Reading About Taxes Can Be Fun

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."
— Unknown

"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.”
— Plato

“Income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf.”
— Will Rogers, humorist


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