Plain Writing Act of 2010: Can Taxes Ever Make Sense?
by Byrne Hobart
Last week congress passed H.R. 946 into law, generally known as the known as the Plain Writing Act. What this is will hopefully do is make sure that government documents can be understood by the average person. Fewer acronyms, less jargon, more straight talk.
Great, right? Finally some governance for the people, by the people, and understood by the people. But, like many federal government laws, it has some flaws.
First, it’s ridiculous that this law even needed to be enacted. For those of us who are fans of smaller government, we want less laws (and more common sense) not more laws that legislate common sense. Of course people should be given forms that make sense to them–I just don’t think it should have gotten to the point where a law was necessary.
Second, I don’t know how much this will actually help people with their taxes. I think most people get confused by tax law and by references to other forms, other lines, different ways you can do things. Clearer directions won’t make the current way of doing things easier to understand.
Lastly, I don’t think this will get at the core problem for the government and the IRS: people just don’t want to pay their taxes. They see what the federal government does and they don’t see why they need to fund it. Putting that in plain writing won’t make taxes make more sense.
Oh well. I guess it’s about time the government caught up to etax services.