Most Americans agree that our tax code needs revision and simplification.

 

We should not require extensive help to file taxes.

Both the House and the Senate are now considering tax bills, resulting in opportunities to address the needs of average Americans.

The goals should be to:

• Simplify the code.

• Provide tax relief for middle class Americans.

• Avoid increasing the deficit (something that would be fiscally irresponsible).

Unfortunately, the bills under consideration do not do any of these things.

First and foremost, most of the proposed tax relief in these bills will only benefit wealthy Americans.

And not the middle class.

MISLEADING DISCUSSION

Eliminating the estate tax will benefit only families with estates larger than $10 million — not the middle class.

Eliminating deductions for mortgage interest, medical expenses and state, local and property taxes hurt the middle class — as does lowering the cap on tax-free contributions to IRAs and 401(k)s.

All of the proposed bills will result in massive deficit increases.

Unfortunately, the discussion on reducing corporate taxes has been very misleading.

While the nominal corporate tax rate of 35 percent is high, corporations use many loopholes to cut the effective tax rate in half.

The effective corporate tax rate mimics that of other countries, and corporate tax revenue has declined with time.

The nominal tax rate is similar to the sticker price on a car.

No one pays it.

Reducing the nominal tax rate without closing loopholes will result in an absurdly low effective rate that will only increase the deficit.

We need a bipartisan effort to revise the tax code to help middle class Americans, not just the very wealthy.

Our senators and representatives should work together to create a simpler, fairer code.

John Findlay, Fernandina Beach