Question

Do we as Americans really have to pay Taxes?

I'm currently writing a paper on the IRS and the Federal Income Tax. I've heard many arguments saying that the 16th amendment to the constitiution allows for "...the taxation of profits and gains...and no other taxes may be enstated." The 16th also states that taxes can only be impossed on income; our jobs are considered labor wages which is an even trade for our time worked. Also there is something in the constitution about any tax put onto the people must be uniform across the entire population; therefor it doesn't make sense that rich people don't pay the same percent as we middle class people do right? Many court cases have been thrown out due to "lack-of-law" reguarding the IRS's inability to show any law or statute stating we have to pay income tax. So what's the deal?!? Do we just pay cause we think we have to or is there really weight to all these arguments I've heard???
As I understand it most "State Laws" require you to pay Income Tax yet in order for these laws to hold any weight they must comply with the constitution which they don't. Also there ARE many cases where the defendant was found NOT GUILTY by a jury, for example:
www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICL...
another example
IRS vs Whitney Harrell
Jury found him NOT GUILTY on all charges
Also your definition of Income in your link does not list labor as one of its taxable incomes. This is because labor is not a profit from business transactions as all the others listed are. Labor is a trade for time spent working, I work 10 hours you pay me for ten hours. There is no defined income in that equation as you have spent your time obtaining the money, not making profit.
Adam i appreciate your insight on this subject...I voted your little thumb thing up.

6 years ago - 8 answers

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This questions appears almost every day, and it gets the same response: you don't seem to understand the law. First, your statement that, "Many court cases have been thrown out due to "lack-of-law" reguarding the IRS's inability to show any law or statute stating we have to pay income tax" is a lie. Not a single case has ever been dismissed on these grounds, and people who make this argument tend to go to jail. If you have a single case citation to the contrary, I'd like to see it.

If you want a list of the federal laws requiring people to pay income tax, see the list below. If you really want to understand what you're talking about, go to law school.

Edit> See, this is why making conclusions about the law is dangerous when you don't know what you're talking about. The prosecutor charged Cryer with a lesser offense, willful failure to pay taxes, which is what we call a "specific intent" crime. This means that if Cryer could convince the jury that he genuinely didn't think he was required to pay taxes, then he's off the hook because he lacked the requisite mes rea for the crime. It doesn't mean that his arguments about the illegality of the tax system are valid, because that's not the argument he raised at trial.

Source(s):

6 years ago

Other Answers

Cases making this argument have repeatedly been reject as spurious by federal courts. It is a libertarian pipe dream. Your lawyer would probably get sanctioned for making them.
Read the US Supreme Court's opinion in Cheek v. US which documents this. If a defendant actually believes they are not required to pay income taxes they might not be convicted due to the wording of federal tax evasion law. However, the validity of the 16th Amendment is settled law and it is near impossible for a defendant to prove that they actually believed the law did not require them to pay taxes.

by carlos705 - 6 years ago

Don't waste any time on these idiotic arguments and don't give any consideration to the occasional criminal case that goes the defendant's way. An acquittal in a criminal case means that the prosecution has not proved this particular case only beyond a reasonable doubt. The verdict in these cases and all others of "not guilty: does not mean "proved innocent." The same people who are acquitted in criminal cases will still lose in Tax Court.

by wartz - 6 years ago

You very obviously have NEVER read the 16th Amendment and probably The Constitution!

The 16th Amendment states: "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." As you can see, you have it quite totally wrong. PERIOD!

The reason for the 16th Amendment was due to a couple of court rulings in the late 1800s that declared that income taxes were "direct levies" and therefore were subject to apportionment among the states. As a practical matter that was impossible in the 1800s but would be child's play in the modern computer age. This left income taxes functionally dead until ratification of the 16th Amendment which changed the treatment of income taxes to that of "indirect levies" and dealt the final blow to the apportionment requirement.

Now, let's look at The Constitution itself, in particular Article 1, Section 8. Here's what it says about Congress' power to levy taxes: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States," Note CAREFULLY that it says nothing about any specific kind of tax; that is left ENTIRELY up to Congress to decide! And that INCLUDES income taxes. Just for clarification, income taxes have ALWAYS been legal!

The uniformity rule only means that any tax must apply to the citizens of all states and US possessions, NOT that the rates cannot be different for different incomes or different types of imports (for duties, for example).

