This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series Ten Things I Hate About Taxes

This is the eighth article in a series on taxation leading up to Tax Day, April 15.

F&E - Tax Code

To say that the tax code is complicated would be the understatement of the century. It is, in fact, far beyond complicated, so much so that no one in this world could possibly understand it. Depending on who you ask, the tax code is somewhere around 15,000 pages long. Regardless of the actual number, it is beyond the capacity of any normal human to understand.

This presents a serious problem to the taxpayer: how can he or she know that all the laws have been followed? More likely than not, something has been missed, or some error has been made. In effect, the complexity condemns us all immediately as lawbreakers. All it takes is enough will from the powers-that-be, and incarceration could be yours!

Thus, we live in constant fear, wondering whether we have made a mistake, and then wondering whether that mistake will get caught.

The complexity of the tax code is the impetus for many reform groups to promote their particular plan to “make it simpler.” And so we have the Fair Tax Plan, and the Flat Tax Plan, and others as well. However, even these ideas are sorely misguided as Laurence Vance has so eloquently made clear. Why? Because, just as I said in a previous article in this series, they don’t attack the root of the problem. We can simplify all we want, but without reducing spending the tax burden of citizens is not truly lessened. What is not paid initially will be paid later, and that with interest.

Complexity is a double-edged sword. While it does make it difficult for us to know where we went wrong, it also makes it difficult for the government to know where we went wrong too. However, we aren’t the ones pointing the guns here, so naturally we are at a distinct disadvantage.

I guess I’ll just trust in Turbotax to do the dirty work for me, and hope for the best.

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”

James Madison, Founding Father of the Constitution

Thanks to Vijay and Jean Paul for inspiring this installment.

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Dr. Norman Horn

Norman founded LibertarianChristians.com and the Libertarian Christian Institute, and currently serves as its President and Editor-in-Chief. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the Austin Graduate School of Theology. He currently is a Postdoctoral researcher in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #7: Caesar’s Benevolence | LibertarianChristians.com()

  • A few years ago, a friend an I were discussing an obscure section of the tax code pertaining to our particular situation. (Sorry, for privacy reasons, no more details.) I said that I did things one way, he suggested that was not allowed. I followed through by contacting a CPA friend, and she suggested that I was OK. My first friend, regardless, suggested that I was wrong. The CPA friend then contacted a tax lawyer, and he said that I was wrong.

    I decided to make things right. (Big mistake.) I self-reported the error with the IRS, refiled the affected returns and paid the tax “due”. Notice – I was never “caught”.

    Things went downhill from there. I was receiving as many as 13 letters from the IRS a day, each one adding threats, fines and penalties. It went to arbitration. The end result cost me several thousand dollars more than the taxes due.

    Fear is the right word … plus frustration. Disillusionment. Anger. It goes on and on.

    That is part of my “conversion” story from “conservative” to “libertarian”.

  • A few years ago, a friend an I were discussing an obscure section of the tax code pertaining to our particular situation. (Sorry, for privacy reasons, no more details.) I said that I did things one way, he suggested that was not allowed. I followed through by contacting a CPA friend, and she suggested that I was OK. My first friend, regardless, suggested that I was wrong. The CPA friend then contacted a tax lawyer, and he said that I was wrong.

    I decided to make things right. (Big mistake.) I self-reported the error with the IRS, refiled the affected returns and paid the tax “due”. Notice – I was never “caught”.

    Things went downhill from there. I was receiving as many as 13 letters from the IRS a day, each one adding threats, fines and penalties. It went to arbitration. The end result cost me several thousand dollars more than the taxes due.

    Fear is the right word … plus frustration. Disillusionment. Anger. It goes on and on.

    That is part of my “conversion” story from “conservative” to “libertarian”.

  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #9: Taxation is Theft | LibertarianChristians.com()

  • Alan Richardson

    Hi Norman:

    Just found your blog / site. Looks Great. I’m a serious minded Christian with Libertarian leanings [& a recovering Republican.] Great to see a site confessing both.

