Is it true there's no law requiring income tax?

Is it true there is no law requiring Americans to pay income tax? If not, can you post that law?

No, of course it’s not true.

The Tax Protester FAQ is the best place to see all the idiot objections, dodges, and tricks that morons and cheats use to try to get out of paying their fair share of taxes.

No, it’s not true. The notion is popular among a few who would like it to be true, but their supporting “evidence” and reasoning is based upon wishful thinking rather than facts. Their view is not only not supported by the powers that be, but is quite clearly contradicted by applicable rulings. Don’t buy into unless you’re fond of Federal fines and jail time. Here’s some info from Cecil on the matter.

Cecil’s column Is U.S. income tax invalid because Ohio wasn’t legally a state when the 16th amendment was ratified? may be of interest.

The legal basis for the federal income tax is the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.

Boy, the introduction to that FAQ is virtually Cecilian in tone :

Thanks for that. :smiley:

There is not a law establishing the federal income tax. There is a whole lawbook full of them and along with the laws come all sorts of court decisions interpreting those laws. If you can come up with an income tax law question that hasn’t been thoroughly thrashed out in court and in Congress you’re a wonder.

Because I was reading that if the IRS went by true “taxable income”, the average American wouldn’t owe any income tax. What got me wondering is

I just read the tax protestor, well, some of it and thank you for the insight.

That’s a fascinating website. It’s classic misdirection, because it tells you that the law is what matters, but then it cites only to a portion of the regulations (not the code itself), and seems to say that court interpretations of the statute have nothing to add (i.e., it says, “opinions” don’t matter). It also leaves out the most important thing, which is the definition of “income,” and instead asserts a new definition of income, namely, income from “taxable activities.”

But the Code does define “gross income” as “all income from whatever source derived.”

I always find these things fascinating, because they’re premised on the notion that nobody else in the last 100 years – including the lawyers who work for very wealthy corporations and individuals, and who are responsible for coming up with some very creative tax strategies – reads the law. A few people missing it, I could buy. But every single tax lawyer in the US for nearly 100 years? I don’t buy it.

Agreed, which is why I was so skeptical. Thanks guys and guyettes. The site in question is also promoting a new “documentary” coming out called Freedom to Facism, which I’m sure you saw.

And of course this is related to another flaw in the tax protestor’s strategies – even assuming that they’re absolutley correct, and that the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional, and that the gold fring on the flag is improper, and blah blah blah, it doesn’t actually make a damn bit of difference! Because the courts and government agencies charged with the regulation of this stuff reject all these goofy arguments – your technically correct position is going to be cold comfort to you when you’re rotting in jail for tax avoidance.


Also including presumedly, the people who wrote the law but apparently had no idea what it said. They must have been shocked when they discovered that the law they thought they had just enacted to create a national income tax said instead that an income tax was illegal.

I suppose they could have just changed the law at that point and made an income tax legal but they were probably really embarassed by their mistake. So they must have just decided to pretend an income tax law had been passed and hope nobody would notice the difference. And surprisingly for seventy or eighty years their plan worked. It wasn’t until the internet came along and spread the word that anyone knew that income tax had been illegal all along.

Worse yet - you won’t even be “technically correct,” just flat-out wrong!

A favorite quotation of mine from another tax protestor case: “Some people believe with great fervor preposterous things that just happen to coincide with their self-interest.” Coleman v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (7th Cir. 1986), 791 F.2d 68, 69.

Nitpick - tax avoidance is quite legal; it’s tax evasion that gets you a trip to Leavenworth.


Yeah, you’ve discovered the secret that if a flag has a gold fringe around it, it means you’re not in a civilian court but in an illegal military court, which has no jurisdiction over you.

So all you have to do is point out that simple fact, and the fascists will have to let you go! See, the United States is ruled by fascists who ignore the law. Except when a tax protestor figures out what the law really says, the fascists are forced to obey the law.

If the United States really were fascist, and the fascists ignored the law, I think they’d be perfectly capable of ignoring the law in your particular case too, and illegally sending you to jail for however long they like. See, under a fascist system the law is irrelevant, what matters is force. The cops and judges and commisars do whatever they like, they’re not answerable to the law or the citizenry, they’re only answerable to their superiors. And if their superiors want to force you to pay an illegal tax, well, you either pay the tax or they’ll make your life a living hell. Or just haul you behind the chemical sheds and put a bullet in the back of your skull. You think gangsters who’d haul you out and shoot you in the head are going to be deterred when you point out they haven’t filled out the correct paperwork and that your execution is therefore unlawful?

What do you guys think of this video by alex jones interviewing and ex IRS agent?

Please watch the whole thing.

Why bother? Less than two minutes into it, all that individual purporting to be an IRS special agent does is start repeating the ridiculous assertions, already proven false, believed by other tax protestor whackjobs.

I don’t know, possibly you are correct, either way you can read his report here:

Most of these tax-dodging arguments are plain wrong. The one point I do agree with then on is the lack of the definition of “income”. The IRS uses the “from whatever source derived” to mean “we can tax anything unless you go to court and get a judge to declare something is not income (e.g. insurance benefits)”. Is winning the income really “income” or is it more of a windfall. Is there a practical difference between income and windfalls? Should there be a difference in the Tax Code between regular income and windfalls?

As a side note: Why were we able to run this country until 1912 without an income tax but now we can’t live without it?