I turn my ear up to a 45 degree angle to hear better when someone say “the income tax is unconstitutional or illegal”. I listen to their arguments, but they never convince me on legal grounds. Further, I find it curious when intelligent people do not file tax returns and get caught. Lastly I take an interest in those who offshore their income and assets to hide money from the IRS.  I think it is a dangerous game these tax protestors play. That being said, it is worth to read about the arguments that have been raised against the 16th Amendment and taxes. But heed this warning:

Morpheus: I won’t lie to you, Neo. Every single man or woman who has stood their ground, everyone who has fought an agent (has lost) – The Matrix

0% tax rate is the best via a legal repeal of the 16th Amendment

Now, do not get me wrong, I am against the income tax in the United States, however, if you want to practice that type of civil disobedience or you are just avoiding taxes for monetary reasons, you need to be willing to pay the price. I believe the only thing a US citizen can do is keep their head down and  pay your taxes like we all do. However, with every election vote for the candidates that are for fiscal sanity and maybe even a repel of the tax laws including the 16th Amendment. Further, there are a number of legal and honest ways to keep your take bill down, but that is the subject of another post.

We could simply cut the budget 50% (many working Americans have had to do this with their own budget, why should the g-men and fat cats in Washington not have to?). Have more non punitive tariffs and excises taxes, like the first 150 years of America, which lead us to be ‘the land of opportunity and liberty’. It would be a questionable assessment to make that bold statement today. I believe it is possible to repeal the 16th Amendment through the political process.

are taxes constitutional

John Bull being approached with new taxes

  • Here is a resource that is worth reading –  Are taxes moral? –  Taxes the root of all Evil –  By Frank Chodorov

Is the income tax legal? The income tax is written in the US constitution and there are many laws written and passed by congress. The income tax is legal. However, the question about, is it right and does it agree with idea of individual property rights, the founding fathers what is good and moral in the world?  Does it help the poor and middle class live better lives? Does it help productivity and work incentives? Do taxes make American great? Does it make a civilization advance? No.

The fringe arguments against the legality of the 16th Amendment and  US income tax:

  • non ratification argument – A book called  “the Law that never was” by William Benson and Martin Beckman put forth this argument, but I do not agree with their arguments and frankly I do not think the book was well researched. Maybe I am wrong. He argues passionately that many of the 38 states that ratified the 16th Amendment did not. For example, Secretary of State Philander Knox who proclaimed the 16th Amendment ratified ignored such things as California never voted on it, or Kentucky rejected the Amendment nine in favor, twenty-two opposed. These are a few examples, William Benson cites based on his personal research. However, I do not believe it and would have to research it myself and believe his book and argument was proven in court to be not correct.
  • The fact that Ohio was not a State until 1953 argument does not hold water either since President Eisenhower retro actively sign a law allowing Ohio to be a State since 1803, even though the constitution forbids such things ex post facto. Porth v. Brodrick did not really address that issue so technically the argument is correct. However, the income tax is legal because the under common sense and practicality.
  • 16th Amendment argument against taxes – You can also read about the case of Trohimovich v. Commissioner – I think they through this guy in the clink.
  •  16th Amendment was ratified legally. You can read about other more fringe tax protestor cases like, Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co

Constitutional arguments against the income tax are stronger, but to date none have been successful challenges:

  •  religious objection to the income tax – This is about the first amendment (there is also a free speech argument). Basically if people pay homage to a state not God this is wrong and against their religion, but in 1878 Reynolds Vs. the USA cased struck down this argument. Give to Caesar what is Caesars.
  • fifth amendment argument against taxes – filing a tax return with could lead to self-incrimination (United States v. Sullivan), or it is taking without compensation (Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad).  As a follow-up up to this, the IRS really does not care too much, how you make your money as long as you pay taxes. If you are a ‘working girl’ just pay taxes on income generated. It is interested to note that in Europe this profession is non taxed and tax evaders said they were ‘professional girls’ when questioned about income sources reported but not taxed.
  • income tax is discriminatory  – it is progressive and therefore in conflict with the 14th amendment which guarantees equal treatment under the law. I think this is a weak argument, we are not talking about race or anything just earnings.
  • Taxes are servitude – Paying taxes enslaves one and is therefore unconstitutional. Porth v. Brodrick argued this based on the 13th Amendment and lost. Considering tax payer liberation day is sometime in August, which means you work a good part of the year to the feudal state, it has merit as a moral argument. I mean a serf in the Middle Ages only worked three days for his master and three days for himself, while you work for.
  • You can be a citizen of the state you live – It goes something like if you are a sovereign citizen in the state where you live you do not have to pay Federal taxes, for example, you could be a citizen of Texas and only answer to Texas. But you can not use US dollars or anything to do with the US government.  This is based on an argument around the 14th amendment. – The court ruled ‘while the Fourteenth Amendment does not create a national citizenship, it has the effect of making that citizenship ‘paramount and dominant’ instead of ‘derivative and dependent’ upon state citizenship.’ Therefore you still have to pay your taxes.
  • FYI- trying to argue (assert an argument on your tax return) that the income tax is illegal with the IRS based on various reasons why not to file can result in a $5,000 frivolous tax return penalty IRS section 6702(a).

Other arguments against the legality of taxes on specific individuals rather than universal is it a law that agrees with the constitution of the United States

  • “natural individuals’ or sovereigns individuals argument (similar to the 14th amendment argument), people renouncing US citizenship so as not to pay taxes, titles of nobility (not allowed in the USA by the way), Federal zones outside the USA such as military bases.
  • Definitions of income arguments are many.

