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Posted by Dennis Jao

Four Frivolous Tax Arguments That Never Works

Four Frivolous Tax Arguments That Never Works

The road to the 2021 filing season might appear long. However, it does not come as a surprise that a handful of people are already taking steps towards their tax returns. Almost everyone wants to have their hard-earned money to themselves without giving Uncle Sam any share. As a result, we are not surprised people will do anything to avoid paying taxes. 

This is, however, legal and call tax avoidance, provided you are not trying something shady. You have every right to ensure you do not pay a dime more than you are supposed to. There are people that, however, make all sorts of horrible excuses to avoid paying taxes. This set of people make various forms of excuses to justify themselves. 

They make claims that Uncle Sam classifies as frivolous. Taxpayers caught in the web of such excuses will be slammed with a penalty, civil fine, or even jail time if they persist with such arguments. 

We will discuss four of such arguments that taxpayers should watch out for:

  1. Paying Tax is Voluntary

A handful of taxpayers make a wrong claim that the tax system is voluntary. People who believe base their argument on an opinion from the Supreme Court in 1960: 

“our system of taxation is based upon voluntary assessment and payment, not upon distraint.”

Many IRS publications mention the word voluntary. They also claim that nothing in the IRS code makes it compulsory to pay tax.

Uncle Sam, however, reveals that voluntary, in this case, has to do with the calculation of the amount owed as tax by the taxpayer because Uncle Sam can calculate it for them. According to the law, the government is authorized to force tax payments through other means provided it is necessary. 

There are fines, penalties, interest, and even jail time for people that refuse to file or pay their taxes. Uncle tax considers this as tax evasion, which could warrant jail time.


  1. Income Definition

The meaning of the term “income” is another claim made by taxpayers that is frivolous. Many taxpayers claim that since they exchanged their time and labor for the money, tips, compensations, and wages cannot be classified as income.

Furthermore, they claim that the funds received are the same as the effort or labor inputted, which removes any gain that could be taxed. Judging by the IRS code again, court rulings, and others, gross income is any income that comes from any source.


  1. The meaning of Terms

Another category of frivolous tax arguments made by taxpayers is the meaning of some specific terms used in tax payment. A few of these terms are: "The United States." "citizens” and “person.”

According to some taxpayers, they argue that they are citizens of a specific state and not the United States. As a result, only United States citizens should pay taxes. Others feel that only people dwelling in US territories like Puerto Rico and Guam, and the District of Columbia should pay taxes. Many people also dance around the word "person" to claim that since they are more than one, they do not have to pay taxes.

According to Uncle Sam, these are plain nonsense, and there are countless court rulings to convict anyone guilty. As with others, there are penalties, back interest, fines, and criminal charges for people found guilty.


  1. Constitutional Claims

Finally, some people also make some claims involving constitutional arguments as a means to avoid paying taxes. Some people argue that they are exempted from paying taxes based on religious grounds judging by the First Amendments to the US Constitution. 

There are some that also argue that paying taxes is against the ruling of the Fifth Amendment, which stands against taking someone's property without following "due process." They also claim that tax filing is against the ban on the art of "self-incrimination," using the same amendment as a basis. 

These are frivolous claims that have been debated and rejected over the years by a series of courts in the US, including the Supreme court. As a result, the taxpayer should beware. 


With more than a century in the business of collecting US taxes, Uncle Sam has seen almost every excuse invented to avoid paying tax. None of them ever works, so make sure to pay taxes if you owe them.



Dennis Jao
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