48 votes

At what point do we stop paying income tax?

The government in its present state can’t sustain itself without the I.R.S., plain and simple.

In 2013 the federal budget was 2.9 trillion but the gov’t managed to spend 3.8 trillion, 25% over budget. The I.R.S. collects approximately 2.5-2.8 trillion a year so this revenue is the primary means of gov’t sustainability.

If we stopped paying income tax there would be no more IRS, TSA, NSA, DHS, DEA, DIA, DOE, ATF, EPA, CIA, FBI, and the list goes on…

So at what point do we stop paying income tax?

When cameras are in our homes? When the dollar collapses?

I’m familiar with the verse “Render under Caesar what is Caesar’s…” from Matthew 22:20-22, but I believe this is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. People often mistake it to mean taxes should be rendered no matter what. I found an article written in 2010 by Jeffrey Barr that dwells with this very topic.


I’m curious to know what you all think.

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Not what I meant

I'm not questioning whether such people exist. Obviously they do, some for conscientious objector reasons, some for other reasons.

I was just pointing out what the IRS says people in that situation should do if they have taxable income. In most cases, the IRS says such a person who does not now have an SSN must get one. The conscientious objector exception was the only exception I could find, and the link shows how to handle that case.

Maybe I'm still unclear on what exactly you're asking, but I'm not questioning that such people do exist, for a variety of reasons.

Then why did you respond in the first place?

Are you representing the IRS? I'm fully aware of why, how and when someone should get an SSN or TIN, thanks.

Then I don't know

what you were asking in the first place. You asked "then what?", and the "then what?" for someone in the situation you describe, as far as the IRS is concerned, is "if you need to file taxes, you need to get an SSN (or possibly PTIN)".

If you don't have taxable income, or do but aren't trying to pay taxes on it, the "then what?" is "whatever you want" because the IRS answer is only about what to do if you're trying to file and don't have an SSN.

Sorry to have wasted your time, but I can't figure out what you're asking.

So I'm going to ask again.

If you don't mind not responding, it would be appreciated. Thank you.

I'm interested in hearing some thought leadership, not responses with the IRS code and position as I already know it well enough.

What does this actually MEAN?

If I read all this stuff, will it answer the question I posed clearly?

Please please please go to

Please please please go to www.losthorizons.com and download the book 'Cracking the Code: The Fascinating Truth about Income Tax In America'. It is now a free book in pdf format, I believe. I have not found a more thorough examination of what the income tax is (and is not) anywhere. Get the book and read it. Please.

wolfe's picture

That WILL get you sent to jail.

I hate the fine line on these discussions that has to be walked because of folks like you. There is no "code" to crack. They are criminal extortionists. Try to tell the mob you don't owe them 10% protection money because you found a loophole in the family bylaws. Same result.

Tax Protesting = Honorable/Worthwhile
Tax Avoidance Scams = Stupid/Dangerous/Ineffective

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Are you ready to jump into the fight of angels and demons?

Or are you trying to preserve your worldly fiefdom?

If it's the former and if what you pay is the IV flow from your bovine breast to the beast, you are ready to rip out that IV and deal with whatever worldly consequences arise therefrom, then the question answers itself, right?

If you are not ready to jump into that fight and rip out the IV feed come what may, then you may or may not find some good worldly advice below.

You can stop paying taxes if you can do the following

You can stop paying taxes, with zero risk of potential trouble from the IRS, as follows:

First, get rich enough that you can live off of investments, and then quit your job.

Second, structure your investments so that you generate most of the money you live on from realized long-term capital gains. Stocks, mutual funds, lots of options for doing this.

Furthermore -- and this is crucial -- you can't have more than about $70,000 per year in *taxable* income (for a married couple) from these investments. If you have more realized cap gains than that, you need deductions to bring down the taxable income. See an accountant. You can have as much *un*realized cap gains as you want, your net worth can be growing by far more than that each year if you can manage it. You just have to limit the *realized* cap gains. This just means you have to keep track of the total realized gains when you want to sell stocks or mutual funds.

Now your tax rate is *zero*. Plus, since you aren't getting wage income, you're avoiding payroll taxes too, both the more visible FICA and the employer share that some people aren't even aware of.

