Pay Your Taxes

IRS building in Washington, DC
Every year by April 15th (unless that day lands on a weekend like this year), Americans are required by law to have tax returns filed for their previous year’s income. Occasionally I have met Christians who question the validity of paying taxes. One of them even promoted a website claiming that paying income taxes is unconstitutional.

Taxation has existed since Old Testament days. In Genesis 41:34, Joseph advised Pharaoh to impose a 20% tax on all food in preparation for a coming famine. God used the Egyptian government to save the lives of many people.

In Luke 3:13 when tax collectors came to John the Baptist to be baptized they were told, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.” Notice John didn’t tell people not to pay taxes.

In Matthew 22 the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus replied in verse 21, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Verses 6 and 7 from the same chapter says, “For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” 

God hates rebellion and so we should obey the laws of the land as long as they don’t contradict Scripture. One well-known Christian musician spent a year in prison for tax evasion despite his claim it was unintentional.

Another time I read about a preacher who was rebuked by the Lord when complaining about paying taxes. The Lord instructed this minister to thank Him that his money was being used to pay for the roads he was driving on. 

So if you owe taxes, pay them. If you don’t have the money, ask the Lord to help you. Jesus supernaturally provided a way for Peter to pay the temple tax for both of them. I’ve heard testimonies of ministers who had large tax debts cancelled. Where God guides, He provides!

“Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.” - Matthew 17:22

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