Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentGovernment · 1 decade ago

Why do we pay Federal income taxes when it's unconstitutional? Is the IRS above the Supreme Court?

There is no law that requires any individual to pay an income tax on wages earned yet we've been led to believe it exists for almost 100 years.

Don't believe Aaron Russo's documentary...

America: Freedom to Fascism

(I tried to post the link but it gets cut off...just cut and paste the title in your search browser and check out the one that runs off the Google server...very very interesting stuff!!)

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Federal income taxes are NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The IRS is NOT ABOVE the Supreme Court. It just happens to be the case that the IRS usually acts within the law.

    Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution states, in part, "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises,..."

    Income taxes are legal under the Constitution because income taxes are INDIRECT taxes in a Constitutional sense. In HYLTON v. U S, 3 U.S. 171 (1796), a Supreme Court that included at least two of the original framers of the Constitution, Justice Samuel Chase stated, "...the direct taxes contemplated by the Constitution, are only two, to wit, a capitation, or poll tax, simply, without regard to property, profession, or any other circumstance; and a tax on LAND."

    In 1861, the first income tax law in the U.S. was passed. In Springer v. United States, 102 U.S. 586 (1880) (A Supreme Court case), the court had to consider whether an income tax on an individual was constitutional. The court stated, "Our conclusions are, that direct taxes, within the meaning of the Constitution, are only capitation taxes, as expressed in that instrument, and taxes on real estate; and that the tax of which the plaintiff in error complains is within the category of an excise or duty." Springer was the plaintiff in error. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the income tax law that was in effect in 1865.

    After the ratification of the 16th amendment, the Supreme Court in STANTON v. BALTIC MINING CO, 240 U.S. 103 (1916) stated, " the previous ruling it was settled that the provisions of the 16th Amendment conferred no new power of taxation, but simply prohibited the previous COMPLETE AND PLENARY POWER OF INCOME TAXATION POSSESSED BY CONGRESS FROM THE BEGINNING from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged..."

    BTW, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which later became the IRS, was established in 1862.

    The movie "Freedom to Fascism" is inaccurate, conspiracy theory nonsense.I suggest you go to and lookup almost every point in the film. I also recommend that you try and verify different quotes from the film from RELIABLE websites.

    BTW, the book, "The Law that Never Was" by Bill Benson has been completed refuted. Also, no court has EVER accepted any of the arguments brought forth in that book. Here is a court case that discussed the book. In U.S. v. Thomas, 788 F.2d 1250 (7th Cir. 1986), cert. den. 107 S.Ct. 187 (1986), the court stated,


    "Benson and Beckman did not discover anything; they rediscovered something that Secretary Knox considered in 1913. Thirty-eight states ratified the sixteenth amendment, and thirty-seven sent formal instruments of ratification to the Secretary of State. (Minnesota notified the Secretary orally, and additional states ratified later; we consider only those Secretary Knox considered.) Only four instruments repeat the language of the sixteenth amendment exactly as Congress approved it. The others contain errors of diction, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. The text Congress transmitted to the states was: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” Many of the instruments neglected to capitalize “States,” and some capitalized other words instead. The instrument from Illinois had “remuneration” in place of “enumeration”; the instrument from Missouri substituted “levy” for “lay”; the instrument from Washington had “income” not “incomes”; others made similar blunders.

    “Thomas insists that because the states did not approve exactly the same text, the amendment did not go into effect. Secretary Knox considered this argument. The Solicitor of the Department of State drew up a list of the errors in the instruments and--taking into account both the triviality of the deviations and the treatment of earlier amendments that had experienced more substantial problems--advised the Secretary that he was authorized to declare the amendment adopted. The Secretary did so."

    Although Thomas urges us to take the view of several state courts that only agreement on the literal text may make a legal document effective, the Supreme Court follows the “enrolled bill rule.” If a legislative document is authenticated in regular form by the appropriate officials, the court treats that document as properly adopted.


    A few sentences later in the same decision, the court continues, "Secretary Knox declared that enough states had ratified the sixteenth amendment. The Secretary’ decision is not transparently defective. We need not decide when, if ever, such a decision may be reviewed in order to know that Secretary Knox’ decision is now beyond review."


    Judge Fox's statement was in the context of giving an example. He was not making a statement of fact. The comments made by Judge Fox were made in passing, without judicial review, and in a case that had nothing to do with the 16th amendment. In the end, the Judge also said that he didn't think any court would ever set it aside.

    The Federal Reserve act was properly passed by Congress and does not require a Constitutional amendment. While the Federal Reserve Act was passed on Dec. 23, 1913, according to the Congressional record, the bill passed the house by a count of 298 to 60. 358 members voted out of 435, that's pretty good attendance. That's probably better attendance than the current House of Representative gets on most days. The Senate passed the bill with a vote of 43 to 25. That's 68 members voted out of 96. Again, that is good attendance.

    Finally, the quote by Woodrow Wilson that the film says he made in 1919 is false. First, there is no record anywhere that Woodrow Wilson said the first part of that quote. The rest of the quote is taken from Woodrow Wilson's book, "The New Freedom". However, "The New Freedom" was published in 1913! Also, the book is actually a compilation of speeches he made on the campaign trail during 1911 and 1912. He was really discussing corporate monopolies and not the Federal Reserve (which didn't exist yet) or the banks. You can read "The New Freedom" for yourself at

    The Federal Reserve is independently audited every year. Those audits and more are part of the Federal Reserve annual report to Congress.

    Look at all I have written refuting many points in the movie, "Freedom to Fascism" and that's only the first five minutes of it.

    There are many more quotes in the movie that are taken completely out of context and there are many claims in the movie that are just plain wrong.

    BTW, Sherry Peel Jackson, one of the people interviewed in the movie was tried for willful failure to file and tax evasion on Oct. 29 and 30, 2007. GUILTY on all counts. Sentencing will be soon and she will be going to prison. Additionally, SHE STILL HAS TO PAY HER TAXES.

    A few people have successfully beaten criminal charges, but that doesn't mean there isn't a law any more than O.J. Simpson's acquittal means there isn't a law concerning the murder of your ex-wife.

    To summarize, there is a law concerning income taxes, it is Title 26 U.S.C. If you earn more than the standard deduction, you must file tax returns. Wages from a job are income. Income is NOT limited to corporate profits. The Federal Reserve is not some great conspiracy. etc. etc.

  • 1 decade ago

    This is so old it's not even funny ...

    Look up the 16th amendment to the US Constitution, it's a law that states the following ...

    "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

  • 1 decade ago

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that income taxes were LEGAL in the 1920's and have continually said that it is legal. Those who continue to say this and doing so in hopes that they will get away for paying their taxes.

    Oh just to let you know look at what happened to Wesly Snipes in Flordia when he refused to pay his taxes because he believed the lies that your great leader put out.

  • 1 decade ago

    We pay taxes, because we are paying it forward. People before us paid taxes for roads, bridges, national parks. Now we are paying these taxes to keep things in repair etc. for those who come after us. I never whine about taxes for this reason. With no federal tax, we would be like the third world countries that you see on TV, no roads, no water plants, no bridges.Look at it as we are helping the future, our children, grandchildren etc.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Blah blah blah.

    More conspiracy theorists.

    Since when did Aaron Russo become the authority on law rather than the US constitution?

  • 1 decade ago

    Taxes wouldn't be a bad thing if they were

    a) fair, no I mean FAIR

    b) stop wasting our fricking money on fake wars and 150,000 toliets.

    c) no longer had lobbiest buying senators a presidents

  • 1 decade ago

    I watched "Freedom to Fascism" in it's entirety. As a liberatarian and a person who loves documentaries, I was hoping for great things. But I was very disappointed. I found the film to be intellectually dishonest and a vehicle for the filmmaker to further his political beliefs with blatant misformation.

    But don't take my word for it. From the NY Times:

    "Facts Refute Filmmaker’s Assertions on Income Tax in ‘America’"

    "...examination of the assertions in Mr. Russo’s documentary.. shows... they ... collapse under the weight of fact."

    "Many of the reviews in major newspapers have accepted as having some factual basis the film’s main contention, ... even though every court that has ever ruled on these issues has upheld the constitutionality of the income tax.

    "... Mr. Russo says ...that the Internal Revenue Service has refused every request to show any law making Americans liable for an income tax on their wages. ... Yet among those thanked in the credits for their help in making the film is Anthony Burke, an I.R.S. spokesman. Mr. Burke said that when Mr. Russo called him asking what law required the payment of income taxes on wages, he sent Mr. Russo a link to documents, including Title 26 of the United States Code, citing the specific sections that require income taxes be paid on wages. Title 26 says on its face that it is law enacted by Congress."

    "..Arguments made in court that the income tax is invalid are so baseless that Congress has authorized fines of $25,000 for anyone who makes them..."

    "... Mr. Russo says in the film that the 16th Amendment was never properly ratified and thus a tax on wages is unconstitutional. This claim has been made in various forms by thousands of tax protesters since 1913, and so far their batting average with the courts is .000. To buttress the claim that the 16th Amendment is invalid, the film displays a quotation from a federal district judge, James C. Fox. But the transcript from which the judge’s words were taken shows that while he spoke those words, they were in the context of laying out issues and that the conclusion he reached was the opposite of the words quoted."

    (ref: )

    And those pesky income tax laws he could find?

    The Income Tax laws are codified in the U.S. Code. Check out:

    The U.S. Code is derived from acts of congress. For the major acts passed by congress regarding the Federal Income Tax...

    Revenue act of 1862:

    1894 Income Tax and the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act:

    Revenue act of 1913:

    Internal Revenue Code of 1954:

    Tax reform act of 1986:

    (Must have not had Google)

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