I don't know where you get the idea that the courts have ever thrown out an income tax case due to "lack of law" as you claim. Please post a case citation so that I can tear that apart; it's a common tax protester claim. The ONLY case that I've found was a STATE case in IL (the Whitey Harrell case you cite, although it was NOT IRS v Harrell!) a few years back where the defendant sufficiently confused the jury that he wrangled a Not Guilty verdict. (He still paid the tax in the end, however!) Several tax protesters have been found Not Guilty in the Federal courts on tax evasion charges but again still paid the taxes in the end. The ONLY bullet they ever dodged was the criminal charge; the civil cases stood in EVERY case.

The claims that the wages we receive from the fruit of our labor are not income are simply absurd. The courts HAVE ruled on that issue and the definition of income in Title 26 is sufficiently broad that any argument that it is not income is doomed to failure and that's exactly what has happened when it was raised as a defense. Here's the first line from TITLE 26, Subtitle A, CHAPTER 1, Subchapter B, PART I, § 61 defining Gross Income: "(a) (1) Compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits, and similar items" The compensation you receive from your employer for the services you provide to him or her are quite clearly income as defined in the law. PERIOD!

That brings us to Title 26 of the US Code. That is the law that governs the Federal Income Tax and a number of other taxes such as Gift Taxes, Estate Taxes, etc. Any claim that this isn't "law" are again, patently absurd. Anyone who thinks this isn't law needs to take a basic Law 101 course.

Lastly, anyone who thinks that the govenment could levy and collect a tax for nearly 100 years without any underlying law is living in Never Never Land. That is such a flight of fancy and disconnect from reality that I'd question the state of mental health of anyone who actually believed that such a fallacy was true.

by bostonianinmo - 6 years ago

The 16th amendment states, "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."

Notice it says, "taxes on incomes", nowhere does it state that Congress can only tax profits and gains. BTW, a wage you earn by working is a GAIN to you. A gain is the difference between what you PAID for something and what you sell it for. You have paid nothing for your labor. If you get paid $20 an hour for your work, that entire $20 is a gain. The following is a Supreme Court case that discussed personal injury awards in regards to work.

[QUOTE]
"In common speech `income' generally is understood as gain or profit . . ." (footnote omitted)); Eisner v. Macomber, 252 U.S. 189, 207 [481 U.S. 368, 375] (1920) ("`Income may be defined as the gain derived from capital, from labor, or from both combined,' provided it be understood to include profit gained through a sale or conversion of capital assets . . ." (quoting Stratton's Independence, Ltd. v. Howbert, 231 U.S. 399, 415 (1913); Doyle v. Mitchell Brothers Co., 247 U.S. 179, 185 (1918))), respondents conclude that personal injury awards cannot fairly be characterized as income. But the premise that personal injury awards cannot involve gain is obviously false, since they often are intended in significant part to compensate for the loss of gain, e. g., lost wages.
[END QUOTE]
LUKHARD v. REED, 481 U.S. 368 (1987).

Notice exactly what the court says at the end of the above quote. To paraphrase, personal injury awards "often are intended in significant part to compensate for the loss of gain, e.g., lost wages." There is only one meaning to that. Wages is a gain and therefore wages are income.

The Constitution does mention Congress' power to tax in Article I Section 8 and Section 9. Article I Section 8 states, in part, "Congress shall have the power to lay and collect Taxes,..."

Section 9 states, in part, "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken."

As you can see, only DIRECT taxes are required to be apportioned. Income taxes are INDIRECT in a Constitutional sense. However, it doesn't matter whether a person considers income taxes direct or indirect, because the 16th amendment removes any apportionment requirement from income taxes. You should read the Constitution.
www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_...

There has NEVER been a court case where the case was "thrown out" because the IRS could not show the law. There have been a few CRIMINAL cases where the defendant was acquitted of "willful failure to file charges" or "willful tax evasion". The key word is "willful". The burden of proving willfulness is on the prosecution. If the defense can convince the jury that the defendant truly believed they did not have to pay taxes, whether the law says they did or not, and the prosecution cannot prove otherwise, the burden of proving willfulness causes an acquittal. This is one of the few instances where ignorance of the law IS an excuse. However, that does not mean there isn't a law concerning income taxes anymore than O.J. Simpson's acquittal proves there isn't a law concerning the murder of your ex-wife.

