Lotsa talk on the web about the income tax being illegal. But what about the 16th amendment? Doesn’t THAT make it legal?
For the (vast majority) who agree with the legality of the federal income tax in the US, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution settles the question. It’s legal and it’s in the Constitution. Opponents of this view, however, challenge not only the validity of the 16th Amendment, but also the philosophical and ethical basis of taxation as a whole, but most especially federal – as opposed to local – taxes.
- The Supreme Court of the United States stated that the 16th Amendment “gives the government no new powers of taxation”.
- The US Constitution also states that no direct or unapportioned taxes may be levied against its people – and the federal income tax IS a direct and unapportioned tax.
- Amendments to the US Constitution require a 3/4th majority of the states to ratify them. In case of the 16th Amendment, fewer than half of the states have formally ratified this amendment, and therefore – technically – it is not legally binding.
Through a rather convoluted process, the 16th Amendment has, in fact, been ratified – even though only a minority of states have formally agreed. This apparently illegal ratification is the primary basis of formal claims against the federal income tax. Strong philosophical and ethical arguments have also been put forth over the centuries, and there is little doubt of their coherence and validity, both on historical, ethical and social grounds. This doesn’t change the fact, however, that – officially – the federal income tax IS legal. Right is might and try to see what will happen if you disagree (though some have tried – and prevailed!). After a detailed and exhausting study of this issue over the past few years, we do, however, agree that technically, this tax is NOT legal.