If income taxes were suddenly abolished, I would be out of a job. Since I like working for Bourke Accounting, and hate job interviews, that would be hard for me. Also, we’d all notice quite a change in our society if taxes were no longer a thing: sure, we’d have more money in our pockets, but no one to call if a stranger, emerging from a dark alley, decided to relieve us of that money.
We understand that taxes are a necessary evil that we simply have to live with. Well, most of us understand that. There are, however, people who refuse to accept the inevitability of our American taxation system. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Tax Protester.
First off, a tax protester should not be confused with a tax resister. A tax resister is someone who refuses to pay taxes because s/he disagrees with something the American government is doing. For example, before women won the right to vote, many Suffrage organizations suggested that, as a form of passive resistance, taxes not be paid. These thoughts were later reflected during the Vietnam war when many protestors, as “conscientious objectors,” decided that they did not want to fund a war that they felt was immoral (En.Wikipedia.org).
Tax protesters are a little different. Tax protesters refuse to pay taxes, “claiming that the tax laws are unconstitutional or otherwise invalid” (En.Wikipedia.org). Naturally, there are some tax protesters who believe that the government “covers up the ‘truth’ about the income tax in order to continue oppressing the people and taking their money” (ADL.org), but we’re just going to slide right past that one.
One argument that tax protesters use is that “money you receive for working isn’t technically income [but] an equal exchange of your labor for fair market wages” (USAToday.com). Because this is a “trade,” there is no “’gain’ to be taxed” (USAToday.com). They concede that taxes should be paid if one sold a lot of stocks or won the lottery, but W2 earnings should be left out of every taxation equation.
Another tax protester rationalization compares paying taxes to slavery. The belief suggests that, since slavery is illegal, so are taxes. Kentucky’s own Rand Paul pontificated that “if we tax you at 50%, you are half-slave, half-free” (USAToday.com). The Internal Revenue Service has never felt this to be a compelling debate issue.
Then there are the folks who have decided that a tax bill doesn’t pertain to an individual, since “IRS correspondence is written in all capital letters” (TheDailyBeast.com). Because of this, protesters feel that a tax bill is really addressed “to a legal entity which shares your name but is not you” (TheDailyBeast.com). Again, the tax courts don’t agree with this defense in the slightest.
Having the tax court disagree with a claim is one thing; however, if the IRS deems you are filing a frivolous argument, you can be fined from $5,000 to $25,000 (USAToday.com). In addition, there’s the chance that the IRS will prosecute for tax evasion – complete with prison and penalties (USAToday.com).
Perhaps I have become complacent, but it seems to me that defiantly refusing to pay taxes is rather like screaming at a cloudy sky because you wanted to go to the beach. It might make you feel better in the moment, but what is it really going to accomplish?
Bourke Accounting bookkeepers and tax preparers don’t want you to go to prison. Your Bourke Accounting pro will listen to you vent about the tax system, but as soon as you suggest some hairbrained scheme, your expert will shut you right down. Your Bourke Accounting specialist wants to keep your good name intact, as well as making sure that you never have to learn how to make a shank.
Written by Sue H.