Brief History: Tax Dissidents


A color lithograph by Nathaniel Currier of the Boston tea party.

Americans have been protesting taxes since before there even was an America. (Hello, Boston Tea Party!) And while many may grumble about sending their hard-earned dollars Uncle Sam's way, the vast majority will return their tax forms by April 15. But lurking out there somewhere are those who do more than just grumble. They protest.

Much of tax-protest theory is concerned with the little law that started it all: the 16th Amendment. Tax deniers say the provision, which gives Congress the power to levy an income tax, was never ratified by the necessary number of states and is therefore invalid--a charge...

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