Facing a situation where if I report cash income, a lot of people would get in trouble. Would it be a lie to report income as zero when filing taxes?

Is abstaining from declaring income on paper a lie?

Thank you


As a lay practitioner you should make the fivefold offering (pañca,balī) out of which offering to the king [the government] (rāja,balī) which is akin to tax filing in the modern day. [Adiya Sutta, Patta Kamma Sutta]

Since taxes are legally owned by the government and not paying them would be misappropriating something belonging to the government which is similar to stealing. If you add false information in your tax return to get away with taxes then it is both lying and stealing. Also withholding information with the intent to mislead is also like lying.

Having said this by all means use tax planning / tax avoidance (legal) but not tax evasion (illegal). If what you are doing is illegal and there are sums owed to the tax authorities then it is stealing as iterated above.

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  • "Since taxes are legally owned by the government..." What is your basis for this statement? – Lee K-B Nov 29 '16 at 1:27

I believe so. It's breaking 4th precept thru and thru. One of the anisong (good karma) of holding precepts is troubles dont come to you (or staying out of trouble). Being accurate on ur tax form would def help keep you from getting into trouble with IRS. I feel your pain. I waited tables when I was in school. For $30K cash earned, you could owe IRS as much as $7K. Holding 5 precepts is a quality of an Ariyan. $7+k is a more than a fair trade to become one. If this year is too late, perhaps planning for next year?

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  • How do you think it's breaking the 4th? – Anton A. Zabirko Mar 23 '16 at 20:11
  • telling a lie, when one puts zero in the tax form. Saying (reporting) things that are untrue. – user5056 Mar 23 '16 at 20:18
  • That's what I figured too. Thank you for the perspective. – Anton A. Zabirko Mar 23 '16 at 20:27

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