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What is the definition of "United States" for Income Tax purposes?

I keep seeing that you have to swear to being a "US Citizen" or "US resident" on tax forms.


You mean you guys have never noticed that it says "U.S. Individual Income Tax Return" at the top of a 1040?

Update 2:

Also, I don't see anything about the 50 states in Title 26, Subtitle A (the Income Tax Law).

Update 3:

I see that the 14th amendment says that a US citizen is 1) "All persons born or naturalized in the United States," 2) "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof ". This implies that some people born or naturalized are not subject to the jurisdiction thereof, correct?

Update 4:

It just seems to me that if a law applies to a place, then that place should be named. Does Congress really just IMPLY places to which certain laws apply? When you define a term within legislation, you wipe out any common meaning the word has. The mention of DC, Guam, Virgin Islands, etc. is describing a class of entity, and none of the 50 states belong in that class, since they are not Federal entities. That is what "otherwise within the meaning of the term defined" means. It doesn't say "otherwise within the common meaning of the WORD defined". It's kind of like mentioning "profit, gain, or income". They are all in the same class.

Update 5:

Waynzey- If they really did mean the 50 states, why did they waste their time defining "includes", rather than just saying "the 50 states" or "any state of the union"? It makes no sense- they obviously skirted around the issue. Any idea why? To keep it Constitutional.

Update 6:

In response to Waynzey's other answer to another question seen here: >>>“[W]e have rejected, on numerous occasions, the tax-protester argument that the federal income tax is an unconstitutional direct tax that must be apportioned. See, e.g., Lively v. Commissioner, 705 F.2d 1017, 1018 (8th Cir.1983) (per curiam)” <<< The income tax is not an unconstitutional direct tax. It is written to be perfectly Constitutional. It is an excise tax according to the Supreme Court: "...recognized the fact that taxation on income was in its nature an excise entitled to be enforced as such" Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, 240 US 1. The income tax is an excise, or indirect tax, applicable only to activities involving privilege, from which the people may opt out. A tax on cigarettes is a good example- don't like the tax? Don't buy the cigarettes. Working for pay is a right, not an option.

Update 7:

Hi Judy- The rate of income tax has gone up steadily from inception. Is that not upsetting? Where does it stop? Also, Title 26 was not part of the Constitution. It came into being in 1939! The only states to join the Union after that were Alaska and Hawaii. It sounds like you've given it too much of a rest. You may have stopped learning after your public school education, but I do not intend to.

Update 8:

Dear Waynezey-

Working is not a right? But not working is? I agree that if someone wants to sit down and never get up again, that's their right- they will eventually die, and it's probably better that those genes don't get passed on anyway.If they wanted to stay at home, make cute little flower pots, and sell them out of their home- they also wouldn't pay any tax!

Wow- there are a lot of beneficiaries of the system here, popping up with their support for the IRS et al. I will answer ASAP. Don't fret--

Update 9:

NGC6205- You are wrong on many counts, although I know that your understanding is the prevalent one. BTW- I never said it made a bit of difference that Title 26 is not in the Constitution. Someone else said it was, I only corrected her.

As far as the whole flower pot scenario- if a person keeps their private affairs private, there's no reason for the IRS to smell blood and think that there has been taxable income earned. Most of the time, a person's pay gets characterized as "income" by the person paying them (not necessarily their "employer" in the statutory sense). This doesn't mean it's true- it is a symptom of the widespread ignorance, and willingness to do what the folks with the big guns want, without question. The law has clues along the way, for those willing to read thoroughly. Income means profit, and in business, profit only occurs after expenses are reimbursed-- aka, labor in most situations. After the labor is paid for, any money paid in excess is gain, profit, or ...

Update 10:

..."income". I know that you have court cases to back up what you say, but so do I. I encourage you to read Hendrickson's "Cracking the Code", if you really do think that keeping an open mind is important. Those that have learned from reading this book, have received ALL their taxes back, included the ones called "Social Security" and "Medicare". There are scans of checks to prove it, at . The total is over $3 million now, and growing all the time. That says something about the true nature of income, and why you've often heard of the voluntary nature of self-assessment.

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'd say that sounds about right!


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    • NGC6205
      Lv 7
      4 years agoReport

      BTW, Pete Hendrickson's "Cracking the Code" has been proven WRONG. Pete and his wife Doreen have served prison sentences for following his theories. To put this as simple as possible, Pete Hendrickson, and any of his followers, are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

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  • 1 decade ago

    "The income tax is an excise, or indirect tax, applicable only to activities involving privilege, from which the people may opt out."

    One of the more fascinating tax denier fantasies is that excises are only on optional activities. The state and federal estate taxes are excises. So tax deniers apparently believe death is optional.

    "This implies that some people born or naturalized are not subject to the jurisdiction thereof, correct?"

    Correct. The most obvious example occurs when a foreign diplomat or diplomat's wife gives birth in the US. The child is not a US citizen by virtue of his birth in the US because he is subject to the jurisdiction of the US, having diplomatic immunity.

