Simple Liberty  



Tyranny of One, Tyranny of All

Taxes and Consent

Written by Darrell Anderson.

I would like you to consider a potential solution for allowing a general excise tax on retail activities, that foregoes any criminal or civil enforcement penalties, and thereby fully honors the concept of explicit consent. Of course, by definition, any tax that allows for explicit consent is not truly a tax but an association fee.

Any individual who cannot provide evidence of paying or collecting a sales tax is enjoined from using the political court system to seek adjudicative relief.

Without such evidence, such as sales receipt or invoice, no individual can claim standing for a cause of action within that particular adjudication system.

Could such a solution succeed in the current world? I believe so, although I doubt many statists would go for such a solution. Yet, consider the simplicity of the idea.

I walk into a store to buy some materials for a home construction project. With respect to drywall screws, I likely would forego paying any sales tax — drywall screws either succeed or they don’t, so I take my chances. (The same with buying wooden shims, etc.) However, regarding that new modern drill press, I might pay the sales tax in case later the press failed to operate and I needed to return the tool. That sales receipt is evidence that provides me standing to protect my property rights.

Suppose the idea was enacted into statutory law. I suspect that initially, most people would pay the sales tax on almost all purchases. Nobody would want to take a chance of contracting ptomaine poisoning from a spoiled can of soup and then have no available remedy for relief. However, over time, some producers would demonstrate reliable production quality and with the products they sell, and people would begin to take the chance of buying without the protection of adjudicative relief through the sales tax system.

Such a system honors consent because no seller would force any buyer to pay the tax. All sales tax collections would be by explicit consent of the consumer only. In fact, sellers would be motivated not to add a sales tax because they would want to provide the lowest prices possible to create more sales, but more importantly, reduce the time they must spend as an unpaid tax collector. Additionally, to encourage people to buy without paying a sales tax, store owners likely would institute a liberal return policy on defective products.

Retailers that have legitimized statism by applying for a corporate charter or a “business” license, likely would be coerced by the statist rulers to collect a sales tax. Thus, to compete with proprietorships and partnerships that have not similarly legitimized statism, many people would then decide not to incorporate or be licensed. Why become “a creature of the state”?

If people began to buy without the sales tax, and certain producers began to sell shabby products, you can be sure that in today’s world of almost instantaneous communication word would spread like wild fire and those producers would go out of business or change tunes. Nobody would buy such products when there is no remedy for relief.

Yes, before buying from retailers people could negotiate private arbitration contracts. I could negotiate an arbitration contract with the local hardware store or grocer. I then have an available remedy for relief for faulty products and still avoid the sales tax. However, there might be other costs associated with maintaining such a contract that outweigh the sales tax, especially if insurance companies entered the arbitration business.

Warranty contracts and guarantees likely would be rewritten to provide better consumer protections.

Yes, one drawback with the idea is maintaining those sales receipts. However, similar to other types of record keeping, those slips need not be maintained forever, just long enough to survive the standard warranty period.

Furthermore, the lack of evidence of paying a sales tax bars people only from seeking relief in the politicized “just us” court system. People still would have remedy available through arbitration, mediation, or private courts.

The general idea could be extended easily to all taxes. For example, any individual who fails to file an income tax return is barred from participating in federal benefits and services.

A radical idea, I admit. Not quite true anarchy either, but a peaceful transitional step toward anarchy. Certainly a rational solution to the problem of supporting the current statist elites, one that honors explicit consent to be taxed, and provide a transitory means of eliminating statism.


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