Can you file a "Fifth Ammendment Tax Return"?

This website says,

True? That doesn’t sit well with me.

I must also bring this into question. From the “Kansas Department of Revenue e” (why don’t they have a domain?)

Sounds lie tax-avoider paranoia, right up there with “the Sixteenth Amendment was never properly passed because Ohio isn’t a state” and the like. That being said, I have never listed an occupation on my return (although I didn’t write “Fifth Amendment” on it either) and the IRS has never said dickie bird to me about it. But then I also attach my W2. I suppose if I were reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars without a W2 or anything else supporting the income source they might be more concerned. Someone give me hundreds of thousands of dollars and I’ll be happy to test that theory.

This may be one of the funniest things that I have ever read.

AFIK, the drug stamps just provide an easy way to stick a suspected drug felon with another crime – i.e., tax evasion.

This is an example of why “be your own lawyer” books can be dangerous. I suppose you can file such a return, but the IRS will likely take a dim view of that, and, as far as I can tell, so will the courts.

Here’s an excerpt from an IRS web page on bogus tax arguments:

Of course, the IRS’s position isn’t always the last word, but it’s irresponsible to tell people they “can file something called a Fifth Amendment tax return” without also explaining that they’re probably doing something that the IRS considers illegal.

For all these goofy “you don’t really have to pay income tax” things, go to Quatloos, a non-profit corporation site dedicated to exposing different types of scams, including tax scams.

Here’s what they say about the Fifth Amendment claim:

You can legitimately declare “gambling” income without saying where you gambled. Lots of folks, I’m told, use that to pay what they owe without admitting illegal acts.

I have read there’s a way to anonymously purchase marijuana tax stamps. The absurd part comes in the fact that the tax is often more than the value of the product. The marijuana tax is rarely enforced, even if you’re caught with it.

I think that the replies above miss the point of the OP, which isn’t as whacky as it seems at first blush.

The site is not saying you don’t have to FILE a tax return on Fifth Amendment grounds. It’s saying that when you do file your tax return, and dutifully report your income from loan-sharking and prostitution, you don’t write “loan-sharking and prostitution” on your form under “source of income”. Instead, you say, “Fifth Amendment” under “source of income.” You thus properly claim all your income as taxable, and still do not incriminate yourself by admitting illegal activity.

  • Rick

Bricker, this case quoted by TJVM does address the issue of filing a tax return but not revealing the required information under the claim of Fifth Amendment protection.

Gah. Hit reply too soon.

Anyway, the case isn’t 100% on point but certainly supports the idea that not offering supporting information for income isn’t acceptable.


It would seem that this is the case which answer’s the OP’s questions (as cited in TJVM’s post above):

United States v. Brown, 600 F.2d 248, 252 (10 th Cir. 1979) - Noting that the Supreme Court had established “that the self-incrimination privilege can be employed to protect the taxpayer from revealing the information as to an illegal source of income, but does not protect him from disclosing the amount of his income,” the court said Brown made “an illegal effort to stretch the Fifth Amendment to include a taxpayer who wishes to avoid filing a return.”

Since the Fifth Amendment involves self-incrimination, it can only go into effect if giving the information would be evidence of committing a crime.

Therefore, unless you are getting your income illegally, there’s no reason to think self-incrimination applies. Even if you do get it illegally, putting an amount in the number gives no information that incriminates you in and of itself.

But Otto, I think the OP isn’t refering to a return that says something like:

Source of Income—Fifth Amendment. Amount of Income—Fifth Amendment


Source of Income–Newspaper Columnist. Amount of Income–Fifth Amendment

But rather:

Source of Income–Fifth Amendment. Amount of Income–$34,000

But wouldn’t it make more sense (if you wanted to keep your occupation private) just to put something like:

Source of Income–Self Employment. Amount of Income–$34,000

Or leave the space blank? Why draw attention to yourself by claiming the fifth, why not just be vague? I’m pretty sure no one at the IRS is going to challenge your return because you didn’t declare your occupation…only if they think you aren’t paying the full amount of taxes you owe.

And the illegal drug tax stamp business just sounds like an urban legend. I can’t believe there are actual illegal drug tax stamps, although it is absolutely true that any income derived from selling drugs is taxable income and must be reported. Not that the IRS actually expects criminals to report illegal income, just that the fact that you made money doing illegal things doesn’t make that money tax free. There’s no crime loophole where you can claim that all your wages were for commiting crimes and get our of paying taxes on them.

So people who make large amounts of money from illegal activity have to commit two crimes. Not only do they break the law by selling drugs or whatever, they also must file false tax returns.


In the purchase of most goods and services, a “sales tax” is charged. While some businesses choose to cover such taxes for the buyer (usually as part of some sort of promotion), such taxes usually result in a higher cost to the buyer. It would be no different in the sale of marijuana. As an example, if a quarter-ounce of marijuana cost $100 on the market and the local tax was $100 on the same amount, the cost to the consumer would then be $200 (allowing the tax to be paid and the entrepenuer to recover his or her investment and make some profit). In such a case, by the way, only the profit would need to be declared on a fifth amendment tax return.

Obviously this posting is meant to be a little tongue-in-cheeck, but it is important to remember that the fact that a tax is high does not mean that the tax is not valid. It should be noted however, that there are cases out there where a tax was found to be unconstitutional because it was being used to prohibit certain items de facto. While I don’t have a cite for the such cases, they generally involve taxes which are several times the value of a particular item.

1&2 would get you jail time.
#3 might get you audited, but I think you’d be OK otherwise.
#4 is just fine- actually there is a code to input, but there are several that would fit.

It would be just plain stupid to do #3, if #4 is just as good and much safer.

Nearly every crime that brings in regular income can be described in vague terms “marijauna grower”= “small farmer”, etc.

off-topic aside: is the official site of the Kansas DOR, much the same that the official website of Florida’s government is As a rule, only federal government websites end in .gov, while state governments were traditionally .[two letter state abbreviation].us. If anything, Kansas’ website would end in, like my local property appraiser is

Washington State’s official web sites are * For example, Office of the Code Reviser and Department of Licensing.

And y’all have weird driver license numbers too. :stuck_out_tongue: I guess I should have poked around some more for different states to see whether many of them used .gov. Oops.

Where have y’all been that you’ve never heard of the idiotic marijuana tax stamps? They’re part of the grand War On Drugs & have been around for years.

Here’s the Oklahoma info:

One of the funniest things I ever saw was watching a good ol’ boy lawyer in a podunk courthouse grilling a local Depewty Dawg who’d charged a kid with not having tax stamps on his pot. After five minutes of questions thoroughly proving that said Depewty Dawg had never seen a tax stamp, didn’t know what one should look like, didn’t really know anything about them, and generally wouldn’t know a marijuana tax stamp if it jumped out and bit him, GOBlawyer asked how he knew that the kid didn’t have tax stamps. IIRC, the deputy admitted that he had no idea whether or not the defendent had tax stamps, that he’d just assumed he hadn’t, and had only charged him with the tax-stamp law “because somebody told him he could”.

Like aaslatten said, they’re just a sleazy way to charge one person with multiple ‘crimes’ for the same offense, and/or to charge someone with ‘no tax stamps’ when you don’t have what’s needed to charge them under drug laws.