Paying taxes is voluntary
Paying taxes is voluntary
While the IRS states in some of its tax publications that it operates a system of "voluntary compliance," it doesn't mean paying your taxes and filing a return is optional.

The word "voluntary," the IRS explains, simply refers to its system of allowing taxpayers to initially calculate the amount of taxes they owe and fill out their own returns, instead of having the government do it for them.

Nevertheless, the IRS has had to reject many court cases over the years where defendants argue that they don't have to file.

"Any taxpayer who has received more than a statutorily determined amount of gross income is obligated to file a return," the IRS said in a statement. "Failure to file a tax return could subject the non-complying individual to criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment, as well as civil penalties."

By Blake Ellis @CNNMoney - Last updated April 06 2012: 8:09 PM ET
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