Just in time for consideration by the President's new bipartisan panel on tax reform, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson has released a report to Congress that identifies the complexity of the Internal Revenue Code as the most serious problem facing taxpayers and the IRS alike. "Without a doubt, the largest source of compliance burdens for taxpayers and the IRS alike is the overwhelming complexity of the tax code, and without a doubt, the only meaningful way to reduce these compliance burdens is to simplify the tax code enormously," Olson wrote. The report cited the alternative minimum tax , the earned income tax credit, and the large number of provisions designed to encourage taxpayers to save for education and for retirement as key illustrations of the problems of complexity wrought by the 1.4 million-plus word tax code. Once again, Olson noted the problems associated with the alternative minimum tax. "The need for AMT relief looms like the proverbial elephant in the room," she said, "and for that reason we once again, for the third year, recommend its repeal." The report also recommended that Congress simplify certain tax burdens on small businesses, streamline and simplify tax incentives for education savings and spending, streamline and simplify tax incentives for retirement savings, and provide guidance to the IRS to accept a broader array of offers in compromise submitted under a new "equitable consideration" standard.

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