No, Religion Doesn’t Get You Out of Paying Taxes

A Nevada tax protester named Bret Ogilvie has apparently been using the Kent Hovind strategy to defend himself against criminal charges for tax evasion. A federal district court in Nevada has rejected his claim that paying taxes is a violation of his religious freedom. From the ruling:

Ogilvie also invokes the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) and the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses as affirmative defenses to the charges in the Indictment. With respect to the Free Exercise Clause, Ogilvie argues that the Indictment arises out of acts taken by the IRS and various government officials that impeded upon his rights to free exercise without compelling justification and not in the least restrictive mode possible. The Court does not doubt the strength of Ogilvie’s religious beliefs, and assumes, as it must, that the collection of income taxes significantly burdens his free exercise rights. Nevertheless, courts have routinely held that the federal government’s taxing power cannot be resisted on the basis of a religious objection, for the interest in maintaining an efficient and orderly taxation system is compelling justification for burdens on religious freedom…

Ogilvie also challenges the IRS’ income tax collecting role as a violation of the Establishment Clause, arguing that the income tax represents a tenant of socialism, which he describes as a religion that the United States has established. This argument likewise lacks merit, as he has not demonstrated that the income tax lacks a secular purpose, advances a particular religion, or that it fosters an excessive government entanglement with religion.

These arguments are so stupid that I’m amazed Larry Klayman isn’t his attorney.

18 comments on this post.
  1. composer99:

    Self-representation, perhaps?

  2. raven:

    Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

    6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.

    They never read their magic book.

    It says in Romans that the rulers are god’s appointed servants* and paying taxes is a religious obligation.

    There are a lot of fundie xian Kent Hovind type tax resistors around. They usually end up where Kent Hovind did, in prison. Not only don’t they know their bible, they are slow learners.

    They put themselves in prison. Normally if you just settle with the IRS, it is a civil matter and that is the end of it. They don’t want to put you in prison which costs the state money, they want you to pay your taxes.

    *God’s appointed servant in the USA today is a Kenyan, Moslem terrorist named Barack Obama. The lord does indeed work in mysterious ways.

  3. matty1:

    arguing that the income tax represents a tenant of socialism, which he describes as a religion that the United States has established.

    I understand all the words, perhaps its something about the order they’re in.

  4. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    arguing that the income tax represents a tenant of socialism

    Did Ogilvie specify how much rent income tax pays socialism, and what period of notice either party is entitled to if the other wishes to end the tenancy? Or is the solecism here that of the court?

  5. Trebuchet:

    No, Religion Doesn’t Get You Out of Paying Taxes

    Unless you happen to be a church. We could probably just about solve the budget deficit by taxing the RCC alone.

  6. psweet:

    Nick Gotts — I don’t see any quote marks, I think its only fair to assume the court got that one wrong. (Until and unless we see the original filing, of course)

  7. matty1:

    God’s appointed servant in the USA today is a Kenyan, Moslem terrorist named Barack Obama.

    In fairness at the time Paul was writing the appointed servant was probably* Nero Caesar so whatever he meant it was clearly not to identify government with good Christian.

    *I’m not sure how reliable the dating is on the original text

  8. D. C. Sessions:

    arguing that the income tax represents a tenant of socialism

    I wonder if the Court is just quoting the bad spelling in the original? Otherwise, is one of them claiming that taxes pay rent to reside in socialistic property?

  9. raven:

    Incident List: ‘Sovereigns’ and the Law | Southern Poverty Law Center
    www. splcenter. org/get-informed/intelligence-report/…/incident-lis

    A federal jury in Dallas convicts James Ray Phipps of tax evasion, money …. The Embassy of Heaven is a sovereign citizens group and church in Oregon that …

    There are a lot of fundie xian tax evaders.

    One of the leaders is a church in Oregon called the Embassy of Heaven. The members have been in trouble with the law for years. Scott Roeder, the MD assassin, was associated with them.

    Did you know xianity is the only source of morality? Yeah, no one else has ever seen it either.

  10. raven:

    I understand all the words, perhaps its something about the order they’re in.

    You need to translate it from Fundiespeak to English.

    Try the Babelfish one on Google.

  11. fifthdentist:

    Religion got Jim Jones’ followers out of paying taxes. And those space ship people. And many others who were killed by Christians over the centuries.

  12. jameshanley:

    “Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s,” said specifically in response to a question about whether they should pay their taxes. Mr. Devout Christian apparently hasn’t taken a close look at his holy book.

  13. raven:

    These arguments are so stupid that I’m amazed Larry Klayman isn’t his attorney.

    Don’t worry.

    The result will likely be the same. He is on trend for going to prison.

  14. slc1:

    Re jameshanley @ #12

    The entire quotation from Yeshua ben Yoseph of Nazareth is, “Render unto god the things that are gods’ and render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars’”.

  15. Bronze Dog:

    “Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s,” said specifically in response to a question about whether they should pay their taxes. Mr. Devout Christian apparently hasn’t taken a close look at his holy book.

    Ah, but you’re not interpreting literally enough. It only applies if the taxes are paid to a guy named Ceaser or if you’re buying pizza from a particular chain.

  16. tubi:

    “tenant” could be a transcription error. That would be in keeping with Ogilvie’s source material.

  17. Ulysses:

    slc1 @14 & Bronze Dog @15

    Only because it’s one of my pet peeves will I point out the word is spelled “Caesar”.

  18. Marcus Ranum:

    To get out of paying taxes, you have to be really rich. Then you can get out of paying taxes and even run for president, and 47% of the voters will cheer for you.

    Amazing, but true.

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