Taxation is part of the democratic process. The only difference of opinion we can have is in the quantum of taxation.
Despite some politicians toying with “the less tax” platform for winning elections, we did pay tax under all administrations.
Probably that is why anti-tax groups are trying to support the tea party but let us be frank about it:
No president or congressman ever grew money trees in their backyard so that we needn’t pay taxes.
Agreed, IRS itself states in their Form 1040 instructions that taxation system we follow is “voluntary”.
And many opponents of taxation may even point to Supreme Court’s opinion in the 1960 case Flora v. United States, that taxation is based upon voluntary assessment and payment.
But if you are cherry-picking just one meaning out of the many for the word “voluntary” in the dictionary to claim that you not required to file federal tax returns, that is twisting facts. And according to the various court decisions in the matter, if you don’t file your tax forms based on your opportunistic definition of voluntarism, you may even be committing a criminal act.
The word “voluntary” just means that taxpayers are given the freedom to determine the correct tax and file the returns, rather than the government arbitrarily doing the assessment and sending a bill to the taxpayer.
Probably many tax protesters do not know that the Treasury rules specifically say that any taxpayer whose income exceeds a statutory level of gross income for the year in question is obligated to file a return. In fact, not complying with that rule can make them subject to:
1.criminal penalties including imprisonment
2.civil penalties, mainly fines and surcharges.
Tax protesters should also be aware that despite the freedom of speech, they may not be able to claim that right in encouraging others to evade taxes, sell publications or services or run websites exhorting others to do it.
The court’s observation that the First Amendment did not protect incitement of criminal conduct should be a warning not only to tax evaders but also to those who opportunistically take cover under the First Amendment after committing crimes themselves or prompting others to commit crimes.
Those who try to take cover under the court’s decisions in “Flora vs. United States” should update their knowledge with the court decisions that were handed down after 1960 some of which specifically say:
– Congress gave the Secretary of the Treasury the power to enforce the income tax laws through involuntary collection efforts.
– The IRS’ efforts to obtain compliance with the tax laws are entirely proper.
– The assertion that the payment of income taxes is voluntary is without merit.
-The premise that the tax system is somehow ‘voluntary’ is incorrect.
– The claim that filing a tax return is voluntary is rejected.
– The claim that reporting income taxes is strictly voluntary is a “‘tax protester’ type” argument, and failure to file a return is liable for the penalty.
– The argument that the tax system is voluntary so that one cannot be forced to comply imaginative, totally without arguable merit and frivolous.
– In assessing income taxes, the Government relies primarily upon the disclosure by the taxpayer of the relevant facts . . . in his annual return.
– Congress can impose either criminal or civil sanctions to ensure full and honest disclosure and to discourage fraudulent attempts to evade the tax.
– Conviction and fines imposed for willfully failing to file tax returns are upheld.
So stonewalling based on opportunistic definition of just one word in Form 1040 instructions may not stand against the voluminous court decisions against such arguments.
Voluntary compliance only means that you are volunteering to do it first as a duty rather than the government doing it first as a right. So naturally if you don’t do your duty, there will be consequences.
Those who are interested in the legal and official aspects of this subject, may refer to the following resources:
Treas. Reg. § 1.6011-1(a), 6011(a), 6012(a), et seq., and 6072(a)
2005 TNT 169-12 (Aug. 31, 2005)
Revenue Ruling 2007-20, 2007-14 I.R.B. 863
Helvering v. Mitchell, 303 U.S. 391, 399 (1938)
Flora v. United States, 362 U.S. 145, 176 (1960) Flora v. United States, 362 U.S. 145, 176 (1960)
Jameson v. United States, 464 U.S. 642 (1983)
United States v. Richards, 723 F.2d 646, 648 (8th Cir. 1983)
United States v. Drefke, 707 F.2d 978, 981 (8th Cir. 1983), cert. denied
United States v. Tedder, 787 F.2d 540, 542 (10th Cir. 1986)
Woods v. Commissioner, 91 T.C. 88, 90 (1988)
United States v. Gerads, 999 F.2d 1255, 1256 (8th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1193 (1994)
Johnson v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1999-312, 78 T.C.M. (CCH) 468, 471 (1999), aff’d, 242 F.3d 382 (9th Cir. 2000)
United States v. Schulz, 529 F. Supp. 2d 341 (N.D.N.Y. 2007), aff’d, 517 F.3d 606 (2d Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 129 S.Ct. 435 (2008).