Some argue that taxpayers may refuse to pay federal income taxes based on their religious or moral beliefs, or objection to the use of taxes to fund certain government programs.  These persons mistakenly invoke the First Amendment in support of this frivolous position.

The Law: The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  The First Amendment, however, does not provide a right to refuse to pay income taxes on religious or moral grounds, or because taxes are used to fund government programs opposed by the taxpayer.  Nor does the First Amendment protect commercial speech or speech that aids or incites taxpayers to unlawfully refuse to pay federal income taxes, including speech that promotes abusive tax avoidance schemes

Taxpayers can refuse to pay income taxes on religious or moral grounds by invoking the First Amendment.

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