    A minimal state can only result from a re-capture of the primacy of Self / Family & Church Government.

    The main cause of Leviathan State Bloat, is the decrease of those more primary governments. Their loss has caused the Government to become voracious, controlling & contemptuous of any rival authorities, thus it attacks individuals, families & churches.

    It’s time to get serious about engaging in a peaceful campaign against the State (not just every April 15th), by recognizing it’s tactics, countering them, and re-establishing genuine self, family & church government.

    There are two main factors we face in regards the IRS / Taxation:

    1)Fear
    2)Ignorance

    Most of us have an abundance of # 2, which feeds our supply of # 1.

    We are ignorant of our Organic Law, the Constitution. How many know that US Income taxes are UnLawful, and why ?, Constitutionally speaking ? Heck, how many citizens can even give even a part of the Declaration or the Bill of Rights word for word ?

    If we don’t know our rights, we don’t HAVE any !

    The income tax is unLawful because any direct taxes must be apportioned – equally applied amongst all taxpayers. This would amount to a direct head tax, and everyone would know what that amount was. [No envy based theft from the more successful & productive. This was reminiscent of the Biblical precept of the temple tax: ” A shekel per person….the rich shall not pay more, the poor shall not pay less…..”]

    The founders knew in Europe that Kings would enact usurious taxes then apply them selectively to some & exempt their allies. This was why they specifically required the provision that no direct, un-apportioned taxes were allowed.

    A graduated income tax is simply Unlawful, period.
    They have not a single Law that required an individual to pay an “income” tax, on private sector wages.

    The Supreme court held, in dozens of cases mainly adjudicated in ther period immediately following the (purported) passage of the 16th Amenendment, circa 1913-1930, that Congress didn’t actually create any new class of ‘Taxpayers’.

    The IRS code nowhere defines ‘income’, preferring Americans to make the [demonstrably] false assumption that all their wages or payments are ‘income’. Since the IRS & Congress are vague on what income is, the only firm definition is given by the Supreme Court, which ruled that income is “profit or loss, as a result of gains on investments….by corporations.”

    Being in ignorance of the foregoing, and thus voluntarily’ assessing themselves – by violating their 5th Amendment right of Non-Self Incrimination- when signing a 1040 form, and in so doing, giving up their ‘Self-Government’ in the process.

    [I highly suggest readers (if they’ve not already) view the “Freedom to Fascism” movie by Aaron Russo, which shows most of the evidence just cited, and pass it along to everyone you know….]

    This is a HUGE consequence of the use of Government Schools by unwise citizens. The STATE attempts to control all things, as a secular rival to God.

    Once upon a time, Americans were genuine Christians, knew their children were held in trust to Christ & would have recoiled at the idea that it was the job of civil govenment to educate children !!

    They knew ministry of Education belonged to families, the ministry of Grace to the churches & only the ministry of Justice belonged to civil government – Genesis 9.

    A great ministry that has helped my family to recognize our duty, Biblically speaking, is the Chalcedon Foundation. They’re strongly Libertarian, if you like LewRockwell.com, you’ll enjoy http://www.Chalcedon.edu.
    Their blog is profitable as well.

    Studying this is like the layers of an onion – manyfold. God bless you & everyone as we, by God’s grace & doing the hard work of citizenship, reason our
    way to victory.

    Thanks for providing a forum for discussion.

    Alan

  • Alan Richardson

    Hi Norman:

    Just found your blog / site. Looks Great. I’m a serious minded Christian with Libertarian leanings [& a recovering Republican.] Great to see a site confessing both.

    A minimal state can only result from a re-capture of the primacy of Self / Family & Church Government.

    The main cause of Leviathan State Bloat, is the decrease of those more primary governments. Their loss has caused the Government to become voracious, controlling & contemptuous of any rival authorities, thus it attacks individuals, families & churches.

