I'll admit it: I ran into a tax problem today that really threw me for a loop. I just spent the last hour trying to figure out why my tax software was insisting that one of my clients didn't owe as much in taxes as I thought they would. And I drilled down, looking through the tax worksheets, and then worked them out manually. And then I got it: Capital Gains are taxed at a much lower rate than other forms of income and this guy sold a bunch of assets and therefore had a ton of Capital Gains. Yet, when looking at his Taxable Income, I was thinking of the standard tax rate; not the Capital Gains rate.
And so, yeah, sure, the tax code can be complicated, even for us professionals. But the problem here isn't that the IRS is evil, but because tax rules are written by politicians and politicians have different interests in mind than making things logical. Plus, it's written with a lawyer-mentality, to make sure people can't abuse the system by intentionally misinterpreting the rules. And the people who complain the most about the complexity of our tax code are the very reason why they're so complex: Because these bozos are looking for any loophole they can find, and then get frustrated when they can't find any that help them.
And in the end: The tax software knew what to do, so it really wasn't complicated. While I'll never accept the software's judgment when I don't understand what it's doing; I've found that most discrepencies are human error. And while I've had a few exceptions when the software wasn't capable of handling a specific incident, forcing me to fight with it to figure out how to get something entered; those are always the rare events that software developers couldn't have anticipated. Anyone who runs into these sort of problems should hire a professional anyway, while most people don't need one.
And of course, that's why taxes are so complicated. As with most things in life, 5% of people create 95% of the work. For as much as people rant against the size of the tax code, most of it won't ever apply to these people. But our economy is complex enough that we need all those rules anyway. Thank god for the tax software.