You Don't Have to Pay Taxes… Or Do You?

I was on a forum, and there it was. A poster declaring that you don’t have to pay taxes, that taxes are illegal, just watch this video and it will explain everything. I didn’t watch the video, I’ve seen too many of them I know how it goes. There will be a discussion of how the 16th amendment was never properly ratified, or a new definition of Income, maybe an explanation of how to file a Zero income tax return. Probably followed by an appeal to send just $49.95 for your un-tax kit.

So I replied to the forum poster that the IRS has probably heard his argument before, and dismissed it. Also, like it or not, they are the ones making the rules. I told him the best way to lower your tax burden was to either find a good tax professional who knew the tax law, or buy yourself a good tax book (like the JK Lasser book) and learn how to work within the laws to create the lowest legal tax liability. The other alternative is to not make much money. A married couple with 2 children who’s income is from earnings can make over $30,000 without owing federal income taxes.

He didn’t like my response. And gave the typical response of tax protesters everywhere. He said that if everyone knew they didn’t need to pay taxes I’d be out of a job. He claimed I probably knew that people didn’t have to pay taxes, but I wouldn’t tell them because I was working with the IRS to keep everyone “slaves to the system”.

That argument always makes me laugh. If I knew a legal way for people to avoid taxes I’d be the most popular tax adviser in the country. I’ve seen how much money people will pay for a tax scam, I can only imagine what they would pay for the real deal.

So before you hand over your money to “crack the code” or “un-tax” yourself, do me a favor. First read the IRS’s free PDF on the most popular tax scams. Then check out the Quatloos site for more information on scams, and the scammers that run them. Finally, take a look at for some interesting commentary on the major tax protester arguments.

Now, I’d love to hear your tax story. Have you tried one of these “systems”? What did it cost? Have you heard from the IRS?

2 thoughts on “You Don't Have to Pay Taxes… Or Do You?”

  1. Can you point me to documentation that clearly states that I have to file a form 1040? I have looked through 6011(a) and 6012(a) and I haven’t found this. If you would, please cite to me the line.

    I would also point your attention to a radio show in aug2007 where a u.s. citizen asks for the tax code which requires him to file an income tax and again and again, the court will not answer his basic question.

    Can you answer this question for me? All I want is to see the documentation. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask for.

  2. Here is the code section, straight from the IRS.
    § 1.6011–1 General requirement of return,
    statement, or list.
    (a) General rule. Every person subject
    to any tax, or required to collect any
    tax, under Subtitle A of the Code, shall
    make such returns or statements as
    are required by the regulations in this
    chapter. The return or statement shall
    include therein the information required
    by the applicable regulations or
    (b) Use of prescribed forms. Copies of
    the prescribed return forms will so far
    as possible be furnished taxpayers by
    district directors. A taxpayer will not
    be excused from making a return, however,
    by the fact that no return form
    has been furnished to him. Taxpayers
    not supplied with the proper forms
    should make application therefor to
    the district director in ample time to
    have their returns prepared, verified,
    and filed on or before the due date with
    the internal revenue office where such
    returns are required to be filed. Each
    taxpayer should carefully prepare his
    return and set forth fully and clearly
    the information required to be included
    therein. Returns which have not been
    so prepared will not be accepted as
    meeting the requirements of the Code.
    In the absence of a prescribed form, a
    statement made by a taxpayer disclosing
    his gross income and the deductions
    therefrom may be accepted as a
    tentative return, and, if filed within
    the prescribed time, the statement so
    made will relieve the taxpayer from liability
    for the addition to tax imposed
    for the delinquent filing of the return,
    provided that without unnecessary
    delay such a tentative return is supplemented
    by a return made on the proper
    (c) Tax withheld on nonresident aliens
    and foreign corporations. For requirements
    respecting the return of the tax
    required to be withheld under chapter 3
    of the Code on nonresident aliens and
    foreign corporations and tax-free covenant
    bonds, see § 1.1461–2.
    [T.D. 6500, 25 FR 12108, Nov. 26, 1960, as
    amended by T.D. 6922, 32 FR 8713, June 17,
    § 1.6011–2 Returns,

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