I’m always telling people not to mess with the IRS. Find out what you owe and pay your taxes -- because it’s the right thing to do and because if and when the government catches up with you it may not be pretty.
Still, there are people who test the law. They come up with all kinds of ways to convince the IRS that they don’t have to pay their taxes.
One taxpayer claimed that his Social Security number was the “the mark of the beast,” referring to Bible passages, and that if he filled his taxes he would go to Hell.
“I believe that the individuals making this claim are more motivated by the alleged tax savings than by their sincerely held religious beliefs,” Frank Sommerville, a tax lawyer at Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C in Texas, told Blake Ellis of CNNMoney.com. “When these claims wind up in court, all the judges dismiss the ‘mark of the beast’ claims and hold that the scheme is just another tax scam.”
Here are some other bizarre arguments concocted by taxpayers who are trying to get out of paying Uncle Sam:
--My state isn’t part of the United States of America. A man from Indiana refused to pay his taxes by claiming that “he is not a citizen of the United States, but rather, that he is a freeborn, natural individual, a citizen of the State of Indiana, and a `master’ -- not a `servant’ -- of this government,” according to federal court documents. The claim didn’t work.
The 14th amendment of the Constitution states that anyone born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen of both the country and the state where they reside. Fines for making this argument can range as high as $25,000, depending on the severity of the case and the amount owed, reports Ellis.
--I am not human. The IRS has rejected claims from taxpayers who don’t consider themselves to be a “person.”
---It’s against my religion. One man said his First Amendment rights exempt him from paying taxes because of his religious objections to the government’s military spending. The case was dismissed. The man was fined $5,000.
National Financial Literacy Month
April has been designated as National Financial Literacy Month. Take some time this month to further your financial education. To get you started, here are two articles: a primer on investing and a guide to teaching children how to manage their finances before they have to take on adult responsibilities.
-- Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, has been writing about kids and money for years. I love her advice. She recently revisited her four-point plan to help parents groom their kids to be good stewards over their finances.