Chairman: 'Sunset' the Tax Code by 2020 if Tax Reform Not Passed

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) presides over a markup session on March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A group of Republican lawmakers have set a deadline for elimination of the tax code as a way to encourage members of Congress to pass tax reform.

The proposed Tax Code Termination Act would abolish the tax code on Jan. 1, 2020.


During a news conference on Capitol Hill, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, cited a conversation he had with a young man who made $25,000 in 2015 and needed to hire a tax preparer at $300 to properly file his returns.

Price said Congress must “sunset” the current tax code, totaling more than 70,000 pages, since it is too complicated for anyone to understand.

“This doesn’t make any sense at all and everybody knows it so what we need, as has been mentioned, is a deadline. Congress works a whole lot better on a deadline, when we’ve got a date certain where something has to happen and that’s why H.R. 27 is so incredibly important,” he said.

Price personally supports the Fair Tax Act of 2015 as a replacement for the current tax system but remains open to other options.

“I believe we should scrap the income tax altogether but I’m ready, willing, able and comfortable with moving forward with whatever the plan would be as long as we do so in a deliberative way,” he said. “Whatever that outcome would be, as somebody has said, it cannot be worse than where we are at now.”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, is a sponsor of the bill. PJM asked him about the IRS commissioner telling Congress a flat tax would result in substantial savings in the IRS budget.


“I’m very interested in a flat tax but I’m also very interested in consumption-based taxes as proposed by some of our members,” he said.

“This bill is very carefully neutral because we have a co-sponsor of the legislation who supports a flat tax and we have co-sponsors of the legislation who support things like the fair tax. This simply sets the stage by having the Congress vote to sunset the current tax code and that allows for a great debate on what it should be replaced with.”

“Sunset The Tax Code” is a project of the nonprofit organization Let Freedom Ring. Americans for Tax Reform as well as American Business Defense Council and Tea Party Patriots have partnered with the organization to advocate for passage of H.R. 27.


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