Tax Shelters and Reform

Archive Report

Debate Over Reform Measures

Complaints of Inequity in the Tax Law

As this year's April 17 deadline for filing income tax returns draws near, many taxpayers no doubt would agree with T.S. Eliot that “April is the cruelest month.” Though most Americans have come to accept the assertion that taxes are “what we must pay for civilized society,”1 complaints about the size of the tax bite are as old as the system itself. From its inception 65 years ago, it was the intent of federal income tax law to promote a fair distribution of the benefits and burdens of taxation. But belief in the equity of the law has been challenged repeatedly by those who contend that built-in advantages, or “loopholes,” allow some persons to avoid ...

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