If there is one season that we observe as a whole in this nation, it’s tax season. We accountants see our clients information flooding in along with handling many frantic phone calls as to how we arrived at their tax bill. All the while trying to pay attention to the immediate and fine details that are demanded of tax preparers.
What most taxpayers don’t understand, is the environment in which accountants must navigate their clients through. It is impossibly complex and drastically changes so much that the IRS itself can barely keep up. Another filing season has come and gone, and we still are baffled by why congress can’t devise a fairer and more logical tax scheme.
Quite a few of our clients have gotten sticker shock due to the ever-changing tax landscape and the lateness of the changes implemented by the Tax Prevention Act of 2014. Why congress took three hundred and sixty two days to enact their bill which made changes retro-active to the beginning of 2014 should concern everyone.
This year we are likely to see more of the same as they did not even have the foresight to pass 2015 tax changes before the year began. We are again working blindly. Everyone talks about fairness in the tax code but, if the rules are ever-changing and proper planning cannot be done, there will never be fairness in the system.
The changes that most affected our clients this year were the accelerated phase out of personal exemptions; the child tax credit and itemized deductions. Unfortunately, all of the aforementioned phase outs occurred at different levels of income in some cases making the marginal tax rates of fifty percent. We could not advise our clients of how to properly modify their estimated tax payments as “The Act” was passed three days before year end.
What will it take for congress to live up to their responsibility and stop using the tax code as a political pawn?