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

Details of the “Big Six” Tax Framework

September 27, 2017

Details and Analysis of Rep. Jim Renacci’s Tax Reform Proposal

July 14, 2016

Illustrating the Earned Income Tax Credit’s Complexity

July 14, 2016

The Compliance Costs of IRS Regulations

June 15, 2016

Why Tax Complexity Still Matters

April 10, 2015

There are More Marginal Income Tax Rates than Advertised

April 2, 2015


Related Articles

Millennials Filed One-Third of 2016 Tax Returns

September 5, 2018

Reviewing Different Methods of Calculating Tax Compliance Costs

August 21, 2018

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

August 7, 2018

Taxing Patreon Contributions

June 8, 2018

IRS to Issue Guidance Clarifying Viability of SALT Deduction Cap Workarounds

May 23, 2018

New IRS Data Shows Most IRA Contributions Were Made by Middle-Class Taxpayers

April 26, 2018

Are Pre-Filled Forms the Solution to Tax Compliance Costs?

April 9, 2018

Senate Finance Retirement Savings Bill Falls Short of Offering Comprehensive Solutions

March 14, 2018

Tax Compliance Burden Could Cost America as much as 1.2 Percent of its GDP

February 21, 2018

Lower Social Security Benefits under Governor Cuomo’s Plan

February 13, 2018

More States Considering Dubious SALT Charitable Contribution Workaround

January 25, 2018

Retirement Savings Left Largely Untouched by Tax Reform

January 3, 2018

SALT Update: Property Tax Prepayments Need an Assessment

December 27, 2017

Statement on Final Passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

December 20, 2017

Who Gets a Tax Cut Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?

December 19, 2017

High-Tax States are Inconsistent on the State and Local Tax Deduction

December 12, 2017

Important Differences Between the House and Senate Tax Reform Bills Heading into Conference

December 2, 2017

How the State and Local Tax Deduction Interacts with the AMT and Pease Limitation

November 6, 2017

Details of the “Big Six” Tax Framework

September 27, 2017

Is the State and Local Tax Deduction in Place to Protect Against Double Taxation?

September 21, 2017