Tax arguments you can count on to fail

For our folk-law category, a list of sure-loser arguments on behalf of tax non-compliance, including “Paying federal taxes is optional,” “Wages are not ‘income,'” “I got paid in paper money, which is not taxable,” and “You can only tax U.S. citizens, and I just seceded,” all of which are good for amusing tax professionals but not for keeping you out of jail. [Lowering the Bar]


  • Back when I was a student working at the university reference desk, we had patrons come up far too often and ask us these questions around tax time. My standard response was, “I really don’t think so, but here’s a website that can help, and you should probably consult a lawyer before trying it.” The greatest was when a woman came up, told me that she had “sold [her] autonomy to [her] husband” for $1, which she claimed was valid consideration, and was now legally considered property. Which apparently meant that while she could be taxed on her value of $1 – her income no longer could be. She wanted me to show her how to fill out the proper forms to reflect this new situation. I gave her a list of local lawyers who dealt with taxes and suggested she contact one of them. I didn’t give her a list of local psychiatrists too, but I was very tempted.

    • “Your income is now considered your husband’s income, since he owns you and is getting your income. So your tax bill is exactly the same as it was.” – That’s how it would be even if slavery was still legal. Which it isn’t.

  • […] turns out, “You can only tax citizens, and I just seceded,” is not a valid reason for not paying tax, who […]