If your lifestyle is too extravagant to live on $70,000 per year then this may not work for you. Otherwise, this is entirely legal, and a carryover from the Bush tax cuts. The IRS still wants you to file the return, but with no withholding and no taxes due the bottom line is just zero.

What happens if you can't pay?

I know quite a few people who are on 1099s so tax is not withheld and they are supposed to pay in April.

But some of them make bad business decisions, have gambling problems or go through an expensive divorce and simply don't have the money they 'owe' to the IRS. Assuming they file without payment, what can the IRS do to them?

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” William Pitt

What can the IRS do?

I'm not an accountant, and have no connection to the IRS except as someone who has paid more in taxes over the years than I'd care to add up.

But here's my understanding of that kind of situation. If they want to do it by the book, the IRS would want them to file without payment and contact the IRS about it. There *are* situations in which the IRS will agree to accept only part of what they calculate for you, and forgive the rest (if you can show that there really is no way the IRS could collect the full amount). There are also payment plans, etc. As with anything involving the tax code there's no one simple answer. Here's what google turned up, listing a lot of different options: http://taxes.about.com/od/taxdebts/

wolfe's picture

I can tell you what happened to me every time (multiple)...

1) File without payment.
2) Approximately, 6-8 months later they start getting fidgety and want to enter into an installment agreement.
3) Enter agreement, make payments, including on interest/fines.

As I recall the magic numbers were 12K, and 25K. If I owed less than 12K, they were fairly laid back about it and the installment agreement was virtually automatic.

Over 25K, is a different matter entirely. They will put you up for potential fast tracking which means you have about 3-4 months and garnishments, attachments, and liens start happening. But if you call them early enough, you can usually avoid that.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

You can eliminate the income tax by doing 2 things

You can stop paying the income tax when you stop the reasons for the income tax. The only 2 historical reasons for the imposition of the income tax in America was to pay for war costs (namely, the Civil War) and to pay for tariff reductions. So, if we end all foreign wars and bring all the troops home and restart tariffs, we can eliminate the income tax, without replacing it with another tax. The Founding Fathers intended that tariffs be the primary means of funding the federal government.

wolfe's picture

Or we could stop the war...

By terminating their revenue. Chicken/egg. I think it is easier to stop paying than to end the war machine (it has been with us for so long at this point).

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Money was made for war

If you terminate their revenue, then they will just finance this war machine with debt. Money was invented to pay soldiers to go to war to fight for other men's desires. You have to cut off the money to stop war, and that means all sources of revenue for it, including loans from banksters.

How can I reduce the taxes that my employer withholds?

The only reason I file is to get my refund.

wolfe's picture

That's why they do it.

If they take your money from your check, it forces you to file. If you "lie" about your dependents on your W2 in order to avoid paying extra tax and the whole refund process, they can prosecute you for lying and fraud, etc. (Jail time).

For your average "Joe", it becomes a catch-22. And it is more about them getting people compliant than any actual money that they steal.

The only real way out is to avoid it entirely.

There is a reason that the IRS -destroys- tax protestors (they have a special place in hell for these folks), is to try to avoid it catching on.

If people wanted to protest, they need to make a statement at the same time, to the public as well as the IRS itself.

File something along the lines of "1776" dependents or some other number to indicate your protest status. Then make it public.

If you do, more power to you. I wish I had those kind of balls. They are literally the reason I am poor instead of wealthy these days. But I do draw the line at behavior that will land me in jail.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -


I personally have already stopped paying the Federal Governments extortion fee.
It's a personal choice on when you will decide to stop complying with a Tyrannical regime. Peaceful non-compliance is the first step to enacting real change, and I have chosen to take that step. I know full well what the consequences are but I REFUSE to comply with this government anymore, I will not "spend" my hard earned money on killing people around the world, or to have a fascist government spy on me! The time is now for ALL of us to stand up and say "not one more Dollar of my money will be used to fund a government who murders people in my name" or tries to curtail my freedoms because they are "inconvenient" to their agenda!


Could you go into detail how you avoid income tax? Do you simply not comply? Have you filed anything? Move money offshore? What if any interactions have you had with the IRS?


