"The dog ate my homework" is the old excuse for failing to turn in projects and papers during grade school. As we get older, our excuses tend to get more sophisticated.
When it comes to filing tax returns, however, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is not impressed with even the most eloquent justifications. It calls such excuses "frivolous arguments" and has imposed thousands of dollars in fines on those who pursue such cases.
Here are 10 of the most common arguments taxpayers use in an attempt to avoid paying the federal government:
- "Filing a tax return is voluntary, so I only have to do it if I want to."
- "If I simply state that I earned no income in the past year, I can avoid getting taxed."
- "An administrative summons is not important, and I can ignore it."
- "Money I earn from tips is not real income and isn't worth reporting."
- "My military retirement pay (MRP) isn't taxable income."
- "I am a citizen of Connecticut, not the United States in general, so I only choose to pay state taxes, not federal taxes."
- "Because of my religious beliefs, I am not required to pay income taxes that fund programs I disapprove of."
- "An IRS summons is a violation of my Fourth Amendment rights."
- "The IRS is a private corporation and doesn't have the authority to enforce federal tax law."
- "I don't need to file a return because the government will do it for me."
All these statements are either myths or invalid arguments. Failing to file an accurate Connecticut or federal tax return is a serious matter that comes with serious consequences.
If you have questions or concerns about how the tax law applies to you, do not hesitate to consult an experienced attorney.