably have to cut a check (see item 4 below) from the treasury to retrain thousands or accountants, but that is a small price to pay, to get this tax monkey off our backs.

    4) Separates the income/outlay parts of the federal budget. This is REALLY important. There would be NO deductions in my plan. Period! You want to fund some project or social program, fine; write a check from the treasury! Want a progressive tax code, fine; write a check from the treasury! Want to help people with medicine or food, fine; write a check from the treasury! No longer would politicians be able to fund their pet projects by creating a “tax break” and slipping it into the tax code. It would end up "front and center" on the expenditure side of the federal budget. The result will be more transparency and accountability in our national budgets. Ever notice how much harder it is to justify an expenditure if you have write a check for it?

    5) Foreign imports would now be taxed at the same rate as US products. No more advantage to moving companies to low business tax countries to slip out of paying taxes. Under my plan the US would effectively be a zero business tax country, can’t get much lower than that!

    6) Encourages exports (something this country despairately needs) be eliminating all business taxes. A product sold in another country is not subject to our sales taxes.

    Will this ever become a reality? Not in a million years. The average US taxpayer is not smart enough to realize that you cannot single out one group (for example business) and make them pay more taxes. In the end, it always gets passes along to the consumer, ALWAYS.
    My plan significantly reduces the power of our elected leaders, and we know these guys will not willingly give up power.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  331. Jack M

    Its easy Jack...nice name by the way.

    Do away with self-reporting. Replace with federal sales tax.

    The rich pay more because they have more to spend. The poor pay less or could be exempt by proving proof that their income is lower. It would do away with the rich sending their money to Switzerland, corporate tax shelters and would collect on those that never pay taxes (the huge hidden economy of tips and "pay by cash" merchants)...even the undocumented would have to contribute.

    Localities would collect at the register...like they do now. No more April 15th, less IRS and we would all pay less because everyone would be paying their fair share...

    Problem...makes too much sense and too many people make money off a complicated and unfair tax code. The result is that honest people pay more and the cheats keep finding a way to pay less.

    Jack

    March 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  332. Noah from Sumter, SC

    I would make them easy enough for the average American to read and understand. Or at least easy enough for the Treasury Secretary to understand. If Timmy can't file his taxes correctly, and he's the guy running the department that oversees the process, then what luck do the rest of us have?

    March 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  333. Ronald Kennedy

    The esiest and most efficient would be a flat tax on all income with no tax exemptions. There would be no need for the massive IRS and filling ones taxes would be very simple. Establish a percentage that would meet government expenses and help to pay off the deficit.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  334. Parks

    This would be the entire tax code:

    The first X amount you make, up to a feasible limit based on budget requirements (lets say 30,000 per individual), would be entirely untaxed. Everything above that amount would be taxed at exactly the same rate for every individual. The rate could change year to year depending on projected budget requirements and rates of employment.

    There would be no deductions, exemptions, or credits based on marriage, number of children, mortgage interest, charitable giving, education spending, or any other imaginable deduction.

    Income would be taxed only once. That is to say, no estate, gift, or capital gains tax.

    The tax form would consist of 2 lines for every individual.
    1. Total Income – $30,000
    2. Amount owed = Result of line 1 x universal tax rate.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  335. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Mine is a simple change request. I'd like to get a $40 tax credit to cover the cost of the tax preperation software package required to file my return. It galls the tar out of me to have to pay money to figure out how much I have to pay in taxes.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  336. Corinne

    Jack, Get rid of the Alternative minimum tax and go to a flat tax or usage tax, and enforce the laws we already have,instead of endlessly letting congress write another one that doesn't work. While we're at it, bust these jokers who have hidden accts. in other countries.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  337. Bobby in Florida

    Stop giving refunds. A flat rate federal tax. Every one pays no matter if you make $1,000.00 or if you make $2,000,000.00 you pay the flat rate tax. Poor, middle class, upper middle class, rich, millionaries. Stop property tax on our homes. This is our homes that we have worked all of our lives to have and keep.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  338. David in Atlanta, GA

    Get rid of all the complicated federal taxes on private citizens and corporations. Make it simple. First you pass a constitutional amendment locking the federal budget at X percent of the GDP. I haven't figured out what X is yet. Then you collect that amount of money from the states. The states share of the bill is calculated based on electoral votes. Sure your state taxes will go up, but the burden on the states does not increase. They already have a tax structure, now they just have to collect more money to pay the feds. This system would accomplish many things: 1) reduce the size of federal government by completely eliminating the IRS 2) reduce the tax hassel on people 3) reduce the power of the feds since they can no longer manipulate tax policy to play class warfare games, 4) fixes the federal budget based on a mathematical formula, rather than letting Congress and POTUS gouge the citizens and raise taxes just to pay for their pet projects.
    Oh yeah, and if the spending exceeds the budget, Congress and POTUS don't get paid. After that all of their perks start to get taken away.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  339. Edward Nichols

    End all business taxes-they're paid by the consumer anyway-instead tax income of CEO's, board and MAJOR stock holders at 75 percent rate. Then allow them to reduce that rate by a certain amount for each condition they meet. For example, they coull shave off ten percent for having 60% US citizens on payroll, more off for offering a real retirement, more off for offering healthcare insurance etc. Give them a real incentive to be responsible Americans instead of making greed pay the way it does now. Also, change the overall tax code so that people making the most money are obligated to pay the largest share of income taxes. For example, if the top 5% of our population makes 70% of the income earned in the US they should also pay 70% of the income taxes paid to the federal government.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  340. Jack Phoenix, AZ

    A consumption tax. 10% on everything purchased. High end luxury items 20%. Tax exempt those make $30000 or less with and ID card like AFDC. No rebates, no forms, no loopholes.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  341. Clark

    Easy ....
    1. tax all income (no loopholes allowed)
    2. tax all people at the same rate (including corporations)
    3. the rate would be adjustable based on the cost of the programs that the federal, state and local governments decide are essential.

    this would enable us to get rid of the IRS and thus reduce the government salary cost and everybody would pay their fair share and everybody would be well aware of the cost of entitlements. the American people would be more likely to hold Congress's feet to the fire about how they decide to spend the people's money.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  342. Gary in CO

    We need two items – flat tax and tax on luxury items. People that can afford to buy and sell cars, homes, yachts, and take advantage of travel and entertainment venues (ie sports, club memberships, restaurants, concerts) can afford additional taxes which would offset a lower flat tax and remove tax on necessity items.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  343. Jeff

    Bring the troops home and abolish the 16th amendment. It would save lives, increase our security and boost the economy.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  344. joe

    First, i'd ask the irs to show us, chapter and verse, where it says we have to pay tax on our labor! they can't... it doesn't exist! they are nothing but collection agency for the FED, who as we all know, are an illegal money cartel robbing us all blind! as per their own agreement, we can 'buy them out" for $450 million. doesn't it make more sense..duh... to do that than pay them interest on trillions of dollars!!?? Ever wonder what Ron Paul is talking about? The supreme court ,in 1935, ruled that congress CAN NOT pass their powers to another! In other words they have no congressional authority to make monatary policy! Now they want to grant them more power over everyone that uses money in their business! They are our greatest enemy and many believe are responsible for death of JFK, as he wanted to get rid of they! conspiracy? no... history!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  345. gerald

    Simple. Make them simple. One option: A flat tax. Second option: A valued added tax. Popular in European countries and workeable. Congress has to get on the ball and once and for all remove all the obfuscation associated with these archaic tax rules and have the IRS stop playing GOTCHA! with Average Joe 6pack.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  346. Arthur Barry

    I would like to see one simple change made. Make the taxes owed for anyone making less than $20,000 a year after deductions $0.00. Then start the sliding scale from that point.
    This would add a huge amount of relief and put more dollars into economic growth.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  347. Julie - Texas

    – Bring the tax rates back to pre-Reagan for anyone making more than $250,000 a year.
    – or have a flat tax with no deductions (the people making the laws will make sure it's a fat chance of that getting passed )
    – eliminate all tax breaks for any company that sends jobs out of the USA, and give tax breaks for companies that develop jobs here.
    – eliminate tax havens such as Switzerland and Cayman
    – Automatic audits for anyone receiving bonuses in excess of $10,000/year.
    – after all that has happened lately, it appears that the rich know how to skirt around taxes easily. When some potential appointees were audited they ended up owing $100's of thousands of dollars. I think it's time to audit high-earners to see if they are really paying their fair share.
    – this tax code is so complicated that it's next to impossible to do your own taxes. This confusion is costing us a fortune and making some people extremely rich. Time to start all over.

    Thank heaven that President Obama is open to changing this situation.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  348. KH

    FLAT TAX !!!!!

    But this will probably never happen b/c people in DC do not want to lose control.

    Bigger government is always better, right? WRONG

    A government large enough to give you everything you want is also large enough to take everything you have.....

    March 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  349. Bob in Morganton NC

    I would do one of two things. 1 eliminate income tax and go to a sales tax or 2 go to a flat tax.I am not rich by any means(retired and income less than 75000)but my tax returns are so complicated that I can not do them myself and it costs over $400 per year to file mine.This sounds rediculous but have any of you tried to read the tax books? Our tax codes are way to complicated.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  350. Theron Rockhill

    Give volunteers a break. Over the past several years the deduction for business travel has increased from 20 cents per mile to over 50 cents per mile. Meanwhile, the deduction for travel in support of a charity has remained at 14 cents per mile. What rationale could possible exist for this tax code unfairness?

    Theron, Tucson AZ

    March 27, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  351. Lee in MN

    When 60% of all Corporations in America pay zero taxes and 80% of foreign companies pay no taxes, we have inequity. We need to move to a minimum flat tax for EVERYONE. The richer you are, the bigger cheat you are.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  352. Edmond Sayadian

    Simply in 3 words!!

    MAKE IT FAIR

    March 27, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  353. Vincent

    We need to take a serious look at the fair tax. The more pages a tax law has the more loopholes

    March 27, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  354. Brooke

    ELIMINATE THE IRS! Eliminate Income Tax!
    Create a National Sales Tax!
    This would not punish people whom are working hard Or people that are living way under their means.
    It would make no difference between cash or check.
    It would capture more money that is currently being spent by people whom are under the radar.
    It would capture the money that is being paid to people that are here illegally!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  355. Jeff Sheets

    the most efficient and democratic way there is.. just go to the FairTax

    March 27, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  356. Alex Gladney-Lemon

    Indivduals Families Rate
    First 20k First 40k 0%
    Next 30k (50k Total) Next 60k (100k Total) 40%
    Next 50k (100k Total) Next 100k (200k Total) 50%
    Anything after 100k Anything over 200k Tot 55%

    This is a progressive tax that will have a max tax rate of 37% for individuals making 100k and families making 200k. After that people making the millions can pay more like the rates in Canada. Thereby giving the U.S. plenty of money for healthcare, better education, the infrastrucure that we need, and pay down the national debt.

    Alex
    Houston, TX

    March 27, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  357. shem

    Why is there any discussion? The income tax is not authorized by the taxing clauses of the United States Constitution.

    Shem
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    March 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  358. Michael R Smith

    Say Jack here's the truth flat tax at 10% get rid rid of all the garbage
    language that the IRS uses to keep our hard earned money.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  359. Marilyn - Tallahassee, FL

    Jack, I think any senior citizen with an annual income of $25K or less should be completely exempt from paying income tax. It is just about the minimum that anyone can live decently on, and doesn't cover any medical expenses or emergencies.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  360. K Bell

    Flat Tax !!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  361. John McKenna

    pay taxes on all income at the same rate. Income is income and investing in the stock market is the same as going to the casino. Eliminate most deductions.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  362. Tony weckerling

    Fairtax. All the work is done

    March 27, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  363. Expat in Canada

    I'd get rid of taxing people who don't live in the states. I moved out of the country, yet I still have to pay taxes on my income (meaning I pay taxes to two different countries). On top of that, the IRS makes life thoroughly difficult through the forms that you need to fill out (unlike the 1040EZ forms I used to get). Most countries don't make you go through this (only Vietnam, the Philippines and Myanmar make you file income while abroad).

    March 27, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  364. Ray of Rockville

    I was a strong supporter of the FairTax, actually I still am but have some reservations:

    1. You would still need a taxing authority. Sure the IRS would be dismantled but you need something else to audit the businesses that are supposed to collect all that money.

    2. There will be an underground economy of 'used' new goods to avoid the 23% sales tax, since only new retail items are taxed.

    3. The monthly family prebate will be a nightmare for the SSA to keep straight. They have enough problems.

    4. People who currently have a lot of personal wealth (which has already been taxed) will be taxed again when they spend it.

    5. The FairTax authors are already talking about exemptions for education and medical expenses, opening up a whole pandoras box that it was supposed to avoid.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  365. Jean Clelland-Morin

    I was a volunteer in Jerry Brown's 3rd run for the presidency. Part of the platform included a flat tax – the form wasn't even one page. How long ago was that ? Every year I do my own taxes. I get them out of the way as soon as possible to get the painful, convoluted thing done. / Jean / San Antonio

    March 27, 2009 at 6:53 pm |