Time for the IRS to speed up

Wait until next year is a common refrain among sports fans whose teams are not doing well. It should not be something you hear from Congress.

Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have approved tax relief bills. All that remains is for the two chambers to reconcile their versions and finalize a measure. That should occur within a few days, allowing President Donald Trump to sign the bill into law before Christmas.

But, while the new law will go into effect Jan. 1, its changes in tax code will not affect income tax returns we file next year.

Why? Why can’t tax relief kick in immediately?

An enormous amount of changes must be made, the Internal Revenue Service bureaucrats will insist. It just isn’t possible to make wholesale amendments to tax rules before Americans start filing their returns early next year.

Nonsense. It ought to be possible to re-program the IRS’s computers within a few weeks. If that cannot be done, Congress ought to be asking why.

If the bureaucrats are told to buckle down and get it done, the task may well be achievable.

If their customary excuses and foot-dragging are accepted, it of course cannot happen.

In reconciling their bills, House and Senate negotiators should make one change: Tax cut provisions should kick in for this year’s returns. Haven’t we waited long enough already?