    Another fascinating aspect of tax denier thought is the bizarre notion that if a rule has an exception then that exception must apply to the tax denier. It's almost as if he were thinking, "What's the point of having an exception if it doesn't apply to me?"

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  • 1 decade ago

    What tax form are you seeing that on? I've been shuffling tax returns for over 40 years and never saw that anywhere.

    You are a US citizen if you were born on US soil or if you were naturalized. US soil constitutes the 50 States, and the District of Columbia and MAY include US embassies and consular offices in foreign lands. You are a US National if you are born on the soil of any US territory or possession, such as Guam, The US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, The Northern Marianas Trust Territories, etc. For tax purposes, US citizen and US national are synonymous.

    You're a lawful permanent resident if you have a Green Card, or for tax purposes are treated as such based upon the "substantial presence" test.

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  • Judy
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Give it a rest. There aren't a lot of new arguments for tax protests - and the ones that have been around have lost in court.

    If I remember right, there weren't 50 states when the constitution was written - since they had enough foresight to realize that eventually there would be more, it wouldn't have made a lot of sense to put in a number of states.

    And of course someone can be born in the US or naturalized, but no longer subject to US jurisdiction, if they have given up their citizenship.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Are you still going down the Tax Prostester alley?

    STOP IT!!!

    "United States" equals all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and other federal areas. There is no truth to the Tax Protester theory that "United States" only includes DC and other federal areas. This one has been tried many times in court and has lost every time.

    If you were born in one of the 50 states or DC, you are automatically a US Citizen. There is also no truth to the tax protester theory that "US Citizen" only applies to certain groups of people or that you can declare yourself a "sovereign individual" not subject to federal income taxes. This argument has also failed every time in court.

    Edit: I see by some of your other ramblings, you are a disciple of Pete Hendrickson. How do you feel now that he lost his appeal? Every time the CTC has been challenged in court, it has lost. Good luck.


    Your argument is not new. Here is a court case from 1993:

    >>>“Petitioner attempts to argue an absurd proposition, essentially that the State of Illinois is not part of the United States. His hope is that he will find some semantic technicality which will render him exempt from Federal income tax, which applies generally to all U.S. citizens and residents. Suffice it to say, we find no support in any of the authorities petitioner cites for his position that he is not subject to Federal income tax on income he earned in Illinois. ... Petitioner’s arguments are no more than stale tax protester contentions long dismissed summarily by this Court and all other courts which have heard such contentions.”



    >>>The word “includes” is also defined by the Internal Revenue Code. According to section 7701(c), “The terms ‘includes’ and ‘including’ when used in a definition contained in this title shall not be deemed to exclude other things otherwise within the meaning of the term defined.” The states of the United States are within the normal meaning of the word “State,” and so a definition that says that “State” shall be construed to include the District of Columbia does not exclude the states of the United States from the meaning of “State.” ......So where do tax protesters get the idea that “includes” might be restrictive? Mainly from wishful thinking and poor reading skills.<<<

    Edit...yet again....

    Working is not a "Right". I know a couple of people who haven't paid taxes in a couple of years because they haven't worked in a couple of years. You have every "right" to sit home and do nothing. You wouldn't pay a dime in taxes.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm going to take each of your points in turn. I hope you have an open mind to see the common sense in my explanations.

    Re: Swear to being a US Citizen.

    This idea is erroneous. Simply because the tax forms may be titled U.S. Internal Revenue Service or U.S. income tax or some other variation, it is not requiring you to swear to be a U.S. citizen. Besides, the income tax laws apply to U.S. citizens AND RESIDENTS of the United States. In most instances, if you were born in one of the fifty states, you are

    U.S. citizen. If you reside in one of the fifty states, you are at least a U.S. resident

    Re: Don't see anything about the 50 states in Title 26.

    The 50 states are part of the common definition of the term United States. When United States is defined it INCLUDES the states and the District of Columbia. The term 'INCLUDES' is not a restricting term. It is a term of enlargement. If I say that New England includes Maine. Does that mean that New Hampshire is not part of New England? No, it does not. The common usage definition of United States means, at a minimum, all of the 50 states.

    Read United States of America v. Ward, 833 F.2d 1538

    Re: 14th amendment

    Yes, some people born or naturalized in the United States are not under the jurisdiction of the United States, but not for the reason you probably believe.

    Foreign dignitaries, ambassadors, etc. are subjects of a foreign government and are here at their government's behest. Those people typically do not come under the jurisdiction of the United States. Secondly, people living in the District of Columbia are not citizens of a state either. The 14th amendment provided a concrete definition of citizenship for not only state citizens, but DC and U.S. territories.

    Before the 14th amendment, citizenship in the U.S. was dependent upon being a state citizen. After the 14th amendment, this order is reversed. Citizenship in a state is the result of first being a U.S. citizen. States no longer have the right to choose their citizens. U.S. citizens who reside in a state are citizens of that state.

