April 15 is the date on which most Americans file personal
income tax returns. The White House and both parties in Congress
will use the week of April 15 to spotlight pro-taxpayer
initiatives. But with Republicans controlling the executive and
legislative branches, it is their tax proposals that establish
debate parameters. However, such proposals ultimately must generate
bipartisan congressional support to become law.
On Jan. 7, President Bush announced the establishment of a
bipartisan panel to recommend options to reform the tax code. The
panel's charge is to make the tax code simpler, fairer and more
pro-growth to benefit all taxpayers. Former Sens. Connie Mack
(R-Fla.) and John Breaux (D-La.) are chairman and vice-chairman,
respectively, of the President's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform. The
panel will submit to the secretary of the treasury a report
containing revenue-neutral policy options for reforming the federal
Internal Revenue Code no later than July 31.
Early indications suggest the panel is more interested in
incremental changes to the current system rather than sweeping
changes to replace it.
For example, the panel appears to be much more interested in a
value-added tax, which is a consumption tax, rather than a flat tax
that would do away with all deductions and establish one...
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