74,608 pages, 2.4 million words.
That is the present size of Title 26 of the U.S. Code, i.e. the “Internal Revenue Code.” One would think this would be nearly impossible for an enterprise wielding an army of tax experts to absorb, let alone the average taxpayer. However, it doesn’t stop there.
The IRS has added an additional 7.7 million words of tax regulations designed to clarify what the original 2.4 million words mean. You can’t make this stuff up. Add 60,000 pages of tax-related case law essential to accountants and tax lawyers, and the burden is revealed.
More than 10 million words with a hidden annual compliance cost of up to $1 trillion. This is what Title 26 of the U.S. code and the Federal Register is estimated to cost the United States economy each year.
To put this into perspective, the Encyclopedia Britannica — 32 volumes that contain the general knowledge of man — is 44 million words in length. This means that in order to understand the federal tax code and its supplementary regulations in their entirety, one would have to absorb highly complex tax language that is nearly one quarter the length of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.