Remember a year ago when members of Congress, including Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., complained that the federal healthcare overhaul bill was rushed to a vote before even its proponents had read the whole monstrous thing?
We do, too.
And it turns out that Walden and other lawmakers had good reason to
wonder what sorts of cumbersome provisions the legislation included.
One of the most draconian of these is the so-called "1099 tax reporting" mandate.
It requires businesses, tax-exempt organizations, and federal, state
and local government to issue 1099 tax forms to all vendors with which
they do at least $600 in business during a calendar year.
To describe this expansion of the 1099 rules as burdensome is to engage in egregious understatement.
The IRS' National Taxpayer Advocate estimates the mandate, scheduled to take effect in 2012, would affect 40 million taxpayers.
Worse yet, the cost of filling out all those tax forms would be 66
percent higher for small businesses, including farms and ranches, than
for large ones, according to the federal Small Business Administration.
Fortunately, both Republicans and Democrats agree the 1099 mandate was a mistake.
So does President Obama, who has called the mandate "counterproductive."
Last month the Senate, by a vote of 81-17, passed a bill to repeal the
mandate. Last week the House followed suit by a margin of 314-112.
Among Oregon's delegation, only Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer was opposed.
We hope lawmakers can quickly reconcile the two versions and send a final bill to the president for his signature.
With the economy sputtering along, this is a singularly bad time to impose expensive new paperwork mandates