Is Taxation Theft?

  • Robert W. McGee


Those who take the position that tax evasion is unethical or a sin often do so because they view tax evasion as theft — the taking of property that does not belong to them or the failure to give up property that belongs to someone else, namely, to some government. If you are supposed to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and you do not, then you are depriving Caesar of his property. But can that argument be turned around? Could it be argued that taxation is theft, and that tax evasion is merely an attempt to prevent a theft from taking place?


Social Contract Social Contract Theorist Unanimous Consent Great President Privatization Literature 
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  1. 1.
    Nozick would say that income taxation is the theft of the fruits of one’s labor. Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia (1974).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. constitution, which made income taxation constitutional, was passed in 1913. Before that, the government raised the money it needed through excise taxes and tariffs.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
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    Much of what is now done by government can be done more efficiently and cheaper by the private sector. The growing body of privatization literature points this out clearly. For examples, see Robert W. Poole, Jr., Cutting Back City Hall (1980); Randall Fitzgerald, When Government Goes Private (1988); James T. Bennett and Manuel H. Johnson, Better Government at Haif the Price (1981). One way to minimize the tax bite would be to privatize as much as possible.Google Scholar
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    S.E. le Card. Gousset, Théologie Morale I, 504 (1869), as quoted in Rev. Martin T. Crowe. 1944. The Moral Obligation of Paying Just Taxes, The Catholic University of America Studies in Sacred Theology No. 84, at p. 59.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. McGee
    • 1
  1. 1.Andreas School of BusinessBarry UniversityMiami ShoresUSA

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