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Is there any basis to anti-tax arguments?

If you are like most people here in Missouri and elsewhere across the country, paying taxes may be one of your least favorite things to do. So, when you heard a rumor that the IRS does not have the legal or constitutional authority to require the payment of taxes, you may have gotten even the slightest bit excited that you could avoid doing so.

Even though many of the anti-tax theories may appear to have merit, the country's courts have rejected their arguments. In order to keep from inadvertently getting in trouble with the IRS, you may want to know what some of these arguments are so that you can avoid them. Otherwise, you could end up paying penalties and interests, and may even end up facing criminal charges for tax evasion.

What the anti-tax groups propose

Some of the theories proposed by anti-tax groups include the following:

  • The federal government only has the authority to assess taxes against people who file returns.
  • The federal government can only require the payment of taxes from individuals.
  • The Internal Revenue Code does not exist.
  • Section 861 of the Internal Revenue Code only accounts for certain types of income that most U.S. citizens do not incur.
  • That the states failed to properly ratify the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides the foundation for income tax.
  • Some people have claimed that the federal income tax system violates their rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Others have attempted to exploit the First Amendment right to religious freedom by forming a religious organization, which pays no taxes.

Federal courts have repeatedly rejected all of the above arguments. As a result, the IRS has assessed interest and penalties to the individuals attempting to use these justifications for avoiding paying federal income tax. Some people have even faced criminal penalties for tax evasion. The IRS will consider the totality of the circumstances before taking enforcement action against a taxpayer accused of tax evasion in this or any other manner.

If you unknowingly believed you were not legally obligated to file an income tax return or pay taxes, you could escape harsher penalties. If you have questions regarding whether the law supports the payment of federal income tax, or face penalties for not doing so based on any one of these arguments, you may want to consult with an experienced Missouri tax attorney.

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