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Ethical to legally avoid taxes

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I guess you're right. This was just a bad way of me transitioning into sharing my method with everyone.

and yes, I do agree it would ethical to do so illegally, but reason ends were force begins, and "criminal" tax evasion does have a hefty penalty to it. I wouldn't mess with illegal methods do to that.

EDIT

I'm actually to make a topic describing the method in the activism section.

Edited by chuckleslord
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If i were to know of a way to legally not pay taxes here in the states, would it be unethical for me to do so?

(yes, i do know of a legitimate way)

I wouldn't say it's moral to avoid paying any taxes. There are legitimate expenses we should all contribute to. I am not pleased that some pay zero taxes...especially since some of them get a tax refund at the end of the year. Courtesy of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid...at our collective expense.

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I wouldn't say it's moral to avoid paying any taxes. There are legitimate expenses we should all contribute to.

Don't worry, even if you pay zero taxes, the amount you contribute due to the inflation caused by budget deficits more than covers your fair share of the legitimate expenses.

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Don't worry, even if you pay zero taxes, the amount you contribute due to the inflation caused by budget deficits more than covers your fair share of the legitimate expenses.

But that "contribution" doesn't go to necessary places we all have a collective responsibility for, does it?

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But that "contribution" doesn't go to necessary places we all have a collective responsibility for, does it?

I'll ignore the "collective" part and respond to the "doesn't go to necessary places" part: Sure, most of it doesn't go to the legitimate functions of the government. But neither do your taxes.

In a country where the majority of people are reluctant to pay taxes and do their best to minimize them, the government has no choice but to cut back on its excesses if it wants to remain solvent. So the effect of minimizing your taxes is to encourage a government that is more focused on its legitimate functions. Personally, if someone manages to keep his taxes near zero while making his wealth grow, I'll be thankful to him for it.

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I would say that it is absolutely moral to avoid or reduce taxes through legal means, just as it moral to participate in public programs funded by taxes, provided you have no hand in establishing or supporting that system. The system is compulsory, so it is not immoral to survive as best you can under the compulsion. Illegally evading all taxes has a feel of immorality to it for me. I suppose I could think of many situations that I wouldn't feel that it is immoral, but for the most part it seems so. The basis for that opinion is that an illegal tax evader is attempting to cherry pick the system, going on the assumption that tax evaders don't forsake all government agencies and programs legitimate and illegitimate. If a person had a chance to evade the entire system altogether thats one thing, but to seek benefit from injustice inflicted on others reeks of immorality. This is a you can't have your cake and eat it too situation. If you desire to evade the system, evade the system. People have the right to jump the fence and make a run for it, they don't have a right to sit down and demand their ration of confiscated goods that weren't confiscated from them.

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One of the mistaken premises you guys (scottd and Castle) seem to have is that taxes are specific to individuals. The great majority of taxes are levied on transactions, not individuals. For example, suppose that I somehow manage to avoid paying any income tax or property tax; then suppose that I visit a Ferrari dealership and purchase a vehicle, and that subsequently I spend significant amounts of money filling it with gasoline. The dealership has to pay a sales tax on my purchase, and the gas stations have to pay gas tax--both of which comes out of my pocket, of course. So have I been paying taxes this year, or haven't I been paying taxes?

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...So, continuing that thought, taxes aren't primarily there to finance the government, but to discourage trade. Regardless of what their purported or intended purpose is, that is what they achieve in reality, and that is what matters to us now. What taxes do is reduce the amount of wealth created in the economy, and thus they take their toll on everyone, regardless of which specific individual has to make out the check to the IRS. A transaction that is not taxed is, ceteris paribus, better for the economy than a transaction that is taxed (and much better than a transaction that is made impossible by the taxes); thus, if the two parties involved can find a way to avoid taxation of a transaction, they are doing a service to everyone who has a stake in the flourishing of the economy.

The amount of taxes collected right now is so far in excess of what is needed to finance the legitimate functions of the government that the question of legitimate government financing is simply not an issue. If you take a look at the U.S. Federal budget, you'll see that the overwhelming majority of it (excluding interest payments) consists of expenses that can be subsumed under the concept of wealth redistribution. Also, any new tax revenue will be spent on additional wealth redistribution, and any loss of tax revenue will cause an equivalent cutback in wealth redistribution--so right now, the marginal tax dollar is nothing but an instrument of wealth redistribution, and therefore an instrument of injustice. If you reduce your taxes by one dollar, the effect is that you have contributed one dollar to the reduction of injustice.

What would happen if everyone reduced their taxes to zero? The result of that would be that the government would have to look for voluntary contributions as a source of revenue, and it would have to limit itself to its legitimate function. I do wish everyone could reduce their taxes to zero.