    See The Slaughterhouse Cases, 83 U.S. 36, 72-73 (1873)

    See Colgate v. Harvey, 296 U.S. 404, 427, n. 3 (1935), quoting the opinion of Judge Woods in United States v. Hall, 26 Fed.Cas. No. 15,282, page 79, 81.

    See Saenz v. Roe, 526 U.S. 473 (1999), aff’g 134 F.3d 1400.

    Re: When defining a term in legislation you wipe out common meaning.

    No, you do not. This is a typical misunderstanding by a person not trained in law. See USA v. Ward above. Also see where the IRS has identified that argument as frivolous. Using frivolous arguments may incur a fine up to $5,000 each.

    Re: Why did they not just say 50 states.

    For the simple reason that you don't typically put fixed references into documents. If they defined the United States as "The term United States means the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.", if a state was added to the Union, all the statutes would have to be searched for that definition and then Congress would have to enact a change to every statute that contained that definition. That is a lot of unnecessary work. It is simpler to say, "the United States includes the District of Columbia".

    Re: An excise is a tax on a privilege and income from labor is a right which can not be taxed.

    This argument was squarely rejected by the Supreme Court in Charles C. Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, 301 U.S. 548 (1937): “But natural rights, so called, are as much subject to taxation as rights of lesser importance. An excise is not limited to vocations or activities that may be prohibited altogether. It is not limited to those that are the outcome of a franchise. It extends to vocations or activities pursued as of common right.”

    The argument that Congress can only tax “privileges” is also contradicted by the Supreme Court decisions that have held that the income tax applies to income from embezzlement and other illegal activities. See, for example, James v. United States, 366 U.S. 213 (1961). An activity is certainly not “privileged” if it is illegal.

    Re: The income tax rate has gone up steadily since its inception.

    Wrong. While the current income tax rate is higher than it was in 1913, there are plenty of times in the past 95 years where the tax rates were higher than they are now.

    In 1913, the highest tax bracket was 7.0 percent. In 1918, the highest bracket was 77 percent. In 1945, the LOWEST bracket was 23% on taxable earnings UNDER $2,000. The highest tax bracket was 94% on earnings over $200,000.

    In 1980, the lowest tax bracket was 14% on taxable earnings less than $3,400. The highest bracket in 1980 was 70%. Currently, the lowest tax bracket is 10% and that is on taxable earnings of less than $16,050. The highest tax bracket is only 35%.

    Re: Title 26 did not come into being until 1939 and not part of the Constitution.

    Most laws are not actually IN the Constitution. The Constitution provides guidelines and limits to congressional power. Congress has the power to pass laws. Once a law is passed, someone may challenge a law on Constitutional grounds and the courts will then decide if it is Constitutional. The courts have consistently held that the income tax laws are Constitutional.

    BTW, all laws passed by congress can be found in the U.S. Statutes at Large. For the most part, these are not available online. However, you can read them at most Federal Depository Libraries and at most law libraries.


    The idea that there may be rights or privileges that are exempt from taxation has been rejected from the very beginnings of the United States. In rejecting such a claim in 1830, Chief Justice Marshall wrote: "However absolute the right of an individual may be, it is still in the nature of that right, that it must bear a portion of the public burdens; and that portion must be determined by the legislature." Providence Bank v. Billings, 29 U.S. 514, 563 (1830)

    In Carmichael v. Southern Coal & Coke Co., 301 U.S. 495, 508 (1937), the court stated, "Taxes, which are but the means of distributing the burden of the cost of government, are commonly levied on property or its use, but they may likewise be laid on the exercise of personal rights and privileges. As has been pointed out by the opinion in the Chas. C. Steward Machine Co. Case, such levies, including taxes on the exercise of the right to employ or to be employed, were known in England and the Colonies before the adoption of the Constitution, and must be taken to be embraced within the wide range of choice of subjects of taxation...."


    Re: If they wanted to stay at home, make cute little flower pots, and sell them out of their home- they also wouldn't pay any tax!

    If they they sell 5,000 flower pots at $8 a piece and it cost them $2 a piece in supplies, their gross income will be $30,000. Their taxable income will be that amount less the standard deduction or whatever deductions they are entitled to. They are required to pay taxes on that taxable income. They might not get caught, but that does not mean they are not liable. If a person kills someone but doesn't get caught, does that mean they did not commit the crime of murder? No. It is the same with the tax laws. Just because a person does not pay taxes that they would otherwise be liable for, does not mean that they did not commit the crime of tax evasion.

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    • NGC6205
      Lv 7
      4 years agoReport

      Finally, no respected legal expert will agree with your contentions. Common sense would tell most people that if no expert agrees with their theory, then it is most probable that the theory is wrong. You are most definitely wrong. Now, do you have any common sense?

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  • Bob F
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I don't think you see that on tax forms. Non US citizens who live and work here have to pay income taxes too, so you don't have to swear to that. You might have to swear that somebody you are taking as a dependent is a US citizen or resident.

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