Every year, the IRS publishes its “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams it warns taxpayers to avoid; part of this is its report, “The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments.”
In its report, the IRS outlines some of the more common frivolous arguments, explains why they’re wrong and cites relevant court decisions. Besides risking criminal prosecution, taxpayers can also face a variety of civil penalties for engaging in these schemes.
Frivolous can mean silly or foolish, but looking at some of the frivolous tax arguments the IRS has faced, one might also call them funny, ridiculous or unbelievable.
Some frivolous tax arguments mentioned in the report include:
- The filing of a tax return is voluntary.
- Payment of federal income tax is voluntary.
- Wages, tips, and other compensation received for personal services are not income.
- Only foreign-source income is taxable.
- Taxpayer is not a “citizen” of the United States, and thus is not subject to the federal income tax laws.
- The “United States” consists only of the District of Columbia, federal territories, and federal enclaves.
- Taxpayer is not a “person” as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, thus is not subject to the federal income tax laws.
- The only “employees” subject to federal income tax are employees of the federal government.
- Taxpayers can refuse to pay income taxes on religious or moral grounds by invoking the First Amendment
- IRS summonses violate the Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure.
- Federal income taxes constitute a “taking” of property without due process of law, violating the Fifth Amendment.
- Taxpayers do not have to file returns or provide financial information because of the protection against self-incrimination found in the Fifth Amendment.
- Compelled compliance with the federal income tax laws is a form of servitude in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment.
- The federal income tax laws are unconstitutional because the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was not properly ratified.
- The Internal Revenue Service is not an agency of the United States.
- Taxpayers are not required to file a federal income tax return, because the instructions and regulations associated with the Form 1040 do not display an OMB control number as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act.