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Learning to Love Form 1040Two Cheers for the Return-Based Mass Income Tax$
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Lawrence Zelenak

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226018928

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226019086.001.0001

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Tax Protests, Tax Resistance, and Tax Cheating

Tax Protests, Tax Resistance, and Tax Cheating

Chapter:
(p.39) Three Tax Protests, Tax Resistance, and Tax Cheating
Source:
Learning to Love Form 1040
Author(s):

Lawrence Zelenak

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226019086.003.0003

This chapter considers the return-based mass tax as a vehicle for not paying taxes, in the case of tax protesters and tax cheaters. Income tax has been used extensively as a vehicle for protests by those at both ends of the political spectrum. A tax protest requires a tax that gives the taxpayer a choice as to whether to comply. The return-based mass tax gives that choice to almost everyone. Although there are obvious arguments against a tax system highly vulnerable to protests, the openness to protests may serve an important safety-valve function. The return-based tax is also susceptible to widespread small-scale cheating, by failing to report income and by overstating deductions. Again, although there are obvious arguments that this vulnerability to cheating is bad thing, there is also something to be said in its favor. From one perspective, it may create a sense that one is trusted by the government (within limits), which may foster a corresponding sense of trust in government. From another perspective, it gives the average person a sense of (again, limited) empowerment to resist Leviathan.

Keywords:   return-based mass tax, taxes, tax payment, tax protest, tax cheaters, government trust

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