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THE RONALD PRESS COMPANY .
The Federal Revenue Act of 1924, reluctantly and pessimistically approved by the President on the 2nd of June, 1924, is the sixth law in less than eleven years. In some respects it is an improvement over the 1921 law. But the 1921 law was perhaps the most unscientific of the whole series. I reiterate what I have said many times before, viz., any law which attempts to cover all financial transactions in detail is defective and unfair. Defective because, in attempting to say what must be done in given cases, legislators ignore the obvious fact that financial transactions may be carried out in many ways and when one way becomes taxable other ways are invented; unfair because those who are confronted by a verbose tax statute, which they cannot understand; and who are not wise enough to seek expert advice, unnecessarily pay greater taxes than others similarly situated. Any tax law is bad which does not bear on all alike.
It is not, and never will be, illegal to adjust one's affairs to an existing tax law. By doing old things in a new way it is easy, under a complicated law, to refrain from paying taxes. Nor is there any moral turpitude involved in not paying taxes. Just as long as we continue the present system of trying to operate under more than 100 pages of text there will be ample opportunity to one taxpayer to pay less than another, even though both receive the same income.
With the assistance of many collaborators (to whom I refer specifically later on) I have analyzed the 1924 law as I did all of the prior laws, and have commented on the language and purpose of each section, reducing the requirements of the law and the rights of taxpayers to the English language whenever possible. Some of my comments may not be as dignified and impersonal as they should be, but I am a taxpayer myself and in trying to make the law and procedure intelligible to others I am merely doing a job which must be done by someone. I have reviewed all court decisions, Treasury regulations and rulings published during the year. My publishers have used smaller type and put more words on a page and by eliminating some of the comments on prior laws we have staggered along without running over 2,000 pages as seemed inevitable at one time.
Recently there came into my possession a little “Political Arith