Americans For Fair Taxation
Americans For Fair Taxation (AFFT), also known as FairTax.org, is a U.S. political advocacy group based in Clearwater, Florida that is dedicated to fundamental tax code replacement. It is made up of volunteers who are working to get the Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25/S. 122) enacted in the United States – a plan to replace all federal payroll and income taxes (both corporate and personal) with a national retail sales tax and monthly tax "prebate" to households of citizens and legal resident aliens.
|Steven L. Hayes|
The organization claims it is the largest, single-issue grassroots taxpayers union in the United States, with over 800,000 supporters. The organization states that it subscribes to the ideals of simplicity, fairness, and freedom which they believe are embodied in the FairTax.
AFFT was founded in 1994 by three Houston businessmen, Jack Trotter, Bob McNair, and Leo Linbeck, Jr., who each pledged $1.5 million as seed money to hire tax experts to identify what they perceived as faults with the current tax system, to determine what American citizens would like to see in tax reform, and then to design the best system of taxation. The three went on to raise an additional $17 million to fund focus groups with citizens around the country and tax policy studies.
Some of the experts funded include:
- Professors David Burton and Dan Mastromarco, University of Maryland and The Argus Group
- Laurence Kotlikoff, Boston University
- Stephen Moore, The Cato Institute
- Professor Dale Jorgenson, Harvard University
- Bill Beach (economist), the Heritage Foundation
- Jim Poterba, The National Bureau of Economic Research
- Professor George Zodrow, Rice University and the Baker Institute for Public Policy
- Professor Joseph Kahn, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Some have criticized Americans For Fair Taxation for the way that they present the FairTax plan. The most common critique is the presented FairTax rate of a 23% sales tax on the total transaction value of new retail goods and services purchases; consumers pay to the government 23 cents of every dollar spent (sometimes called tax inclusive). However, American sales taxes have historically been expressed as a percentage of the original sale price (sometimes called tax exclusive), this gives a 30% FairTax rate; items priced at $100 pre-tax cost $130 with the tax added. The use of the tax inclusive number in presenting the rate has been criticized as deceptive and by some as a "lie". However, AFFT argues that the 23% number represents a better comparison to income tax rates. Taxpayers in a 25% income tax bracket pay $25 in federal income taxes out of every $100 they earn. With the 23% FairTax, taxpayers would pay $23 in taxes out of every $100 they spend. This is also how the legislation is written – as an inclusive tax.
In 2007 Bruce Bartlett wrote that FairTax was originally devised by the Church of Scientology in the early 1990s as a way to get rid of the Internal Revenue Service. Representative John Linder told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Bartlett confused the FairTax movement with the Scientology-affiliated Citizens for an Alternative Tax System. Leo Linbeck, AFFT Chairman and CEO, stated "As a founder of Americans For Fair Taxation, I can state categorically, however, that Scientology played no role in the founding, research or crafting of the legislation giving expression to the FairTax."
- FairTax; Executive Leadership
- Linbeck, Jr., Leo (2005-04-29). "Submission of Americans For Fair Taxation on the FairTax Comprehensive Tax Reform Proposal". The President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. Archived from the original on 10 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
- Hemingway, Mark (2009-09-24). "Comes the FairTax". National Review Online. Archived from the original on 2008-02-02. Retrieved 2007-09-27.
- Ose, Al (2002). America's Best Kept Secret Fairtax: Give Yourself a 25% Raise (Paperback ed.). Authorhouse. ISBN 1-4033-9189-0.
- Regnier, Pat (2005-09-07). "Just how fair is the FairTax?". Money Magazine. Archived from the original on 20 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-20.
- Boortz, Neal; Linder, John (2006). The Fair Tax Book (Paperback ed.). Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-087549-6.
- Vance, Laurence (2005-12-12). "There is No Such Thing as a Fair Tax". Ludwig von Mises Institute. Archived from the original on 19 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-20.
- Linder, John (2007-01-04). "H.R. 25: Fair Tax Act of 2007". govtrack.us. Retrieved 2006-01-16.
- Bartlett, Bruce (2007-08-26). "Fair Tax, Flawed Tax". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- Galloway, Jim (2007-08-28). "On John Linder and Scientology". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- Linbeck, Leo (2007-08-29). "Be Fair to FairTax – Throw the Red Herrings Back in the Water". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-02.