|WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Kit Bond, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation-Treasury, has held a hearing on the fiscal year 2006 budget for the Internal Revenue Service. Bond stressed the need for critical reforms, including comprehensive reform of the tax code, improved enforcement, increasing customer service and modernization.
"Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle facing taxpayers and the IRS is the federal tax code, its regulations and other guidance, which has morphed to more than 54,000 pages - this is too complex, confusing, and costly," said Bond. "I firmly support a comprehensive reform of the tax code that is founded in simplicity and reasonableness. This alone would result in substantially reduced tax fraud by making the process simpler and the system far fairer for all taxpayers."
Almost on a daily basis Bond hears complaints from small tax practitioners and businesses about the tax code, he explained. The tax code has become unmanageable and confusing, resulting in excessive cost and administrative burdens that far exceed reasonable tax compliance. Comprehensive reform founded in simplicity and reasonableness is essential.
Bond applauded the IRS for efforts to reduce the "tax gap" - what taxes should be paid and what taxes are actually paid - through increased enforcement. He also stressed that in order for full and fair compliance with tax laws, quality customer service to assist tax payers, particularly low-income tax payers, is key.
The ongoing efforts of the IRS to modernize the computer systems, known as the Business Systems Modernization (BSM), is another area of importance, said Bond. The success of this system is critical to tax collections and continuing modernization of the IRS. However, the system is behind schedule, over cost and delivering less functionality than originally planned. Bond told the IRS that clear requirements and benchmarks for BSM must be established
Bond heard testimony from Mark W. Everson, Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Department of Treasury at the April 7, 2005 hearing.