Subject: Home Mortgage Interest Cap
Comment: Dear Senators Mack and Breaux:
I recall the prinicple charge for the federal tax reform panel was simplification of our needlessly complex internal revenue code. Recent news that the panel is weighing a lower cap on mortgage interest and subjecting some nontaxable fringe benefits to income taxes all as an offset to the cost of repealing the alternative minimum tax comes with much dismay and little hope that our federal tax system will ever be reformed. Transition rules, caps, floors, phase-outs and the like add needless worksheets and side calculations that confuse taxpayers, create headaches, and foster non-compliance. By imposing a limit on mortgages to $350,000, once again, the middle-class and upper-middle class who live far from the lifestyles of the rich and famous get slammed again.
Phase-outs and limitations impose higher marginal rates on upper-middle income earners and have no effect on the wealthiest Americans.
The American taxpayer would be better served by elminating the home mortgage interest deduction altogether in favor of lower marginal tax rates.
I eagerly await the panel's report and recommendations and hope the interests of protecting the tax return preparation business are set aside in favor of a comprehendible tax system that will promote rather than hinder economic growth.
Adam M. Cohen, M.S. (Tax), C.P.A.