Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Is evading tax legal?

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There is no desputing that fact that evading tax is illegal in most countries on account of the fact that collecting tax is enshrined in law. But there are instances where governments have acted with impunity. The Federal government of the United States actually illegally collects income taxes. There is no law in the United States requiring individuals to file income tax returns. So why do people pay them? Because they were lead to believe they had to, and most people just accept that there is a gun pointed at their heads, and didn't want to be the only defiant person. You can expect that defiance will be growing in the USA. You can also expect that at some point defiance will become a political issue, and the government will overtly act with the threat of a gun, that is....real consequences. But of course the US government does not want to force people on the issue yet because it really doesn't know the level of community resentment. There are several reasons for thinking that the USA government is mindful of public opposition to tax:
1. They have been lied to about their requirement to pay tax
2. They didn't realise they didn't have to pay taxes, so might feel a sense of power or autonomy and not pay it
3. The legacy of under-funded government budgets has highlighted the irresponsibility of the US Treasury
4. Opposition to public opinion, such as the war in Iraq might incense people to the extent that they no longer want to pay tax
5. Just basic opposition to the idea that the government can expropriate your wealth

Certainly in most countries taxation is illegal. The question to ask yourself - Is it immoral, and what is the relationship between morality and the law.
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