    It’s time to get serious about engaging in a peaceful campaign against the State (not just every April 15th), by recognizing it’s tactics, countering them, and re-establishing genuine self, family & church government.

    There are two main factors we face in regards the IRS / Taxation:

    1)Fear
    2)Ignorance

    Most of us have an abundance of # 2, which feeds our supply of # 1.

    We are ignorant of our Organic Law, the Constitution. How many know that US Income taxes are UnLawful, and why ?, Constitutionally speaking ? Heck, how many citizens can even give even a part of the Declaration or the Bill of Rights word for word ?

    If we don’t know our rights, we don’t HAVE any !

    The income tax is unLawful because any direct taxes must be apportioned – equally applied amongst all taxpayers. This would amount to a direct head tax, and everyone would know what that amount was. [No envy based theft from the more successful & productive. This was reminiscent of the Biblical precept of the temple tax: ” A shekel per person….the rich shall not pay more, the poor shall not pay less…..”]

    The founders knew in Europe that Kings would enact usurious taxes then apply them selectively to some & exempt their allies. This was why they specifically required the provision that no direct, un-apportioned taxes were allowed.

    A graduated income tax is simply Unlawful, period.
    They have not a single Law that required an individual to pay an “income” tax, on private sector wages.

    The Supreme court held, in dozens of cases mainly adjudicated in ther period immediately following the (purported) passage of the 16th Amenendment, circa 1913-1930, that Congress didn’t actually create any new class of ‘Taxpayers’.

    The IRS code nowhere defines ‘income’, preferring Americans to make the [demonstrably] false assumption that all their wages or payments are ‘income’. Since the IRS & Congress are vague on what income is, the only firm definition is given by the Supreme Court, which ruled that income is “profit or loss, as a result of gains on investments….by corporations.”

    Being in ignorance of the foregoing, and thus voluntarily’ assessing themselves – by violating their 5th Amendment right of Non-Self Incrimination- when signing a 1040 form, and in so doing, giving up their ‘Self-Government’ in the process.

    [I highly suggest readers (if they’ve not already) view the “Freedom to Fascism” movie by Aaron Russo, which shows most of the evidence just cited, and pass it along to everyone you know….]

    This is a HUGE consequence of the use of Government Schools by unwise citizens. The STATE attempts to control all things, as a secular rival to God.

    Once upon a time, Americans were genuine Christians, knew their children were held in trust to Christ & would have recoiled at the idea that it was the job of civil govenment to educate children !!

    They knew ministry of Education belonged to families, the ministry of Grace to the churches & only the ministry of Justice belonged to civil government – Genesis 9.

    A great ministry that has helped my family to recognize our duty, Biblically speaking, is the Chalcedon Foundation. They’re strongly Libertarian, if you like LewRockwell.com, you’ll enjoy http://www.Chalcedon.edu.
    Their blog is profitable as well.

    Studying this is like the layers of an onion – manyfold. God bless you & everyone as we, by God’s grace & doing the hard work of citizenship, reason our
    way to victory.

    Thanks for providing a forum for discussion.

    Alan

  • The best way to dispel fear is with knowledge. How many people know *exactly* how they become liable for the income tax? Can you answer the first question of my quiz at http://www.HowYouBecomeLiable.com?

    The subject of the income tax (the thing upon which the tax is laid) is:
    A) The income itself
    B) The person receiving the income
    C) The activity that produced the income

    If you can’t, then take the quiz! (It’s really a teaching device, not a quiz of what you know, and it takes 15 to 20 minutes). You will never look at the income tax the same way again!

  • The best way to dispel fear is with knowledge. How many people know *exactly* how they become liable for the income tax? Can you answer the first question of my quiz at http://www.HowYouBecomeLiable.com?

    The subject of the income tax (the thing upon which the tax is laid) is:
    A) The income itself
    B) The person receiving the income
    C) The activity that produced the income

    If you can’t, then take the quiz! (It’s really a teaching device, not a quiz of what you know, and it takes 15 to 20 minutes). You will never look at the income tax the same way again!

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