The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

I heard there is no law that says we have to pay taxes. Is this true?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Debate Round Forfeited
christinasmith has forfeited round #2.
Our system has not yet updated this debate. Please check back in a few minutes for more options.
Time Remaining
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/20/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 782 times Debate No: 111170
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)




The Freedom Law School challenges anyone to find a law stating that the average American wage earner has to pay income tax. Many people claim to have found the answer, but like any good lawyer will tell you, you have to read the fine print.

Read more :


During the course of this debate I will show that the Federal income tax is legally required to be paid by showing the fine print requested; furthermore I will show my opponent's source, The Freedom Law School, is not as credible as it may appear.

The US Constitution would be the first legal document which grants Congress the right to collect taxes, including income taxes.

Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States." [1]

The 16th Amendment to the US Constitution: "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." [2]

My opponent may be quick to point out the 16th is not a law imposing an income tax itself; it merely allows Congress the right to impose such " a right which is originally granted in Art 1 Sec 8 of the Constitution. That"s fine. Because the actual law was written after the passage of the 16th that said you will be punished for refusing to pay the taxes Congress has the right to lay and collect. Originally written as the Revenue Act of 1913 it imposed a 1% income tax on all income. Furthermore it prescribes punishment for those who would refuse to pay such tax. "That if any person, corporation, joint-stock company, association, or insurance company liable to make the return or pay the tax aforesaid shall refuse or neglect to make a return at the time or times hereinbefore specified in each year, such person shall be liable to a penalty of not less than $20 nor more than $1,000. Any person or any officer of any corporation required by law to make, render, sign, or verify any return who makes any false or fraudulent return or statement with intent to defeat or evade the assessment required by this section to be made shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be fined not exceeding $2,000 or be imprisoned not exceeding one year, or both, at the discretion of the court, with the costs of prosecution. " Page 171 Section F [3]

However for more modern times the Federal Government has reorganized all US tax law into what is called the Internal Revenue Code (Years: 1939, 1954, and 1986) to which punishment for refusal to pay taxes is described below:
Internal Revenue Code Title 26 " 7201 (1982): "Any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment thereof shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $100,000 ($500,000 in the case of a corporation), or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution. (Aug. 16, 1954, ch. 736, 68A Stat. 851; Pub. L. 97"248, title III, "R39;329(a), Sept. 3, 1982, 96 Stat. 618.) [4]

In short there is plenty of legal precedent, documentation and code to which allows the Federal government to impose, collect, and punish those refuse to pay the Federal income tax.

Now for the second part of this debate, to show that the Freedom Law School is nothing more than a poorly sourced conspiracy website. Let"s examine some of the claims made by the author Dan Behrman:

"... the supreme court had previously ruled a graduated income tax was unconstitutional because it was direct and reapportioned. The 16th amendment was aimed to fix that, but federal courts still rule that [sic] hte 16th amendment gave congress no new power, in that it gave the permission to create taxes, but didn't change any of the prior rules regarding apportionment."

This is a strange thing to write, the author not only does not actually cite a Supreme Court Case but also doesn't seem to understand that by no new power granted it's saying Congress already had the power to tax as describe by the Constitution, and the 16th Amendment which as above noted does not require apportionment, so it in fact did change the rules. Unless my opponent can find a SCOTUS case that nullifies the 16th this point by the author is meaningless.

Next he claims he has "done a lot of research" and has concluded you cannot go to jail as an individual for not paying taxes saying "In the US code which lays out all the laws regarding the income tax, there is only one mention of anyone going to jail for not filing. That person is defined in that chapter as an employee of a corporation." " clearly Mr. Behrman is referring to Revenue Act of 1913 which as previous quoted does say that " but what he doesn"t seem to know is that the current Revenue Tax Code 7201 (1982) refers to "any person" which means any individual. Clearly he has not done enough research.

Furthermore he tells a blatant contradiction and lie "I've also dug around to find out if anyone has actually gone to jail for not filing or paying. Not one. In fact everyone I could find who went to jail for anything related to the income tax had either perjured themselves by lying on their return, or had committed tax evasion." Tax evasion by definition is not filing or paying taxes. However Behrman claims "Tax evasion is not simply not paying your taxes, tax evasion is a compound crime of not paying your taxes by doing something illegally like laundering money." Again, this is an outright lie [6] and I pity anyone who would believe it.

A great example of a man going to jail for tax evasion would be Irwin Schiff who is described in the read more section as having "wrote the book on the IRS" " an interesting claim given Mr. Schiff was convicted of tax dodging, violating the above mentioned Tax Code and along with Tax Code 7203 (1982). [5]

And finally, a member of The Freedom Law School, Richard Thomas Grant, had his day in court to challenge the fine print of US tax law. To no one"s surprise, he lost and was convicted of tax evasion aka not paying his taxes [7].

In summary, there is ample text to show the income tax is legal and mandatory, and my opponent's source to deny this not only deals in outright lies, but does not seem to actually understand how Tax Law even works.

Debate Round No. 1
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 2
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Bennett91 3 years ago
Yep I wasted my time. Oh well I'll save this stuff for the next tax nut.
Posted by Bennett91 3 years ago
I hope I didn't waste my time in accepting this debate.
This debate has 2 more rounds before the voting begins. If you want to receive email updates for this debate, click the Add to My Favorites link at the top of the page.

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.