Our Broken Tax Code is a Women's Issue, Too. Here's How We Can Fix It

Today, I see our tax code through my vantage point in Congress on the House Ways and Means Committee—the legislative body tasked with writing our federal tax laws. I hear testimony from policy experts and government officials. I speak with families and businesses that are impacted by our faulty tax system and are advocating for change, and I've traveled overseas to meet with America's trading partners and grow my understanding of international tax law.

But before I came to Congress, I got an up-close look at the tax code through the other side of the lens as a working mom. I ran my own daycare, I headed up the fundraising and philanthropic efforts for our local hospital, and I partnered with my husband to start a family business that now offers good paying jobs to over 1,000 employees in our local community—all while trying our best not to run afoul of a footnote or appendix in the now-77,000 page tax code.


My story isn't unique. Today, women are entrepreneurs, executives, and oftentimes the CFOs of their own homes. Increasingly, they hold the keys to the family checkbook, they pay the bills when they arrive in the mail, and yes—they pore over their annual tax returns with the same sense of frustration as everyone else.

When politicians talk in Washington talk about "women's issues," I'm always quick to remind them that our confusing, complex, and costly tax code is among them.

Our corporate tax rate, the highest in the industrialized world, acutely impacts women through the lost jobs that it sends overseas. Meanwhile, the sheer length of the tax code means women and families must spend an average of 13 hours just to complete their annual returns. That is why I support House Republicans' "Better Way" for tax reform.

As part of my work on the House Ways and Means Committee, I've joined with my colleagues for more than five years now on solutions to retool our tax code in a way that helps women and families. Now, House Republicans have put pen to paper and set forth a comprehensive proposal that casts a vision for what we can do with a willing partner in the White House.

Our plan starts with simplifying the tax code to three tax brackets, and lowering the top individual income tax rate down to 33 percent. It also calls for simplifying taxes for families by creating a larger standard deduction and a larger child and dependent tax credit.

As a result, the average family would be able to complete their taxes on a postcard-sized form like this one—no expensive software or professional tax preparer required.

Our blueprint continues by repealing the death tax (formally called the estate tax), which many consider a form of double taxation that literally punishes taxpayers from beyond the grave by slapping a tax on family businesses and farms that parents leave behind to loved ones upon their death.

This plan for tax reform also respects the work of our job creators by offering the lowest tax rate since before World War II for small businesses operating as sole proprietorships or pass-through entities—designations that apply to 95 percent of businesses today, according to the Tax Foundation think tank. This should come as good news to the more than 9 million women-owned businesses throughout the United States.

Finally, our plan cleans house at the IRS; installing a "small claims court" that is independent of the agency and allows disputes to be resolved quickly and impartially. The blueprint also calls for installing a new IRS commissioner, subject to term limits, who will be tasked with ensuring fairness for all under our tax code and keeping partisan politics out of the IRS.

The demands of daily life for mothers and working women today are more than enough without Washington adding burdens of its own through our broken tax code. With this proposal, women and families can keep more money in their pocket and more time on their hands. That is truly a Better Way for tax reform.

Learn more at www.better.gop.

Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee's 6th Congressional District. She serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and Budget Committee.

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