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Do you want to say that individual taxes are a mistaken premise or provide an example of an individual paying taxes? Also, a dealership paying taxes is not a tax on you as you implied. One of the mistaken premises you apply is that paying taxes one has no legal way of avoiding changes the nature of what one is doing when taxes are illegally avoided while drawing benefit from the tax system. Paying a sales tax on a pack of gum doesn't punch a "payed taxes" ticket that gives the payer an ethical pass to work the system for maximum benefit while illegally avoiding funding for those benefits. The only ethical choices are to play by the rules while working to change them or exit the system if one can.

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Illegally evading all taxes has a feel of immorality to it for me. I suppose I could think of many situations that I wouldn't feel that it is immoral, but for the most part it seems so. The basis for that opinion is that an illegal tax evader is attempting to cherry pick the system, going on the assumption that tax evaders don't forsake all government agencies and programs legitimate and illegitimate. If a person had a chance to evade the entire system altogether thats one thing, but to seek benefit from injustice inflicted on others reeks of immorality. If you desire to evade the system, evade the system. People have the right to jump the fence and make a run for it, they don't have a right to sit down and demand their ration of confiscated goods that weren't confiscated from them.

We're talking about not paying taxes, not about demanding anything. What would I be demanding, by not paying taxes?

If there were ways to safely evade paying taxes, that would be the moral choice. Contributing to an immoral system, by choice, would be grossly immoral.

And no, there isn't a way to "exit the system", or "jump the fence". If there was a better place, in which government is properly limited, then going there would be the moral choice. Since there isn't, the moral choice is to limit your contributions to this immoral system to whatever you're forced to contribute. If you can get away with not contibuting anything, then that's the moral choice.

Seeking unearned benefits would be immoral, but refusing to contribute to a system that's forced upon you is not the same as seeking benefits. I think Roland already said it, but anyone who manages to create wealth and keep it away from the government is a hero of mine. If everyone did the same, we would live in a better world.

Paying a sales tax on a pack of gum doesn't punch a "payed taxes" ticket that gives the payer an ethical pass to work the system for maximum benefit while illegally avoiding funding for those benefits.

'Working the system for maximum benefit' is an oxymoron. People who are "working the system" aren't acting for their own benefit, they are leeches. The way to gain maximum benefit, is to work for what you have, in areas where it is possible, while relying on the system when, through no fault of yours, you have to (like using the roads).

All the while, it is a moral imperative to avoid helping the people who create this system in which private roads, hospitals, rails, energy etc. cannot exists, by not paying taxes whenever you have a choice. That is what it means to "work to end the system", without committing suicide.

If you help the system even when you don't have to, your actions are causing it.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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We're talking about not paying taxes, not about demanding anything. What would I be demanding, by not paying taxes?

Describe how you intend pay for military protection and other legitimate functions of government and I'll happily concede the point. These are provided whether you pay for them or not, and they are necessary. This is not to say that compulsion, waste, and abuse of authority under our current system is justified, just that you use some legitimate services that should be paid for.

Contributing to an immoral system, by choice, would be grossly immoral.

If I am reading your point correctly, I agree. We live in a mixed system, where some functions of the system are legitimate and some aren't. This must change. However, at the current point while the system is still salvageable the only moral choices are comply under compulsion while operating to change the system, or decided that the damage is too great and escape/destroy the system. Illegally boycotting funding of legitimate services personally used as part of a general boycott does not seem moral to me. Demanding free defense from people providing legitimate services to you on the basis that other components of the protective organization are flawed and unjust is unethical. Ethically, a total boycott of payment should be accompanied by a total boycott of services. The compulsion must be removed from government funding. The rampant corruption and waste must be removed from government funding. However, legitimate services are still provided and anyone enjoying those services has an ethical responsibility to pay.

anyone who manages to create wealth and keep it away from the government is a hero of mine.

To me, only if they manage full escape. Not if they do so while appealing to government protection from force and fraud. A hero to me fights or escapes. Not hides while expecting the other subjects to pay for his defense.

If everyone did the same, we would live in a better world.

The context given was not a large tax boycott movement. Such a thing would be a deliberate action of change or destruction of the entire system. Such a thing would be welcome (by me at least). No other information was given outside of a citizen in the current system not paying taxes, and presumably continuing to appeal to the system for defense. If the intended context was otherwise I've already made my point that general boycott combined with general refusal of use is moral.

And no, there isn't a way to "exit the system", or "jump the fence". If there was a better place, in which government is properly limited, then going there would be the moral choice. Since there isn't, the moral choice is to limit your contributions to this immoral system to whatever you're forced to contribute. If you can get away with not contibuting anything, then that's the moral choice.

There certainly is. Every scrap of land in the world is not legitimately owned, not do we live in a world without revolution. What there isn't is a way to exit the system or jump the fence while maintaining the comfort you are accustomed to. Having hard choices doesn't mean having no choices. I agree that limiting what you're forced to contribute is absolutely moral, if done through ethical means. Appealing to the rule of law while simultaneously personally defying the law is an unethical contradiction. If you have determined that defiance of the law is your only recourse then do so. Declare yourself an outlaw reject the system of law that you defy in total, including the parts that you like. "What you can get away with" is not a barometer of morality. The current system is a bullshit package deal for sure, but rejection in total or change from within are the only moral responses.

