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This 2019 photo shows multiple forms printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page that are used for 2018 U.S. federal tax returns. (AP) This 2019 photo shows multiple forms printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page that are used for 2018 U.S. federal tax returns. (AP)

This 2019 photo shows multiple forms printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page that are used for 2018 U.S. federal tax returns. (AP)

Monique Curet
By Monique Curet July 26, 2022

U.S. laws support the collection of income tax, despite claims otherwise

If Your Time is short

U.S. laws about income tax requirements are in the Internal Revenue Code, found in Title 26 of the United States Code. The laws have been repeatedly upheld by courts.

A social media post that claims U.S. laws don’t support the collection of income tax makes its case using debunked information and features speakers who’ve been convicted of federal tax crimes.

"To date, nobody has been able to show that there is a law for the average American citizen working day in and day out to pay an income tax," says a person identified as Tom Selgas, in a TikTok video shared July 15 as a reel on Facebook. Selgas was convicted by a federal court in 2020 of income tax evasion.

The reel was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

In fact, U.S. laws about income tax requirements are crystal clear and have been repeatedly upheld by courts.

"There have always been individuals who argue taxes are illegal," says an IRS document titled, "Why do I have to pay taxes?"

The document continues, "They use false, misleading, or unorthodox tax advice to gain followers. The courts have repeatedly rejected their arguments as frivolous and routinely impose penalties for raising such frivolous arguments."

The IRS explains the law like this: 

  • Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to "lay and collect taxes" to provide for the defense and welfare of the U.S.;

  • The Consitution’s 16th Amendment gave Congress the power to "lay and collect taxes on incomes"; 

  • Congress "used the power granted by the Constitution and Sixteenth Amendment, and made laws requiring all individuals to pay tax";  

  • Congress authorized the IRS to administer tax laws, which are known as the Internal Revenue Code, found in Title 26 of the United States Code. 

Income tax laws are spelled out in Section 1 of the Internal Revenue Code, which "clearly imposes a tax on the taxable income of individuals, estates, and trusts," according to the IRS.

A second person featured in the Facebook reel, Sherry Jackson, who is identified as a "former IRS agent," was sentenced in 2008 to four years in prison for failure to file income tax returns.

Our ruling

A Facebook reel says, "To date, nobody has been able to show that there is a law for the average American citizen working day in and day out to pay an income tax."

U.S. laws about income tax requirements are in the Internal Revenue Code, found in Title 26 of the United States Code. The laws have been repeatedly upheld by courts.

We rate this claim Pants on Fire! 

 

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U.S. laws support the collection of income tax, despite claims otherwise

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