Don't want to pay taxes? Declare independence!

Appalled at the way that many of Florida's citizens were disenfranchised in the 2000 Presidential election, Reginald Hudlin and Aaron McGruder decided to do something about it. They wrote a book.

In Birth of a Nation, Hudlin, who wrote and directed the House Party movies, and McGruder, who is famous for his comic The Boondocks, imagined what would have happened if East St. Louis, one of America's most depressed cities, had decided to declare its independence. The story is pretty compelling, and it got me wondering if this could really be done. I think it probably could.

In 2003, in an effort to raise money, Boon Island, which is located off the coast of Maine, declared its independence and began issuing money and library cards. Although the project seems to have been an elaborate hoax, it still raises interesting questions. On the one hand, Boon Island is located within six nautical miles of the United States, which puts it well within the country's territorial waters. On the other hand, several other countries have carved exceptions to their territorial water claims in order to allow smaller, independent nations to exist. It's possible that Boon Island could have claimed a similar case.

One such exception is the Principality of Sealand. Located six miles off the coast of Suffolk, United Kingdom, the "micronation" is composed of a World War II-era British sea fort. Occupied by Paddy Roy Bates and his family, the tiny platform has its own flag, national anthem, currency, and passports. The United Kingdom has not officially recognized the sovereignty of Sealand, but it had acted in a way that demonstrates a de facto acknowledgment of the independence of the state.

Currently, the Bates family is entertaining plans to establish an online casino, while trying to sell their mini-state for €750,000,000. If you're looking for a prime piece of English Channel real estate, this might be the perfect answer for you.

Alternately, you could follow the lead of Stuart Hill. On June 21, 2008, he declared that his tiny Shetland Isles home of Forewick Holm, which he calls Forvik, was a "Crown Dependency," and thus an independently-administered jurisdiction. This, effectively, means that he severed ties between his two-acre isle and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union. He is currently accepting applications for citizenship, payable in Forvik Gulden, which are tied to the price of gold.

Admittedly, secession from the United States hasn't worked out too well for those who have tried it (I'm looking at you, South Carolina), but Key West has made its 1982 "secession" into a major tourism booster. As the self-styled Conch Republic, it issues passports, has its own postage stamps, and celebrates its independence every April 23 with a week-long festival. While not a genuine political separation, this certainly has had major benefits for the island.

So why would you want to be your own independent state? Well, for two reasons, really. The first is that you could have a direct, immediate say in the taxes that you pay. Rather than write a check for a distant bureaucracy, you could debate your tax bill with your leaders. In the case of Stuart Hill, I imagine that this is a conversation that he has with himself on a regular basis.

The second reason for declaring independence is the fact that you could make your own laws, as long as you can defend your sovereignty. This means that, if you want, you could establish anonymous banking, on the Swiss model. Before you know it, you will probably have drug dealers, corrupt government officials, and people engaged in painful divorces knocking down your door and begging you to hide their cash. You could also legalize gambling, enabling you to operate offshore or internet casinos. Between these two revenue streams, it would only be a short period of time before you were rolling in the dough.

Not bad work if you can get it. Now for the first step: find an island!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He's already scouting locations for the Independent Republic of Bruceovia. Anybody want to apply for diplomatic status?

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Banking Services 101

Understand your bank's services, and how to get the most from them

View Course »

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Cities with the Lowest Tax Rates

The total amount of tax you pay reaches far beyond what you owe the federal government. Depending on where you live, most likely you're required to pay additional taxes, including property and sales tax. The disparity between the amount of tax you pay in a low-tax city and that in a high-tax city can be dramatic. Living in any of these 10 cities could save you a bundle, although the exact amount may fluctuate based on your income and lifestyle choices.

Cities with the Highest Tax Rates

Much ado is made in the press about federal tax brackets, but cities can carry a tax bite of their own. Even if you live in a state that has no income tax, your city may levy a variety of taxes that could eat away the entire benefit of living in an income tax-free state, including property taxes, sales taxes and auto taxes. Consider all the costs before you move to one of these cities, and understand that rates may change based on your family's income level.

Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Generally, when you give money to a charity, you can use the amount of that donation as a deduction on your tax return. However, not all charities qualify as tax-deductible organizations. While there are many types of charities, they must all meet certain criteria to be classified by the IRS as tax-deductible organizations. There are legitimate tax-deductible organizations in many popular categories, such as those listed below.

A Freelancer's Guide to Taxes

Freelancing certainly has its benefits, but it can result in a few complications come tax time. The Internal Revenue Service considers freelancers to be self-employed, so if you earn income as a freelancer you must file your taxes as a business owner. While you can take additional deductions if you are self-employed, you'll also face additional taxes in the form of the self-employment tax. Here are things to consider as a freelancer when filing your taxes.

Tax Deductions for Voluntary Interest Payments on Student Loans

Most taxpayers who pay interest on student loans can take a tax deduction for the expense ? and you can do this regardless of whether you itemize tax deductions on your return. The rules for claiming the deduction are the same whether the interest payments were required or voluntary.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum