So you think you don't have to pay taxes? Think again

March 7, 2011 at 8:13 AM ET

Leona Helmsley was famously accused of saying that "only the little people pay taxes" -- and was conviced of tax evasion..

Pretty much since Americans started paying taxes, some have been claiming that there are perfectly legal reasons why the Internal Revenue Service does not have a legal claim to their money.

The IRS is here to tell you it’s having none of it.

In a brief entitled “The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments” the Internal Revenue Service lays out in painful detail its rebuttal to many of the arguments the anti-tax folks have used over the years.

Planning to argue the Constitution says you don’t have to pay taxes? Here’s a quick response, courtesy of the IRS:

“Some argue that taxpayers may refuse to pay federal income taxes based on their religious or moral beliefs, or objection to the use of taxes to fund certain government programs.  These persons mistakenly invoke the First Amendment in support of this frivolous position.”

Hoping to skirt the IRS with the argument that the Internal Revenue Service is not an agency of the United States? You’ll find their response to that one under “Fictional Legal Bases.”

It reads, in part: “There is a host of constitutional and statutory authority establishing that the IRS is an agency of the United States. “

Since this is the IRS, it should come as no surprise that this is a dense document, filled with legal notes and the like. As an example, look no further than the IRS’s response to those of you who would argue that paying taxes is voluntary:

“The word “voluntary,” as used in Flora and in IRS publications, refers to our system of allowing taxpayers initially to determine the correct amount of tax and complete the appropriate returns, rather than have the government determine tax for them from the outset.  The requirement to file an income tax return is not voluntary and is clearly set forth in sections 6011(a), 6012(a), et seq., and 6072(a). See also Treas. Reg. § 1.6011-1(a).”

Still hoping to find a way around paying taxes? Before you do so, you might want to check out Section III, “Penalties For Pursuing Frivolous Tax Arguments." 

Still tempted? You might want to consider the fate of Leona Helmsley, who was famously accused of saying that "only the little people pay taxes" -- and was convicted of tax evasion.

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