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Is there a law that states you must pay taxes?

Updated on March 7, 2012

Yes, there is a law.

While the original constituion was apparently written with the intention that the individual would not be taxed, the government found it could not support the country primarily through duties, tarriffs, and consumption taxes. In 1861 and 1862, the first income tax was imposed to help pay for the Civil War. This was repealed in 1872.

During the following years, the cost of goods went up, as the government was once again supporting itself on tarrifs and duties. However, this bred resentment and political strife, as some saw the tarriff system as protecting the weathy from having to support the government. Income taxes were reinstated in part with the Wilson-Gorman Tarriff act of 1894. This act, which was intended to lower tarriffs, included an amendment that instituted income tax.

While the lowered tarriffs were not approved, the income tax portion of the act was.

Unsuprisingly, there was some question about the legality of the act, given that the constitution did not allow for income taxing, and the wording of the original document could be construed to read that this was actually against the founding father's intentions. Therefore, in the early 1900's, the 16th amendment was introduced and ratified, laying to rest the governmental legality.

The United States Code, title 26, outlines the laws and specifications regarding income tax.

The main thing to remember whenever contesting that newly introduced laws and such are presented is that the Constitution, while the basis of our nation, was written in the 1700's, for a relatively small population (in comparison to the U.S. population of today). Given this, the laws and suggestions they put forth do not necessarily apply to us. The most important part of the forming of this country is not necessarily the U.S. Constitution, which is a set of laws that can and should be altered according to societal circumstance and advancement, but the spirit of this nation, found in the Declaration of Independance (which many mistake as a legal document).

Our forefathers left England because they were tired of the government ruling every aspect of their lives and treasured personal freedom. To stay true to their dream, that is what we must strive for. Supporting the government and thereby the country through income taxes is not a bad thing. It's when we support, or allow through inaction, invasive government influence in our daily lives.


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    • Tyhill27 profile image


      8 years ago from Red Deer, Alberta

      Great thought! Well written... I am also one of those who desire personal freedom, far away from the goverment affairs of political corruption. It seems our days have become just that. God help us...

    • that one girl profile imageAUTHOR

      that one girl 

      10 years ago from Washington state

      Thanks -- maybe I should write college textbooks, lol.

    • Mystress Gaia profile image

      Mystress Gaia 

      10 years ago from Blakeslee, PA

      That was a very well written informative read that didn't feel like a text book. Im impressed! Well done!

    • vrajavala profile image


      10 years ago from Port St. Lucie

      I'm really surprised that wesley snipes, of all people, thought he could get away with it.

    • that one girl profile imageAUTHOR

      that one girl 

      10 years ago from Washington state

      It was interesting research. I was a little surprised at the question, though, I had no idea there was such a myth. Funny.

    • CherylTheWriter profile image


      10 years ago from Humble, Texas (the ultimate oxymoron)

      Well done, that one girl. There's been a scam going around for a few years (or decades?) now that, because the Constitution doesn't provide for income taxes, they're not legal. Thanks for laying that urban myth to rest!


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