Why Do I Have To Pay Taxes?

Why Do I Have To Pay Taxes?

"Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society."

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Just the Facts:

- The United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1, states "The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States."

- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was established on July 1, 1862, by an act of Congress.

- Congress has charged the IRS with the responsibility of administering and enforcing the Internal Revenue Code and related statutes. Congress enacts the law, IRS enforces it.

- The courts have historically held there are no Constitutional or legal grounds for failure to file tax returns or failure to pay taxes.

- The term voluntary compliance means that each of us is responsible for filing a tax return when required and for determining and paying the correct amount of tax.

- Failure to file required tax returns and failure to pay taxes may result in criminal and/or civil penalties.

- All United States citizens have the right to appeal their taxes through the U.S. court system. However, you do not have the right to violate and disobey the tax laws.


Complicated arguments against the American tax system are built by stringing together unrelated ideas plucked from widely conflicting court rulings, dictionary definitions, government regulations and other sources. Some of the most popular arguments include:

Constitutional Argument - Filing a Form 1040 violates the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination or the Fourth Amendment right to privacy.

The Truth: The courts have consistently held that disclosure of the type of routine financial information required on a tax return does not incriminate an individual or violate the right to privacy

Sixteenth Amendment Argument - The Constitutional Amendment establishing the basis for income tax was never properly ratified.

The Truth: The Sixteenth Amendment was ratified on February 3, 1913, and it states "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

Religious Arguments - Use the Freedom of Religion clause of the First Amendment by taking a vow of poverty or fraudulently claiming charitable contributions of 50% or more of your adjusted gross income.

The Truth: Taking a purported vow of poverty or claiming fraudulent contributions to filter your money through a church is not legal. Fraudulent religious organizations use funds for personal expenses.

Internal Revenue Code Arguments - (1) There is no Internal Revenue Code that imposes taxes; (2) only "individuals" are required to pay taxes; or (3) IRS can only assess taxes against people who file returns.

The Truth: The tax law is found in Title 26 of the United States Code. Section 6012 of the Code makes clear that only people whose income falls below a certain level do not have to file returns. Section 6201 of the Code states that the Secretary of the Treasury is required to make assessments "of all taxes imposed by this title [Title 26]."

Forming a Trust Argument: - Forming a business trust to hold your income and assets will avoid taxes. A family estate trust will allow you to reduce or eliminate your tax liability.

The Truth: Establishing a trust, foreign or domestic, for the sole purpose of hiding your income and assets from taxation is illegal and will not absolve you of your tax liability.

How are your tax dollars used to benefit the citizens of the United States? Which of these services have you or your family used lately or will you use in the future? These pie charts show the relative sizes of the major categories of Federal income and outlays for fiscal year 1996:

IRS Issues Warning

The IRS is will:

(1) Assist taxpayers who have been misled to correct their filing status.

(2) Vigorously pursue prosecution and prison sentences for individuals who violate the tax laws.


If you have been duped by following bad tax advice, call IRS for help in correcting your tax return.

If you suspect tax fraud by an individual or group, call the IRS at 1-800-829-0433.

If you have questions about the legality of the American Tax System, call the IRS, your Congressperson or a professional tax preparer.

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