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.