How many of you would cheat the government out of taxes if you had a good, sure chance (no chance of getting caught)? Why or why not? Do you think the amount matters or is cheating a penny the same as cheating $1,000?

I wouldn’t. I’d make sure I didn’t pay too much, but I would pay my legal obligation.

It’s the right thing to do. Look up “common good” to see why.


Pay my share. And am quite happy about it. I actually think I should pay more in taxes.

I think my taxes are high, and I’d like to see them cut some more.

But I’ve always dutifully paid them.

My long-time former business partner observed once that she thought my experience of being audited for three consecutive years had made a tax nazi out of me.

I would/do pay all of my taxes.

Luckily we get the kickers back once in a while. Its a nice little suprise when you need it.

I am too paranoid to cheat. Dunno how I would sleep :frowning:

Hmm. I think it you had a good, sure chance of not getting caught, then it might not be cheating. :dubious:

I was a tax consultant for a dozen years, and I can’t stand the IRS. But I still pay what I owe. Common good and all that.

My last tax return I really didn’t have to pay much in taxes and it felt a bit like cheating even though everything was legit. I’m sure next year will make up for it though. I can’t see not paying my full due share, although I would like to alter what the government spends the money on.

I think Violet raises a good point.

Also, of course the amount matters, because penalties are figured from the amount of the underpayment and time spent in jail is figured on the amount of the “tax loss.”

That’s right, pally, you could go to jail for cheating on your taxes. Think about that for a few minutes. While you may be willing to risk money (interest, penalties) to make money (by underreporting income or overreporting income), how much jail time are you willing to risk to save a few bucks on your taxes?

Welll… if I could go into Tax Court and argue my position with a straight face- then yes. In other words, if I had a shred of Law to back me up, even though I thought it was a real long-shot. I am not talking about bizzare Tax Protestor arguements, but taking advantage of some odd loohole to get a deduction.

Otherwise- I pay my taxes. The least I can pay without cheating.

One thing- anything up to a dollar (or I guess 50 cents) doesn’t count, as there is a rounding provision somewhere in the Internal Revenue Code.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have the typo of the year.

Some of you better read the OP again. “no chance of getting caught” was kinda implied in the question.

So my answer would be YES. In a second.

Of course the difference between me and most of you is that I live (or lived, I should say, cause I don’t right now) in a high-tax country, Sweden.

Come back and answer this question truthfully after you’ve been double- and triple-taxed after paying income tax of 35-50% The double-taxing would be 35% on capital gains, and the triple taxing would be the 25% VAT we have in this wonderful country.

Argh. Sorry. Pit mood on… :calms down:

So, you are all saying it’s morally wrong? Utilitarianly speaking, the govn’t wouldn’t miss your couple thousand dollars, so it’s not like there is any harm going on, right? If there isn’t any harm, then why the fuss? Just cheat it. Remember, no one else has this golden chance, it’s just you and you are only going to do it once, so what’s the problem? Save a couple grand and take your family for a therapeutic vacation… it’s your family who needs the money/relaxing break more than the government needs it…

Not trying to start an argument, I just want to hear reasoning behind some of your replies.

crap, hauss=Fuel, whoops.

I would still pay my taxes, because I consider the question the same as asking,“Would you steal if there was no chance whatsoever of getting caught?”

Yes, its morally wrong.

I’ll take it at a local level - because its easier to understand. There are two things I need in my neighborhood. A stop light and a playground. The playground was supposed to go in this year, but because of a decrease in revenues, it won’t go in until my kids are too old to care about it. The stoplight we’ve been fighting for for years. Right now, the city can’t afford either, because tax revenues are down…

Now, tax revenues for the city and county are property taxes, not income taxes, and its hard to cheat there. But the point I am trying to make is that things are paid for with my taxes that I can’t afford to do myself, that benefit the greater community, and benefit me specifically. By cheating on my taxes, I only cheat myself - either with higher deficits to pass to my children, or reduced services - and I have very little control over which services they cut. Or, they could raise my taxes to cover the difference.

My sister was a VA nurse for a number of years. There was a pit thread this week about the VA - the victim of government cuts over the past decade (you know, when revenues were high). I think its deplorable that we have cut veterns services in the manner we have. Despite not being a vet, nor married to a vet, I feel an obligation to vets.

Although we pay a lot in taxes, we still live well. And I can afford to go on vacations anyway. And if I didn’t pay taxes, I would need to shell out that money in private security because the cop wouldn’t drive down my street every few hours. I’d need to buy bottled water for all my needs, because I wouldn’t be assured it was safe. I’d pay tolls for most roads. Private school my kids. My grandparents would live with my parents (that’s worth every penny I pay right there). And that’s not even getting into the things there is no substitute for that we’d have to figure out a way to pay for - the armed forces, the federal treasury and mint… I’m not sure that in the end I’d come out ahead if we’d privatize.

The government may not miss my couple thou - but if everyone cheated on their taxes it would be far more than a couple thou. Revenues would plummet. They system works when everyone (or at least the vast majority) do their fair share.

So, you won’t steal from the government because: It’s wrong.? No other actual reason?

Furthermore, you are saying that stealing $2,000 from the government is the same as stealing a new bike from the hands of an 8 year old, and so on?

Keep in mind we are talking about Federal income, not state or local, much different. Sorry I didn’t specifiy this, my fault.

If I had your mindset, which I do to some extent, I would withhold/cheat/steal the full $2,000 or so and estimate the percentage that would have gone to the things I consume, interestate roads and such, and use the rest to build my family life with a good vacation or good piano lessons for my daughter… or even better, give to charity.

Point being, the end result of you withholding your payment to the government means a better scenario in the end for you and no change in scenario for the government.

Unless your particular moral bankruptcy spreads and all, say, 10 million tax payers withhold 2000 dollars making the government raise taxes to recover the lost $20 Billion dollars.

What? Well why wouldn’t they stop paying like you?

I don’t follow. When did we start making up an additional hypothetical scenario. I said that only you had this chance. Everyone else has to pay. Come on! My hypo is outlandish enough… let’s not start saying that everyone in the US can cheat now… my hypo is reasonable, yours is ludacrous. Please don’t cheapen my thread with outlandish posts like this!