Have a Tax Question? Ask a Tax Expert
We donot generally get involved with discourse concerning tax protest. Do you have a specific question?
I do not want to argue that point.
I can only say that this concept is only partially correct. It is the voluntary assessment and compliance part that has created a so called "Tax Gap" between those that are in compliance with the law and those that are not.
Many of our other laws are also based on voluntary compliance. Jay walking is voluntary compliance. But the criminal code is written in such a way that we are required by law to comply, and we can choose to disobey, which would be the same as saying you are subjecting yourself to getting a ticket for non-compliance.
It is this way in our tax codes. Our tax codes mirror the other elements of common law, in that it requires us as citizens and constituents to voluntarily comply to a legal requirement.
Think of easy pass. I love this allegory. When easy pass came out, it was touted as not to be used to assess traffic fines. It was voted in on that basis. Suddenly in NJ EZ-pass was being used to give traffic tickets to people who were driving too fast through the toll booths. This created the world smallest speed trap and speed zone of about 30 feet. Of which the trap was only about 12 feet. Everyone who bought a ez pass was voluntarily putting themselves in a class of people who were subject to speed zone enforcement at the toll booth. people without ezpass had no such exposure.
In new york two years ago they started a long term test in the north and western part of the state to test ez pass to track and catch speeders. So in NY EZ pass participants are once again placing themselves in class of people to get caught not in voluntary compliance of speed laws, at their own peril, where others who are not easy pass holders do not get that exposure.
Our taxes are the same way. IN my tax panel we talk about enforcement and the tax gap. The IRS explains it this way. (from the directors mouth). They have a hard job. They have to be the collection agent, the enforcement, and they still want to be a friendly agency. They have to balance the level of audits and enforcement with the tax gap created by voluntary compliance short falls.
voluntary compliance works when there is intermittent enforcement of the laws.
Every traffic speeder on the road is not ticketed. They only stop and ticket a few. The observance and presence of law enforcement in the course of their duties, motivates people to voluntarily comply...everyone slows down at the sight of someone else being stopped for speeding.
The same things goes with the IRS. Intermittent audits, occasional criminal convictions for tax evasion, and collection activities helps to motivate people to voluntary compliance and accurate reporting of income.
The IRS has noticed for example, that because of voluntary compliance and self assessment, schedule C filers are responsible for 65% of under reported income and expenses abuse. This is causing them to double the audit contacts of schedule C filers, to motivate people to voluntary compliance.
Because our system of laws is based on voluntary compliance does not mean a thing is not legal. It means we do not have to have a one to one ratio of enforcement agents to ensure each and every person complies. (can you imagine if we each had our own police officer watching us to force compliance of traffic laws?)
It is constitutionally legal to tax us citizens. (I hate it, but it is legal); our codes and laws have been developed to sustain the system and enforce the need and right to tax. There are 195 countries in the world, and all of them tax their people in some way. We all complain about income tax. But that is a mere distraction to a tax that is more evil.
property tax is a repressive tax. it prevents people form having and keeping wealth and property. School systems can increase taxes in some states once or twice a year, and it does not have to be voted on. This is more horrific than at least having political representatives vote out taxes. school teachers vote our taxes. during recessions, property taxes rise while wages and income go down. If you own a home to retirement, by the time you pay it off, the property tax bill is the same as the mortgage was when you first acquired the property.
If we can not get past agreeing that there is a distinct difference between the concept of voluntary compliance and breaking the law, we really are intellectually masturbating here.
I am not arguing with you that the system is based on voluntary compliance and self assessment. that is agreed.
but it is voluntary compliance with laws and regulations, which if broken, and not complied with, can result in criminal charges, fines and penalties.
I understand that some people do not view it as voluntary compliance if they can be jailed, or fined. After all, if its voluntary, how can we be charged with anything.
We can use a teleologic argument or we can argue from definitions and so forth. The key is on the word compliance. Compliance of what? compliance of the written laws, the codes.
There is a legal constitutional basis giving the U.S. the right to levy taxes.
AND the congress has voted laws into place that have been codified and we have to follow them because they are the law.
There is a whole different philosophical approach to the right of a state to subjugate its people and whether it is moral, which have been argued through the ages from Aristotle to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Bertram Russel, Tolstoy and others.
Yet despite it all, we still have laws to follow. Even Jesus is purported to have said: " "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's".
Whether he actually said it or not is not important. The meaning of it has been accepted to become, in part, that we follow the laws of man, but we worship God (Christ).
The constitution may give us rights, but it also preserves the right of governments.
The liability is really not to the treasury department, the tax obligation is to the government, presumably for the benefit of the people to provide services and benefits to all.
I wish I could say something that would make it understandable. For me it is clear.
The word compliance in the phrase "voluntary compliance" means Voluntary (regulatory) compliance.
In the legal sue of the word compliance it means: either a state of being in accordance with established guidelines, specifications, or legislation or the process of becoming so.
These laws are all crafted in legal language and not the common language. Meanings therefor become obscure and fuzzy.
I do not know why it is so perfectly clear to me, and not to you.
We are voluntarily in compliance with the establish laws of the land. By becoming volunteer compliant, I do not need a police man standing behind me, and I avoid prosecution for violating those laws.
We would be a nation of anarchy, if our citizens and residents did not voluntary comply with the laws. That is why we have a crime rate. Not everyone is voluntarily compliant. Many people get dragged away kicking and screaming to jail for all sorts of crimes.
There are people in Wyoming, Montana, and CT who are hiding away because of this same issue and not wanting subjugate themselves to the laws of the land; because they can not, or will not understand or recognize the right of the U.S. to place laws on its people; it infringes on their NATURAL rights of freedom, so they say. (remember the unabomber)
I agree that our tax code is bigger than war and peace and growing all the time.
it is complicated, and is often appears to be fuzzy.
here is my last argument on the subject to attempt to help you to understand.
In a man's home, he has children who are minors. A parent is charged by the laws of the land to raise the children and to be responsible for them. As part of that obligation and responsibility, a parent has to create rules, which on the surface of it, appears to violate their personal freedoms. Things like chores, bed time, going to school, etc. An orderly household require the children to voluntarily comply with the household rules. If the children do not comply willingly, then the parents have to discipline them by confinement (restriction and early bedtime) or other punishments...else there is anarchy in the house, and the parents no longer have authority.
Thank you for your comments and feedback. Best of luck to you.
I saw your addtional comments. I apologize if I seemed a bit to bureaucratic. The fact is I do not work for the IRS. On the contrary, I am a tax advocate and member of a Citizens Group formed to help the IRS fix some of its problems related to customer service, and cleaning up conflicting information in regualtion and on their website.
You see, Congress passed some laws allowing Citizen Advisory Groups. I did not like some of the things that came out of the IRS, so I decied to apply for an appointment to that committee, so I could help do something about it.
You to can get involved by contacting http://www.improveirs.org/
Of course I have 28 years of military and workign with federal regulations, so I guess that makes me legalistic at time.
Best of luck.