Think the U.S. Constitution Disallows the Income Tax? The IRS Disagrees

Ever since the imposition of the federal income tax in the early twentieth century, various people have argued that this tax is unconstitutional and an unwarranted infringement on individual liberties. These arguments have been debated endlessly by legal experts, and some of the arguments even come close to making sense. The fact is, however, that the federal government will never accept a constitutional argument against the income tax, and standing your ground will only make you a target for prosecution and even imprisonment.

Constitutional Tax Arguments Take Many Forms

There are a number of ways in which people have argued that the U.S. Tax Code is unconstitutional. Here are just a few:

  • The First Amendment. Does compelling a person to fill out a form violate his constitutional right to freedom of speech? Can the government legally compel ministers, priests, or other officials of self-styled religious officials to pay taxes?
  • The Fifth Amendment. Does the right against self-incrimination extend to one's tax return? If you state your income on your return, and are prosecuted by the government as a result, does that mean you were forcibly compelled to incriminate yourself?
  • The Fourteenth Amendment. Some very creative taxpayers maintain that U.S. residents actually are citizens of the states in which they reside; not citizens of the U.S. as a whole. Since the income tax code applies only to U.S. citizens...
  • The Sixteenth Amendment. This is by far the most popular constitutional tax dodge: adherents claim that this amendment, which wrote the income tax into law, was improperly ratified by the states, or not ratified at all, and therefore is null and void.

These arguments can make for spirited late-night conversation, and one of their beneficial effects is that they can prompt citizens to take a closer look at the clauses of the U.S. Constitution. As a practical matter, though, they are worthless. Even if some brilliant lawyer presents an air-tight constitutional case against the federal income tax, the government will find a way around it!

A Constitutional Evasion Argument Will Put You in the IRS Crosshairs

No matter what you've read in newspaper advertisements or seen on late-night infomercials, there is no airtight constitutional argument against paying your income taxes—and if you choose to invoke one, the IRS will go after you with everything it has. Questions? Call Travis W. Watkins, an Oklahoma tax expert, at 800-721-7054 for a free consultation today!