People who are "working the system" aren't acting for their own benefit, they are leeches. The way to gain maximum benefit, is to work for what you have, in areas where it is possible, while relying on the system when, through no fault of yours, you have to (like using the roads).

I agree. Name any tax that specifically funds areas of the system that the taxpayer will never rely on and I'll show you a tax that it is ethical to boycott. Show me a tax that specifically funds an area of the system the taxpayer personally relies on and I'll show you a thief. In your example of road use you pay for their use. No one is at fault for being caught in the system (until they advocate for it), but a person can be at fault for unethical use of a system. Name one illegal tax evader that has ever made a private contribution to pay for the defense and adjudication services that they needed to make their money. I would say he has acted morally then.

All the while, it is a moral imperative to avoid helping the people who create this system in which private roads, hospitals, rails, energy etc. cannot exists, by not paying taxes whenever you have a choice. That is what it means to "work to end the system", without committing suicide.

Whenever you have an ethical choice. Avoiding helping the people who create the system where private roads, hospitals, rails, energy etc. cannot exist while avoiding paying people providing services you personally agree are needed and the government's purview is not a moral imperative, particularly when you are not in a totalitarian state and have options. And there are MANY other ways to work to end the system, not just the singular way you mention, provided you are not in a totalitarian slave state.

If you help the system even when you don't have to, your actions are causing it.

I agree. However, the debate isn't regarding blanket support of the government because its super. The debate is whether you have the right to rely on the legitimate defensive services of the government without paying. Ethically, when you receive a desired service you do have to pay for it. "You provide me with a service that I want and agree with, but I refuse to pay for it" is not an ethical statement.

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Describe how you intend pay for military protection and other legitimate functions of government and I'll happily concede the point. These are provided whether you pay for them or not, and they are necessary. This is not to say that compulsion, waste, and abuse of authority under our current system is justified, just that you use some legitimate services that should be paid for.

I cannot pay for military and police protection, it is impossible. The military and Police are not allowed to receive donations. The best I can do is send a donation to various related charities. That is a shame, because if I could avoid taxes, and contribute to Police and military instead, I would.

However, legitimate services are still provided and anyone enjoying those services has an ethical responsibility to pay.

Once again, I cannot have an ethical responsibility to pay, as long as it is impossible to pay because the receiving party isn't accepting my money.

To me, only if they manage full escape. Not if they do so while appealing to government protection from force and fraud. A hero to me fights or escapes. Not hides while expecting the other subjects to pay for his defense.

I said that someone who doesn't pay is a hero. How did you take that, and turn it into "I expect people to pay"? You do realize that wanting to not pay, and expecting to pay are polar opposites, don't you?

If it were possible to pay for legitimate services, I would expect others to pay, and I would pay too. Since it is not, any talk of expectations to do so is pointless. I expect nothing.

Appealing to the rule of law while simultaneously personally defying the law is an unethical contradiction.

The logical conclusion of that is that voluntarily following immoral laws is the ethical choice, unless you give up all laws. That if you ask the Police in 1930's Germany to punish a person who murdered your wife and stole your money, because it's illegal, then you are obligated to also hunt down and kill Jews, because that's also the Law.

Appealing to law X and defying it is a contradiction. Appealing to law X and defying law Y is certainly not a contradiction.

I appeal to the rule of proper laws, and defy improper laws. That's ethical. Voluntarily complying with improper laws would be unethical, no matter what wordplay you used to prove that it isn't.

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Describe how you intend pay for military protection and other legitimate functions of government and I'll happily concede the point. These are provided whether you pay for them or not, and they are necessary. This is not to say that compulsion, waste, and abuse of authority under our current system is justified, just that you use some legitimate services that should be paid for.

How legitimate can those services be if they violate rights/are so inefficient they barely perform their proper functions? Sure they sometimes do the right thing, but I don't want to perpetuate the wrong things. One of the easiest ways to keep the system going is money. I think if you found a way to avoid taxes, the moral thing to do would be to not pay.

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One of the mistaken premises you guys (scottd and Castle) seem to have is that taxes are specific to individuals. The great majority of taxes are levied on transactions, not individuals. For example, suppose that I somehow manage to avoid paying any income tax or property tax; then suppose that I visit a Ferrari dealership and purchase a vehicle, and that subsequently I spend significant amounts of money filling it with gasoline. The dealership has to pay a sales tax on my purchase, and the gas stations have to pay gas tax--both of which comes out of my pocket, of course. So have I been paying taxes this year, or haven't I been paying taxes?

I think this is a good point and a good argument for the fair tax or solely a sales tax system.

However, those tax dollars do not currently fund our military.

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