This paper presents a response to the statement, “It is moral and ethical for Christians to practice tax avoidance by taking advantage of available deductions and credits. Taxation avoidance is defined as the legal structuring of one’s financial affairs so as to optimize the related tax liability” (Raabe et al, 2009). Accordingly, the paper argues that tax evasion is immoral, especially for Christians as it goes against the teachings in the Bible.
Tax evasion has become a common incidence in America, as well as, the rest of the world. Most individuals and organizations are facing the law owing to the practice of tax evasion, which has been held responsible for some of the economic problems that society is facing today. In relation to ethics and morality, researchers and academicians have worked to prove the existence of legal and illegal tax evasion practices (McGee, 2004). Accordingly, this has generated plenty of debate regarding the practice of tax evasion, as a conclusion cannot be drawn on whether it is moral or ethical to practice tax evasion. Those in support of tax evasion argue form the point of this practice is a form of tax planning. That tax evasion involves the organization and planning of one’s financials in such a way that individuals are able to save more by getting rid of the tax liability. By doing so, individuals have the ability to be happy, which is the basis of all moral and ethical actions. The unethical nature of tax evasion is drawn from the concept that going against the law is immoral (McGee, 2004). In addition to this, the overall financial system is reliant of taxation, and for that reason, tax evasion is unethical and immoral because it disrupts the proper functioning of individuals in a society.
Religious teachings also support the notion that tax evasion is immoral and should not be practised at all. For example, Mark 12:16-17 states, “and he asked them, “Whose face and name are these?”… “Caesar,” they answered. So Jesus said to them, “Well, then, Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar to and give to God what belongs to God” (New Living Translations). This verse is a clear illustration of the religious attitude towards payment of taxes. Paying taxes is one of Jesus’ commands to Christians. From a religious point of view, Individuals are expected to pay taxes at all times, and for that reason, those individuals that practice tax evasion can be said to be committing a sin through tax evasion. Paying taxes and living in accordance with the requirements of the law is part and parcel of daily living as illustrated in the bible and other religious books. For that reason, tax avoidance is immoral and unethical, as it goes against the requirements of both the law and religious teachings.
Tax evasion is considered as religiously immoral and unethical because it is a form of stealing, and it is a show of disobedience to God. Accordingly, tax evasion is an illustration of individuals breaking at least two of the ten commandments by God. In addition to the religious attitude towards tax evasion, accountants and economists support the immoral and unethical nature of tax evasion by explaining its social and economic implications, which are detrimental to society (Raabe et al., 2009). Tax evasion is immoral and unethical, and should, therefore, not be practised at all times.
“Mark 12:16-17”. New Living Translations. Retrieved from:
McGee, R. (2004). The philosophy of taxation and public finance. New York: Springer.
Raabe, W. et al. (2009). South-western Federal Taxation 2010: Taxation of Business Entities,
With Taxcut Tax Preparation Software. United Kingdom: Cengage Learning.
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