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How Big is the Tax Code?

Article by Rich Kruithoff

Photography by Courtesy of Rich Kruithoff

Depending on how you research, the elusive number of pages in the tax code can vary. The reason is it depends on what you're looking for.   

There are 2,652 pages, or 9,000 pages, or 70,00 pages. Quite a disparity.   

The literal statutes Congress has passed (title 26 of the US code), is sold in two volumes. Book one is 1,404 pages and Book 2 is 1,248 pages for a total of 2,652 pages. But this really doesn't do you much good because it is basic policy set down by Congress. The rules for implementation, however, are written by the IRS and that is a completely different kettle of fish.

If you include the congressional statutes and all the implementation rules are written by the IRS, you end up with a much different number. The National Taxpayer Advocate did an analysis and counted over 4 million words equating into about 9,000 pages. A vast “improvement” in explaining the tax code but we’re not quite there yet.

The IRS can spit out regulations without even batting an eye, but many of those implementations end up being challenged in court. In addition, tax attorneys get paid a great deal of money to push the limits of those regulations to find new ways to avoid taxes. The real tax code is determined in the Tax Court. Most court decisions are made based on previous court decisions. The Commerce Clearing House publishes the Standard Federal Tax Reporter and when you include all legal opinions, notations, and court cases, this compilation exceeds 70,000 pages.

So how does the average small business owner, CPA or just a person seeking to find new ways to lower their tax bill dive into this ocean of tax policy, interpretation and case law and come up with a coherent tax strategy. A small business owner is too busy running his company, taking care of employees, worrying about payroll, looking for new clients, and simply managing the endless hours required to run a small business.

CPAs are already working 120 hours per week during tax season and then handling all the challenges of their clients like PPP enrollment, payroll taxes, client audit, and also running their own firm. Asking them to dive into the tax code to devise new tax strategies is just simply something they do not have time for. In addition, the clients who needs high level tax planning are a small percentage of their total practice and so it is impractical to spend that much time on research.

And that is where we come in. At Pro Advisors Group we have spent countless hours delving into the tax code, devising tax strategies, consulting with tax attorneys and other advisors to offer three unique tax strategies that have proven to be powerful as well as cost effective.

We've done all the heavy lifting. Give us a call at (616) 836-5366 to see what we can do for your client who is demanding more tax relief.

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