Top Tax Excuses: My religion prohibits me from paying taxes

This post was written as part of a series on tax excuses that don't work.

Tax protesters have long refused to pay income tax on the basis that it is immoral or against their religion. They further object to the use of their tax money, saying that certain programs or agencies are immoral.

How I wish that I could refuse to pay taxes because politicians aren't going to spend my money the way I want them to. But it just doesn't work that way. In exchange for living in the greatest country in the world, we have to pay income taxes and we elect representatives who spend (waste?) our money for us.

And although the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that our government can't establish a religion or prohibit people from practicing their religion, this doesn't exempt anyone from taxes. Requiring the payment of income taxes does not equate to mandating the practice of a religion.

Taxpayers are allowed to have differing morals, values, and religions, but that doesn't get them out of paying taxes -- even if the use of the tax money is objectionable to them.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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