FEW THINGS are as terrifying as a letter from the IRS. The reason for this fear is justified — our tax code is so overly complex that it generally requires a professional to help average Americans in navigating the treacherous waters of the federal tax code. The reason that President Trump pushed the normal April 15th filing deadline back to July 15th is because of the COVID-19 crisis, many Americans simply could not meet with their accountants and tax preparers.

The tax code isn’t overly complex on accident — the entire point behind our tax code is to make it so complex that only the most rich and powerful are able to navigate it. Our tax code is a Byzantine maze of special interest loopholes. While the rich and the powerful are able to employ armies of accountants and lobbyists to twist the tax code to their advantage, average Americans, especially small business owners, are left wandering a regulatory minefield.

I know about the justified terror in receiving a letter from the IRS first-hand. I know how broken the system is, how stacked it is in favor of the rich and powerful, because I was once on the receiving end of an IRS action…and it’s not fun.

About a decade ago, I hired a supposedly well-respected accountant to handle my taxes. Unfortunately, despite his glowing recommendations, the income taxes that were filed on my behalf were grossly deficient. I was told, at the time, that every deduction was within the “legal and legitimate limits set forth by the IRS.” He was the professional, I was just out selling real estate so I signed the returns. Hindsight is always 20/20. Fast forward a few years and I received a letter from the IRS explaining that I was behind on my taxes and severe penalties and interest had accrued.

The review of my filings discovered that due to the wrongful actions of my accountant, I underpaid the IRS by about $70,000. With penalties and interest, and interest on the interest with more penalties added, the IRS stated I owed them over $300,000.

How did this happen? I did what I was supposed to. I hired a licensed professional. I paid the taxes he told me were owed and somehow, I am at fault? I get it, it’s my signature on the bottom of the filing. I’m the taxpayer, it is my responsibility at the end of the day. I’m the taxpayer who trusted a seasoned professional.

It took me years to finally settle the matter and make my repayments. It sounds strange saying it, but I was fortunate. Through the IRS Fresh Start Program, I was able to finally settle, and get my financial life back on track. I was able to pull myself out of that hole, many are not so lucky.

Like millions of other Americans, I quickly learned that the IRS doesn’t care if you hired an MIT mathematician or a Wall Street financial tycoon to do your accounting. If there is a mistake, they treat it like you simply decided not to pay. The system is simply too rigid and far too complex. No one deserves to go through that kind of stress and anxiety for no fault of their own.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

My solution: simplify the tax code. Let’s get rid of all of the unnecessary rules, loopholes and exceptions and have a fairer, simpler system where every American pays less and can file their taxes on something as simple as a postcard. I know that this idea will likely anger H&R Block, Turbotax and all of the Democrats that celebrate April 15th like it’s Christmas Day, but there is simply no reason that we need a 25-pound, 10,000-page tax code. Americans should not need to have an advanced tax degree to pay their taxes.

I am a strong believer in allowing taxpayers to keep more of their own money. The economy thrives when we are able to spend our money on the things that are important to us, not some bureaucrat in Washington. President Trump’s tax cuts were a great start. We should reauthorize and expand them. As part of that expansion I would propose going even further and work for a comprehensive overhaul of the entire tax codes.

New Hampshire has shown that you can cut taxes and reduce spending to balance the budget. It is time to send someone to Congress who shares those New Hampshire values. It is time to bring our hometown small-business principles down to the Swamp….and finally drain it.

Matt Mayberry of Dover is a Republican candidate in New Hampshire’s First Congressional District.

Friday, July 31, 2020
Thursday, July 30, 2020
  • Updated

GOVERNOR Chris Sununu has spent four months focusing his attention on trying to guide the state through a frightening and challenging pandemic. This struggle is by no means over, but now some of his energy must be directed to reviewing the work of the legislature.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Tuesday, July 28, 2020

WHEN the COVID-19 pandemic first struck the state this spring, the Judicial Branch acted to protect the safety of our citizens by suspending all jury trials. Following several weeks of careful planning and preparation, as well as instituting significant measures to protect the health of pros…

Monday, July 27, 2020
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Thursday, July 23, 2020

IN 2018, a local newsroom reported on allegations of misconduct against the Salem police department. This investigative reporting triggered a momentous chain of events. The town manager was empowered to investigate the department and how it handled internal investigations, resulting in a dam…

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
  • Updated

Tomorrow, a Pepto Bismol-colored bus emblazoned with the words “Women For Trump 2020” will make its way through the state of New Hampshire, led by Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law and staffed with women who have long been voices in the conservative movement.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

FOR OVER a century, camp has been a summertime staple, nowhere more so than in New Hampshire. Every year, as camps help shape the lives of over 150,000 young people, New Hampshire’s camp industry generates millions of dollars in revenue and supports countless jobs. In 2020, however, every ca…

IN THE late 1970s and early 80s, I was part of a small inner-city house church in Atlanta. At that time, as in all major cities in the country, Atlanta was experiencing “white flight” in older inner-city neighborhoods. Blacks were moving in. Whites were uncomfortable and moving out.

Monday, July 20, 2020

HAVE YOU seen the signs thanking heroes emerging during the COVID-19 pandemic? I haven’t seen one listing dental professionals, but I think they should be included. Outside of every dental office a sign should appear that says, “Heroes Work Here!”

  • Updated

WHEN I first worked for newspapers and the Associated Press in New Hampshire in the 1970s, there was an interlude when the accepted style was: “Ms. Smith (who prefers that designation)...” I’ve since told many disbelieving students about this bumpy construction. I use it to make the point th…