I simply do not comply. Taxation is theft, and the government has no right to my earnings. No interactions with the IRS yet but i am sure they will eventually come.

Bump, thanks for the link.

Bump, thanks for the link.

it is part of the communist

it is part of the communist manifesto so you stop paying when communists stop running the government.

wolfe's picture


you stop when you are tired of communists running the government.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Income taxes are voluntary anyway

But the Grace Commission Report even says and I quote:“With two thirds of everyone’s personal income taxes wasted or not collected, 100 percent of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the federal debt and by federal government contributions to transfer payments. In other words, all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services [that] taxpayers expect from their government."

So not paying taxes won't make a bit of difference. They'll just borrow to make up the difference. Now the real question is, if people stop paying, does that mean our labor will no longer be used as collateral to have fed.gov borrowing massive amounts money?

wolfe's picture

The revenue is less important...

Than the act of withholding itself.

But before I go into that, the Grace Commission Report was performed in 1982.

I can assure you that the IRS has gotten far more efficient at collections since then, through favorable (for them) laws and technology.

If they are denied the revenue, they will be forced to get it from somewhere else, which will cause a massive collapse. They will be unable to fund themselves at even basic enough levels to sustain the collection machinery.

It's a solid approach. And the moral one as well. I do not want to finance killing brown children all over the world.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Me Either

Which is why I no longer pay my income taxes. Every cent is returned to me at the end of the year. I Redeem Lawful money.

wolfe's picture

One more point...

And I want to make as many aware of this as possible since the IRS "leads" you to believe otherwise.

Failure to pay your income tax is NOT something you can go to jail for!

Refusing to file is NOT something you can go to jail for!

The people that have gone to jail are people who have lied or tried scheming on their tax returns, etc.

They WILL make your life a living hell. They will illegally garnish your wages, and attach your bank account, etc etc. In other words, they will do it without a court order, judgement, etc. And the banks and employers will simply comply.

But, it's the little guy that can hurt them, not the big guy. Making an example of a guy who is delinquent by a million dollars has a huge cash payout for them, and easy.... Just one guy.

But 1,000 people, screwing them for $1,000 each is what will break them.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Not true, sorry

You can go to prison for not filing. See 26 USC § 7203 "Willful failure to file return, supply information, or pay tax". The good news is that you can't be sentenced to more than 1 year for each year you failed to file.

The IRS says it has been a "long-standing practice ... not to recommend criminal prosecution of individuals for failure to file tax returns, provided they voluntarily file, or make arrangements to file, before being notified they are under criminal investigation."

But it can happen. All Wesley Snipes was convicted of was failure to file, a misdemeanor. That didn't keep him out of prison. (He was charged with other things, but acquitted on everything else so all they got him on was failure to file. He also did a number of things that were stupid and guaranteed to get the attention of the IRS. And of course, the amounts involved were large, and he was a celebrity, so they wanted to make an example of him. But the charges that sent him to prison were simply failure to file a return.) Lauryn Hill is a more recent case in the news, going to prison for failure to file in spite of making restitution. It's not hard to find other non-celebrity cases via google.

The reason most people are convicted of things other than just failure to file is that most everything else they might get you on carries a heavier penalty. Claiming to be exempt from withholding when the IRS thinks you are not, for example. Doing anything they can interpret as attempting to hide assets from the IRS is another. Filing for a refund the IRS later determines you were not owed is a big one. If you're investigated, and they find that you lied to an IRS employee or that you destroyed relevant documents, they've got you for more than just failure to file.

Statistically, if you don't have large assets or income the chances of going to prison are very slim. A very, very small percentage are audited. *Even if you're doing one of the things on their "frivolous return" list*, which would carry a large automatic penalty if you're audited and potential prison time if you're a big enough fish, statistically your chances of being audited are low if the dollar amounts are low. Of course, the more years you do it, the worse it gets for you if they ever do audit you.

Even if they investigate, unless it looks like you've been deliberately trying to hide assets and so on on a significant scale or as part of some larger organization, they're unlikely to press for prison time. But as wolfe says the financial consequences can be brutal. They'll tack on huge penalties, garnish your wages, etc.

Federal reserve notes are not money

what do people pay with? They already stole everything worth anything: gold/silver