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Tax Policy: Differences in Definitions and Rules in the Tax Code
James R. McTigue, Jr. (au)
The federal tax system contains complex rules and multiple definitions for the same or similar terms. These rules and definitions may be necessary to target benefits to specific groups of taxpayers, among other reasons. For ex., most families with children receive at least two and frequently three or more child-related tax benefits. These benefits could be targeting lower income working families or families with child-care or adoption expenses. However, different rules and definitions can also impose a wide range of recordkeeping, planning, computational, and filing requirements upon individual taxpayers. Complying with these requirements costs taxpayers time and money. Also, administering complex tax rules can strain the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) ability to serve taxpayers because of the resources needed to develop guidance, clarify instructions, or address misreporting. This report identifies instances in the federal tax code where the same or similar term is defined differently or when taxpayers are subject to different rules under various tax provisions, particularly those aimed at similar objectives. This is a print on demand report.
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