Recently by Simon Black: Guess What They're NOT Cutting in the FiscalCliff…
Reporting from: Santiago, Chile
Tax policy really tells you a lot about a government what politicians values and priorities are. People can SAY anything, but in a way, tax policy is putting their money where their mouths are.
For example, politicians like to talk about technology, efficiency and transparency. But just take a look at the tax code to see where they really stand. Estonias Taxation Act of 2002, which form the preponderance of that countrys tax code, is 43,370 words.
In Canada, the tax code is close to 1 million words. And in the US, the tax code is so daunting that simply the INSTRUCTIONS for form 1040 shatter the record books at 178,096 words over four times the entirety of Estonias tax code.
US tax code is so massive, in fact, that the Government Printing Office charges $1,028 just to print a copy of it!
And for most taxpayers, its still virtually impossible to file online. Its 2012 already, yet taxpayers in most advanced western nations still have to carry around reams of paper as if were still using the telegraph.
Then there are the rates themselves. In places like France, Belgium, and Germany where the government confiscates the majority of what people earn, the message those governments are sending is quite clear: citizens are nothing more than dairy cows for the government to milk.
As I wrote yesterday, tax rates across the board in the United States are set to increase dramatically in 2013. For example, if you happen to kick the bucket on or before December 31st, the government will charge a 35% tax on the value of your estate that exceeds $5 million.