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This post was written as part of a series on tax excuses that don't work.

Those opposed to paying federal income taxes often claim that the whole system is optional and they choose not to participate in it. They claim that there is no law requiring them to pay taxes and they demand that someone show them the law that requires them to pay income taxes.

Well, okay. Here's the law: Section 1 of the Internal Revenue Code. "There is hereby imposed on the taxable income of [insert status of taxpayer – single, married, etc] ..., a tax determined in accordance with the following table..."

Additional sections of the tax code elaborate on the requirement to file tax returns and pay taxes. Nowhere in the tax code is there anything about taxes being optional. And yes, the tax code is in fact the law of the land regarding taxes in the United States.

You should also note that you can't get out of paying taxes by saying that you don't understand what or how to do it. That doesn't wash with the IRS. Find a tax preparer.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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