Springtime is beautiful here in Washington D.C. Too bad that instead of enjoying the nice weather, so many people are having to retreat to their basements or cramped home offices in order to meet our April 15th deadline to file our taxes. It’s clear Americans are over-taxed. The average taxpayers loses about 30 percent of his or her income to federal, state, and local taxes. That’s a greater share of income than is spent on food, clothing, and housing combined.

The tax code also robs us of much of our time. In 2009, Americans spent an estimated 3.8 billion hours complying with income tax laws. That was 200 million more hours than the year before! The cost of all this time was an estimated $110 billion.

In addition to this lost time, last year, Americans paid nearly $30 billion for help in preparing their taxes using either software programs or tax preparation professionals. That’s a little more than $200 for the average taxpayer.Two hundred dollars may not sound like much, but at a time when so many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, who can afford to waste money like this?

I also resent how politicians try to micromanage our lives through the tax code: rewarding us for some behaviors, punishing us for others. Who gave Washington politicians such power?

It’s unlikely, given our record deficits, that our elected representatives will be cutting our taxes anytime soon. But here at the Independent Women’s Forum, we are committed to fighting tax increases and raising awareness about the costs taxes impose on our society and on families.

Michelle D. Bernard is President & CEO of the Independent Women’s Forum