There has been a lot of discussion in the past few years about reforming the United States tax code. Two lawmakers had even undertaken a comprehensive reform plan, working across partisan lines to figure out how to simply the tax code and balance the budget. This was certainly a lofty goal that many experts now believe is even further out of reach, since one of those lawmakers is no longer a member of Congress.

Even though there was no big overhaul, there were some small changes last year. For the top of the tax bracket, for example, the marginal income tax rate increased from 35 percent to 39.6 percent for individuals with an income of at least $400,000 and couples filing jointly earning at least $450,000.

Capital gains taxes also increased slightly as a part of the deal to avoid a government default on sovereign debts, rising from 15 percent to 20 percent.

However, these changes do not represent a new approach to taxes or even a comprehensive set of reforms. Instead, like much of the tax code, the changes are small pieces of a larger puzzle that is the United States income tax code. This set of laws is complicated and full of exemptions and incentives that most average Georgia taxpayers do not have the time or energy to learn. Experts who dedicate their professional lives to understanding the tax code are best equipped to respond to complicated tax situations and to figure out how to navigate the tax code.

Source: New York Times, “The Tax Wilderness, Untamed,” Jonathan Weisman, Feb. 7, 2014.