Center for Federal Tax Policy

Individual Tax Compliance and Complexity

The full cost of a tax system is more than simply the amount of tax paid. It also includes the cost of tax planning and paperwork. Economists call these “tax compliance” costs, and the IRS estimates Americans spend 6.6 billion hours per year filling out tax forms—including 1.6 billion hours on the 1040 form alone.


Featured Research

Improving the Federal Tax System for Gig Economy Participants

October 18, 2019

A Preliminary Look at 2018 Tax Data

July 19, 2019

The First Filing Season under the TCJA

April 15, 2019

Policymakers Should Learn from Tax Complexity in Brazil and the United States

April 5, 2019

What the U.S. Can Learn from the Adoption (and Repeal) of Wealth Taxes in the OECD

January 30, 2019

Details of the “Big Six” Tax Framework

September 27, 2017


Related Articles

How Should Wealth and Work Be Treated in the Tax Code?

National Taxpayer Advocate’s Report Is a Road Map to Simpler Pandemic Relief Provisions

GAO Report Reveals Need to Simplify Next Round of Rebates

When Marriage Doesn’t Pay: Analysis and Options for Addressing Marriage and Second-Earner Penalties

Your Tax Refund Doesn’t Tell You How Much You Paid in Taxes

Two Years After Passage, Treasury Regulations for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Surpass 1,000 Pages

Closing the Tax Gap and Improving the Tax Code Are Complementary Goals

Improving the Federal Tax System for Gig Economy Participants

A Preliminary Look at 2018 Tax Data

The Tax Gap Tops $500 Billion a Year

The House Offers a Small Step Forward on Retirement Savings

The First Filing Season under the TCJA

Policymakers Should Learn from Tax Complexity in Brazil and the United States

To Remedy Tax Compliance Problems, Gig Economy Firms Need Policy Certainty

What the U.S. Can Learn from the Adoption (and Repeal) of Wealth Taxes in the OECD

Don’t Judge Your Taxes by Your Refund

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act After A Year

Millennials Filed One-Third of 2016 Tax Returns

Reviewing Different Methods of Calculating Tax Compliance Costs

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Simplified the Tax Filing Process for Millions of Households