You mention Gaylon "Whitey" Harrell. Let's take a look at his record.
Harrell v. United States, (C.D. Ill. 1/18/1991), the court dismissed Harrell's challenge to a levy on his wages.

Harrell v. United States, No. 91-3040, 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6773, 1991 WL 631008 (C.D. Ill. Apr. 11, 1991) (dismissing suit to quiet title to petitioner's wages), aff'd 13 F.3d 232, 235, No. 91-2077 (7th Cir. 12/30/1993).

Harrell v. United States, 4 F.3d 996 (table only), 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 22907, 1993 WL 339716 (text) (7th Cir. 1993) (after District Court granted summary judgment for Government in petitioner's suit for damages under sec. 7433 and imposition of $500 penalty under sec. 6673, Court of Appeals affirmed and imposed additional $1,000 frivolous appeal penalty).

Harrell v. United States, T.C. Memo. 1994-406, (after failing to file tax returns for 1989 and 1990, petitioner contended that he was citizen of the sovereign State of Illinois and that income he received was not taxable by the United States; we sustained Commissioner's determination and imposed $3,000 penalty under sec. 6673), affd. without published opinion 72 F.3d 132 (7th Cir. 1995).

LaRue v. Collector of Internal Revenue, No. 95-3036, 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8225, 1995 WL 479521 (C.D. Ill. June 21, 1995) (Petitioner and others contended that they were exempt from Federal income tax because Illinois is not "State" as defined in the Internal Revenue Code; District Court dismissed complaint and imposed sanctions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 on petitioner and everyone else who had signed complaint).

Harrell's one "victory" is that he was acquitted of failing to file Illinois state income tax returns in People of the State of Illinois v. Gaylon L. Harrell, No. 97CF89 (Cir. Ct. of St. Clair Co. Ill.). However, in 2006, he was charged again with three counts of criminal failure to file Illinois income tax returns. People of the State of Illinois v. Gaylon L. Harrell, No. 2006CM215 (Cir. Ct. of Logan Co. Ill.).

Federal income tax deficiencies against him were upheld in Harrell v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1994-406, aff'd 77 AFTR2d Par. 96-401, 96 TNT 29-19, No. 94-3736 (7th Cir. 12/13/1995), along with an order to show cause why Harrell should not be sanctioned for filing a frivolous appeal.

Federal income tax deficiencies against him were upheld for 1991 through 1993, along with failure to file penalties, in Harrell v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1996-64. In a later proceeding in the same case, the court imposed penalties for fraud and $10,000 in sanctions for persisting in frivolous arguments. Gaylon L. Harrell v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1998-207, aff'd 84 AFTR2d Par. 99-5194, 1999 TNT 163-9, No. 98-4120 (7th Cir. 8/19/1999) (sanctions of $2,000 imposed for filing a frivolous appeal).

For more information on anti-tax arguments and why they are wrong, go to evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.html

by NGC6205 - 6 years ago

I don't understand your reasoning that money received for labor isn't income. If it isn't income, what would you call it?

The 16th amendment is quite clear and I can't see how anyone could make a convincing arguement that taxes are illegal after reading the 16th.

I was unware until recently, that tax protesters argue that the 16th wasn't properly ratified and therefore it is invalid. I believe the 16th was considered ratified in 1913 (please correct me if I'm wrong). So it has been nearly 100 years since it was ratified. Good luck to any tax protester trying to argue the 16th wasn't properly ratified in 1913.

by nealeinmi - 6 years ago

I know you have right to do anything! However, if I were you, I would not waste my time by bringing up all the unnecessary facts. I definitely would do more research on the subject before even start writing that paper. Good Luck.

by Jurassic Park Dino - 6 years ago

The sheer fact, that these taxes do not go back into public works or improvements, and merely pay off the interest on the national debt with the Federal reserve, that we as citizens have to pay a tax to a privately owned bank, on a service or labor we provided to a company or contractor, has always made me cringe; regardless of whether we have to pay or not, to me it is unconstitutional. However, the IRS and supreme court has made it clear that you do have to pay it... Wages, in my opinion, should not count as income, especially, following the definitions given of "gain", primarily, because that implies that work was not done or an agreement between the parties is invalid or overrode by a third party that is, ironically, more inline with the definition of "gain" collecting monies without work from the two consenting parties; I work, you pay for my labor; that is not a "gain" it is an equal (or supposed) exchange..

by nite_blufarie - 5 months ago