Reading about taxes doesn’t make you smile very often, but a little known page on IRS.gov offers a variety of historical -- and sometimes humorous -- quotes.
When it comes to taxes, everyone has an opinion. These quotes reflect the opinions of their authors; their inclusion here is not an official IRS endorsement of the sentiments expressed.
"Taxes are what we pay for civilized society."
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"The power of taxing people and their property is essential to the very existence of government."
— James Madison, U.S. President
"To tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men."
— Edmund Burke, 18th Century Irish political philosopher and British statesman
“I am proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is – I could be just as proud for half the money."
— Arthur Godfrey, entertainer
“People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women."
"No government can exist without taxation. This money must necessarily be levied on the people; and the grand art consists of levying so as not to oppress."
— Frederick the Great, 18th Century Prussian king
"Like mothers, taxes are often misunderstood, but seldom forgotten."
— Lord Bramwell, 19th Century English jurist
"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale."
— Arthur C. Clarke, author
"Next to being shot at and missed, nothing is really quite as satisfying as an income tax refund."
— F. J. Raymond, humorist
A tax loophole is "something that benefits the other guy. If it benefits you, it is tax reform."
— Russell B. Long, U.S. Senator
"Few of us ever test our powers of deduction, except when filling out an income tax form."
— Laurence J. Peter, author
“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”
— Albert Einstein, physicist
“Taxation with representation ain’t so hot either.”
— Gerald Barzan, humorist
“Where there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.”
“Income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf.”
— Will Rogers, humorist