Sometimes when you see the super rich complaining that taxes are not high enough, I think to myself: “Why don’t they just pay money to the government without the government asking for it?” A new list of millionaires are at it again, asking the government to raise their taxes. The group calls themselves the Patriotic Millionaires. This brings about one question we should all be asking ourselves: is paying more taxes patriotic? According to the authority Justice Learned Hand, perhaps the most respected member of any of the United States Courts of Appeal, there is no patriotic duty to pay more taxes than the law requires. His exact words were: “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.” Gregory v. Helvering. So maybe asking to pay more taxes is not so patriotic after all.
But in modern times with a huge deficit in our federal government, may it be patriotic? Could sending the government extra money that is not due be patriotic? Even if it is patriotic, is that even possible? Answer: YES. You can send the government money that is not due to them. The federal government has a debt reduction fund to which taxpayers can voluntarily contribute. It has already brought in $1.7 million in fiscal year 2011, and brought in $2.8 million last year. If you would like to contribute to reducing the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt, TreasuryDirect.gov instructs as follows:
You can write a check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and in the memo section, notate that it’s a Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public. Mail your check to:
Attn: Dept G
Bureau of the Public Debt
P. O. Box 2188
Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188
The following are acceptable gifts to the fund:
- Money, made only on the condition that it be used to reduce debt held by the public.
- An outstanding government obligation, made only on the condition that the obligation be retired and the redemption proceeds used to reduce debt held by the public.
- Other intangible personal property made only on the condition that the property is sold and the proceeds from the sale used to reduce the public debt.
- Gifts to reduce debt held by the public may be inter vivos gifts or testamentary bequests.
I know that we will not be sending extra money to the government, but at least the Patriot Millionaires can now contribute as much as they want without the government having to raise taxes on us all.