The country’s top taxpayer advocate urged Congress on Wednesday to simplify the tax code, saying it is the most serious problem facing taxpayers and that individuals and businesses spend about 6.1 billion hours annually complying with tax-filing requirements.

The analysis and recommendation are included in the 2012 report to Congress by the national taxpayer advocate, the IRS’ internal watchdog.

“The existing tax code makes compliance difficult, requiring taxpayers to devote excessive time to preparing and filing their returns,” tax advocate Nina Olson wrote in the 756-page report to Congress. “And it undermines trust in the system by creating an impression that many taxpayers are not compliant, thereby reducing the incentives that honest taxpayers feel to comply.”

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