WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama promised Americans his administration would rewrite the "monstrous" U.S. tax code as millions faced an annual deadline on Wednesday for filing federal income tax returns.
Obama used Tax Day, a source of dread and frustration due to the welter of confusing paperwork required, to underscore his efforts to cut taxes for many Americans in the midst of the worst economic crisis in decades.
"We know that tax relief must be joined with fiscal discipline," Obama told reporters as he met several families at the White House.
He also reiterated a pledge to "stop giving tax breaks to companies that stash profits or ship jobs overseas so that we can invest in job creation at home."
Obama is pushing a record $3.5 trillion federal budget plan that Republicans and some Democrats say is loaded with too much spending. He defends it as vital to boosting the recession-battered economy.
Since taking office on January 20, Obama has also promised sweeping reform of the tax code. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker is leading a panel that will study options and report back by the end of the year.
Seeking to tap into public exasperation with the tax system, Obama said: "We need to simplify a monstrous tax code that is far too complicated for most Americans to understand, but just complicated enough for the insiders who know how to work the system."
"It will take time to undo the damage of years of carve-outs and loopholes. But I want every American to know that we will rewrite the tax code so that it puts your interests over any special interest. And we will make it quicker, easier and less expensive for you to file a return, so that April 15 is not a date that is approached with dread each year," he said.
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