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Cincinnati Enquirer: Opinion: Filing taxes will be much easier in the future

Cincinnati Enquirer: Opinion: Filing taxes will be much easier in the future

By: Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer
April 18, 2018 

As this year’s tax season comes to an end, millions of Americans are completing the annual headache that trying to navigate our overly complex tax code has become. But, here’s the good news – this is the last year that most American families will have to wrestle with this monstrosity.

The tax reform legislation that we passed at the end of last year isn’t simply a tax cut; it’s a fundamental transformation of the tax code. Our first goal was to make it far easier for the American people to file their taxes.

Currently, the tax code is more than 70,000 pages of legal gobbledygook, which even tax experts struggle to comprehend. Several years ago, Money Magazine gave 50 different tax experts a set of facts and asked them to determine the taxes a hypothetical family would owe, and they got 50 different answers. And they were all wrong.

So, it’s not surprising that, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Tax Foundation, every year, Americans spend 8.9 billion hours preparing their taxes, which adds up to $409 billion in lost productivity. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but the convoluted system we’ve had up until now only adds to the burden. All that changes next year. 

To dramatically reduce the complexity of the tax code, our legislation eliminates many special interest loopholes, while retaining tax incentives for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions, as well as those for work, higher education, and retirement security.

This, in turn, enabled us to double the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples, meaning that you won’t be taxed on this income. It’s estimated that this combination will lead to 9 out of every 10 taxpayers electing the standard deduction (as opposed to itemizing their deductions), dramatically simplifying the process of filing taxes for the vast majority of Americans. 


Eliminating many of the loopholes that clutter the tax code also allowed us to achieve our second goal – reducing the tax burden on most Americans. Our legislation significantly lowers tax rates for most taxpayers, particularly for middle-class families. It also doubles the child tax credit and makes it available to more people, thereby allowing hardworking families to keep more of what they earn.

Our third goal was to help boost the economy, which the legislation achieves by making American businesses – small, medium, and large – more competitive in the world marketplace. Because the U.S. currently has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, our legislation reduces corporate taxes by nearly 40 percent – down to 21 percent, thus making them more competitive on the world scene. Further, small business taxes will be reduced to their lowest levels since before World War II. This will be a significant benefit to the more than 94,000 taxpayers in Greater Cincinnati who include small business income on their taxes.

What’s all of this mean for families and businesses here in Cincinnati? Well, it’s estimated that the typical family of four will see their tax bill reduced by approximately $2,000 a year. On the business side, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that our tax reform legislation will lead to the creation of nearly 1 million new jobs, including almost 40,000 right here in Ohio.

Additionally, Fifth Third Bank, Western & Southern Financial, the Cintas Corporation, First Financial Bancorp, the Sheffer Corporation and many others in our area announced they’d be sharing their tax savings with employees in the form of either bonuses or increased wages. That’s more money to make ends meet, pay off bills, go on vacation, or save for the future.

Long story short, millions of Americans will find filing their taxes next year the easiest it’s been in decades … and they’ll be keeping more of their hard-earned money to boot. And that’s something we should all be able to celebrate.

Steve Chabot represents Ohio’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

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