Using Heaven as a Tax Haven?

September 12, 2008

"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

But what if you believe you are currently in heaven where all things are definitely God's? Such is the belief of one man in Iowa who has claimed he doesn't have to pay his income tax. Courtesy Des Moines Register via Joe Kristan's Tax Update blog:

A Marion man, who allegedly claims to be a citizen of heaven rather than a U.S. Citizen, has been charged in federal court in Cedar Rapids with making a false claim on his taxes.

Richard Lee Mellor, 53, has been indicted on a charge alleging that he sent a tax return to the Internal Revenue Service claiming a refund of about $240,000.

A press release from the U.S. attorney's office in Cedar Rapids says that according to information disclosed in court, the amount claimed represented the taxes that Mellor paid in previous years. Mellor allegedly claimed the taxes were paid in error, in part, because the United States is a fictional entity and he is not subject to the jurisdiction of the IRS.

"Mellor also allegedly disclaimed his U.S. citizenship and claimed, rather, to be a citizen of heaven," the press statement said.

This issue of whether you really have to pay federal income taxes to the IRS (along with the 16th Amendment ratification question) is one of our most frequent questions received here at the Tax Foundation, along with "Have you heard of the FairTax?" and "Where's my stimulus check?"

Our answers are yes, yes, and call the IRS, respectively.

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