Emory Law Journal


In recent years, federal government agencies have increasingly attempted to use plain language in written communications with the public. In the tax context, rather than achieving simplicity, which would involve reform of the underlying law, the use of plain language to describe complex legal rules and regulations often yields ¿simplexity.¿ As we define it, simplexity occurs when the government presents clear and simple explanations of the law without highlighting its underlying complexity or reducing this complexity through formal legal changes. Having introduced the concept of simplexity to the legal literature, we show how the IRS¿s use of simplexity poses a trade-off between representing the tax law accurately and making it understandable to the public. We offer approaches for preserving some of the benefits of simplexity while also responding to some of its drawbacks. We also forecast the likely emergence of simplexity in potential future tax compliance measures.