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Paying Taxes is Not Optional

February, 2020

With 2020 an election year, we are sure to hear a lot about raising taxes, lowering taxes, spending taxpayer money, and on and on. Going all the way back to the American Revolution, where the slogan "taxation without representation" originated, taxes have been an important topic to Americans. Some Americans even go so far as to argue that they should not have to pay any taxes. As a rebuttal to these arguments, the IRS has published an article titled "The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments."

In this article, the IRS describes and responds to some of the common frivolous arguments made by individuals and groups who oppose compliance with federal tax laws. Below is the rebuttal from this article to one of the most common arguments, that paying taxes is not mandatory.

Some taxpayers assert that they are not required to file federal tax returns because the filing of a tax return is voluntary. Proponents of this contention point to the fact that the IRS tells taxpayers in the Form 1040 instruction book that the tax system is voluntary. Additionally, these taxpayers frequently quote Flora v. United States, for the proposition that "our system of taxation is based upon voluntary assessment and payment, not upon distraint."

The Law: the word “voluntary,” as used in Flora and in IRS publications, refers to our system of allowing taxpayers initially to determine the correct amount of tax and complete the appropriate returns, rather than have the government determine tax for them from the outset. The requirement to file an income tax return is not voluntary and is clearly set forth in various sections of the Internal Revenue Code.

According to one of these sections "Any taxpayer who has received more than a statutorily determined amount of gross income in a given tax year is obligated to file a return for that tax year. Failure to file a tax return could subject the non-compliant individual to civil and/or criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment."

To read through additional arguments for not paying taxes and rebuttals from the IRS, the full article is available on the IRS website.

While paying taxes is not optional, there is affordable help out there to help make complying with the law and paying them easier. Legal Club provides Free Tax Preparation and Advice with every Family Protection Plan which includes free Federal tax return preparation, IRS audit assistance, unlimited tax advice, and a member portal with tax tips, tax law changes, a tax organization area, an IRS notifications area, and more.

Group legal plans from Legal Club provide a wide range of free and discounted legal care, tax, and identity theft benefits. Plans include access to over 85,000 online forms. To learn more about the plans offered by Legal Club, browse this website or call us at 800-305-6816.

Any accounting or tax advice contained in this communication is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. Free Federal tax return preparation is limited to one per household.

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