We can all be grateful, we suppose, that some-where along the line Congress had the decency to quietly drop the word simplification from the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Had it not done so, it's likely that millions of taxpayers and professional tax preparers who are now starting to look into the new law as it applies to 1987 income would find themselves rolling on the floor in uncontrollable laughter. Either that or the nation's health-care services would be forced to cope with an epidemic of apoplexy. For the consensus of tax professionals is that the new Form 1040 and the regulations that stand behind it, far from being simplified, are in fact stupefyingly difficult. In the words of one tax-course teacher, "It's the most confusing thing I've ever seen."
Don't blame the Internal Revenue Service. It only enforces the law that Congress writes. The reformed tax code, as it finally emerged, turned out to be considerably longer than the canon that it replaced, and for a lot of taxpayers it will prove to be considerably more complex to apply. This doesn't mean that when all the numbers have been crunched and the bottom line stands revealed the new code won't prove beneficial--i.e., money-saving--for many Americans. But pretty clearly getting there won't be half the fun. It's a safe bet that whoever said that it's the journey and not the destination that counts wasn't thinking of Form 1040.