In horror movies, monsters grow to gigantic proportions and terrorize island nations while people run screaming in panic. The citizens of the nation watch in horror as their cities and towns are demolished under the fury of a monster that won’t stop growing.
While that might be entertaining fare for some (but not necessarily me), tax payers face a similar monster that grows and grows and grows. The IRS Income Tax Form 1040. This form is the starting form for individual federal income tax and has been published annually since 1915.
Now here’s the scary part. This form is huge and it’s growing. The chart below shows just how big it’s getting.
- In 1965, Income Tax Form 1040 was 17 pages long.
- In 1975, Income Tax Form 1040 was 39 pages long, more than double the length of the 1965 version.
- In 1985, Income Tax Form 1040 was 52 pages long.
- In 1995, Income Tax Form 1040 was 85 pages long.
- In 2005, Income Tax Form 1040 was 142 pages long.
- By 2008, Income Tax Form 1040 was 161 pages long!
That’s an average of just over 3 pages of new material every single year. By the time my great-grandchildren do taxes, Income Tax Form 1040 will be longer than my copy of Moby Dick. There are helpful instructions on how to complete a 1040 tax form but it is still too complex for most people to do themselves, as you miss many deductions that are not common knowledge.