Think about it the difference between legal and moral. Slavery was perfectly codified and legitimate at one time, but does that mean it was right? Of course not. You need to separate the idea of legal and moral in your mind. The law is a reflection of the collective unconsciousness of the people at a point in time, and if you study history sometimes this can be out of line with that is universally good. People need to work peacefully within the system though the political process via voting change the systems so legal and moral are more congruent. The purpose of this post if to raise one’s awareness about the fact that the USA did not have direct taxation most of its history.therefore, it not a necessary evil, but rather just a break on the economy, that in a global competitive world the USA can no longer afford.

People tolerate taxes for a while because they have previously accumulated wealth. As the tax burden grows and productivity falls, tax revenue falls and the only answer seems to be higher taxes. If the people can no longer tolerate higher taxes, government merely borrows and creates new money, and then the inflation tax is paid with higher prices. The whole system destabilizes and eventually becomes a threat to civilized progress. – Liberty Defined – Ron Paul

 History of Taxes in the USA

  • The USA prospered – The United States had no direct tax from 1776 to 1861.  Zero,  nothing, and people thought it absurd that an income tax might exist.
  • The USA really did not have an income tax from 1776 to 1913 and not in large measure until the 1950s.
  • Crisis and war brings emergency powers to government so to help pay for the civil war the USA saw its first personal income tax, on August 5, 1861 – the rate was 3% on income over 800 dollars ( This is about 20,000 dollars in todays income). After the war the tax was repealed.
  • Tax the rich – the Revenue Act or Wilson-Gorman Tariff of 1894. The Democrats imposed a 2% on income over 4,000 dollars or 90,000 dollars in todays terms. It was to be a tax on the rich, the top 10% to compensate for lost revenues of tariff reduction.
  • Surprise –  the US supreme court rules  direct tax to be unconstitutional on April 8, 1895, with Chief Justice Melville Fuller residing basically argued that it was a violation of the idea of individual property rights and the State had no right to limit this through taxation, an income tax.
  • Start of the road to serfdom – 1913 the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States constitution was passed “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.”
  • The USA rested on its laurals until 2007.
  • 2021 the USA started to have problems no one could foresee –  as it was too top-heavy fiscally – We will see.

Expat taxes and giving up US citizenship

As a former expat many people have told me because they live abroad they do not have to pay income taxes. This is wrong too. Taxes need to be paid and they are legal, even if you renounce your US citizenship believe it or not. There is no way around it. Just because you live in another country or have a dual citizen means nothing to the Internal revenue service. Do not fool yourself or play think about trying to play naive, they do not care.

Can people challenged the 16th Amendment?  You can read about any number of cases like, Marrita Murphy and Daniel J. Leveille, Appellants v. Internal Revenue Service and United States of America, Penn Mutual Indemnity case, Brushaber case etc. Not a chance to win on legal grounds in my opinion, the amendment has to be repealed by an act of congress.

Do some people just not pay taxes? I highly recommend you do not try. Even if you earn a pittance, I recommend you file a tax return as you do not want to be on the wrong side of the law. Rich and famous from Wesly Snipes to Richard Hatch, the first survivor winner to entrepreneurs like Barrie Konicov have been pursued for tax evasion and their money and fame could not protect them. If you off shore your money you have to be very clever as the IRS is getting sophisticated. I would rather just pay what I owe than try to evade taxes, too much risk.

Is the IRS filled with bad people? Nope. I call the IRS often to ask for clarification as my tax situation is complex living in two countries, having my own business and trading stock. In every case they are normal nice people with a human face. They have checked me several times with a mini audit, and as long as your documentation and prove you’re doing things right you are OK. If you are not, you get a penalty. But the people themselves are not bad per say.

Why is the income tax bad? The income tax in the US might be legal but it places people on the road to serfdom. This law turns extracts your hard work and creativity  to the United feudal States of America.

Does the income tax help or hurt the United States? It is a penalty on productivity and innovation.  It hurts America and US citizens. It allows the US to be an imperial power to engage in countless ‘preventative wars’ secret and public. The income tax along with the Federal Reserve is a blank check that leads the road to serfdom. Can you imagine if someone gave you a blank check and said write any amount you want on this check. It is trouble. You might have to work for him for the rest of your life. This is what the 16th amendment to the US constitution did.

Do not be fooled, taxes hurt our society, destroy the work ethic, have people using their intellectual creativity to try to avoid taxes instead of creating a better mouse trap (think of all the large accounting firms out there doing taxes, I used to do this for PWC).

Taxes are the price we pay for civilization – Oliver Wendel Homes

This is the opposite of what taxes do. They de-civilize people and Oliver Wendel Homes was brainless supreme court judge with a long mustache.

My assessment of taxation?

The more taxes, the more need for government management mismanagement. If you think it is legit or not, it does hurts Americans. I think it is wrong and unpatriotic to advocate more taxes over less. It is anti-american to want tax increases. Duty (which is duty), custom, tribute, levying revenue so the king President can levy an army with continued overseas wars. It makes the country of liberty, the country of socialism.

If we as a society continue to believe that paying for civilization through taxation is a wise purchase and the only way to achieve civilization, we are doomed. It’s a bad idea for the cause of liberty. -Ron Paul – Liberty Defined.