The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Taxes

If you make any money, the Government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don't get wet, you can keep. ~Will Rogers, 1914, as quoted in Bryan B. Sterling, The Best of Will Rogers, 1979

America is a land of taxation that was founded to avoid taxation. ~Laurence J. Peter, Peter's Quotations: Ideas For Our Time, 1977

The best things in life are free, but sooner or later the government will find a way to tax them. ~Author unknown

The United States has a system of taxation by confession. That a people so numerous, scattered and individualistic annually assesses itself with a tax liability, often in highly burdensome amounts, is a reassuring sign of the stability and vitality of our system of self-government. ~Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, United States v. Kahriger, 1953

Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30¢? ~Peg Bracken, "A Dollar Is a Sometime Thing," I Didn't Come Here To Argue

Taxes are paid in the sweat of every man who labors. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1932

The Income Tax has made more Liars out of the American people than Golf has. Even when you make one out on the level, you don't know when it's through if you are a Crook or a Martyr. ~Will Rogers

RIGHTFUL TAXATION IS THE PRICE OF SOCIAL ORDER. In other words, it is that portion of the citizen's property which he yields up to the government in order to provide for the protection of all the rest. It is not to be wantonly levied on the citizen, nor levied at all except in return for benefits conferred. The individual pays... then he has the broad mantle of the law spread over him, to protect him when he sleeps and defend him when he awakes. ~Edward Archbold, 1848

POTHINUS.  [bitterly]  Is it possible that Cæsar, the conqueror of the world, has time to occupy himself with such a trifle as our taxes?
CÆSAR.  My friend: taxes are the chief business of a conqueror of the world.
~Bernard Shaw, Cæsar and Cleopatra, 1899

Did you ever notice:  when you put the two words "The" and "IRS" together, it spells "THEIRS"? ~Soupy Sales

Intaxication:  euphoria at getting a refund from the IRS, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with. ~Greg Oetjen, Washington Post contest, 1998

But everybody violates the tax laws. The whole point of the U.S. tax system is to be so complicated that no normal human can conform to it, or even think about it for more than 10 seconds without bleeding from the forehead. This system enables the Internal Revenue Service to select random taxpayers for audit with 100 percent confidence that they will be guilty of something, even if they live in isolated wilderness areas and measure their annual income in squirrel meat. ~Dave Barry, 1997,

Things as certain as Death and Taxes, can be more firmly believ'd... ~Daniel Defoe, The Political History of the Devil, 1726

"It was as true," said Mr. Barkis, "as turnips is. It was as true," said Mr. Barkis, nodding his nightcap, which was his only means of emphasis, "as taxes is. And nothing 's truer than them." ~Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849

There may be liberty and justice for all, but there are tax breaks only for some. ~Martin A. Sullivan, unverified

A government bond is a financial device to give you back some of the money you paid in taxes. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968

A tariff is like a tax, but it's a little bit bitchy. ~Saturday Night Live, "Weekend Update," 2019, written by Che, Jost, Sublette, et al.  [S45, E9, Chen Biao]

Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today. ~Herman Wouk

I shall not make use of slang or vulgarity upon any occasion or under any circumstances, and shall never use profanity except in discussing house rent and taxes. Indeed, upon second thought, I will not even use it then, for it is unchristian, inelegant, and degrading — though to speak truly I do not see how house rent and taxes are going to be discussed worth a cent without it. ~Mark Twain, 1869

Capital punishment — the income tax. ~Life, "Life Lines," 1921

You are going to need sales taxes, both Federal and State, income tax, and a lot of other kinds. It's a great country but you can't live in it for nothing. ~Will Rogers (1879–1935)

It's income-tax time again, Americans:  time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil and stab yourself in the aorta. ~Dave Barry, 1996,

The average taxpayer believes in only one kind of government handout — the kind that takes the government's hand out of his pocket. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968

People try to live within their income so they can afford to pay taxes to a government that can't live within its income. ~Robert Half, unverified

Taxation is the price which we pay for civilization, for our social, civil and political institutions, for the security of life and property, and without which, we must resort to the law of force... [T]axes are not to be considered a grievance, but as our fair contribution for the common good... ~John N. Pomeroy, Waitstill R. Ranney, and Timothy P. Redfield, Report of the Committee Appointed by the Governor to Take into Consideration the Financial Affairs of the State of Vermont, 1851

The village had its one poor street, with its poor brewery, poor tannery, poor tavern, poor stable-yard for relays of post-horses, poor fountain, all usual poor appointments. It had its poor people too. All its people were poor, and many of them were sitting at their doors, shredding spare onions and the like for supper, while many were at the fountain, washing leaves, and grasses, and any such small yieldings of the earth that could be eaten. Expressive signs of what made them poor, were not wanting; the tax for the state, the tax for the church, the tax for the lord, tax local and tax general, were to be paid here and to be paid there, according to solemn inscription in the little village, until the wonder was, that there was any village left unswallowed. ~Charles Dickens (1812–1870)

Back then, government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases:  If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. ~Ronald Reagan, 1986

Tea, coffee, spirits, laces, silks, and spice,
And sundry drugs that bear a noble price,
Are bought for little, but, ere sold, the things
Are deeply charged for duty of the king's.
~George Crabbe (1754–1832), "Barnaby, the Shopman"

A person doesn't know how much he has to be thankful for until he has to pay taxes on it. ~"Gem of the Day," Ann Landers, 1995 April 27th

Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery. ~Calvin Coolidge

The crime of taxation is not in the taking of it, it's in the way that it's spent. ~Will Rogers (1879–1935)

U.S. Internal Revenue Service:  an agency modeled after the revenue raising concepts of the 19th century economist, Jesse James. ~Robert Brault,

You don't even pay taxes — they take tax! You get your check — money's gone! That ain't a payment, that's a jack. ~Chris Rock, Bigger & Blacker, 1999, HBO

Indoors or out, no one relaxes
In March, that month of wind and taxes,
The wind will presently disappear,
The taxes last us all the year.
~Ogden Nash, "Thar She Blows," 1949
[Tax Day used to be in March, not April. —tg]

Nothing makes filling out a 1040 easier than having enough proof — 86 proof. ~Robert Orben, 2400 Jokes to Brighten Your Speeches, 1984

If Congress were to pass a "flat" tax, you'd simply pay a fixed percentage of your income, and you wouldn't have to fill out any complicated forms, and there would be no loopholes for politically connected groups, and normal people would actually understand the tax laws, and giant talking broccoli stalks would come around and mow your lawn for free, because Congress is NOT going to pass a flat tax. ~Dave Barry, 1996,

Taxation is the price which civilized communities pay for the opportunity of remaining civilized. ~Albert Bushnell Hart, Actual Government, 1903

Earning money would be a pleasure — if it wasn't so taxing. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968

But, sir, we are told that this is an odious and unpopular tax. I never knew a tax that was not odious and unpopular with the people who paid it... Sir, if you would levy only taxes which in the opinion of everybody, or even of a majority, are not unequal and unjust, you would have such a tax law as I have never yet seen. ~John Sherman, 1871

A fine is a tax for doing something wrong. A tax is a fine for doing something right. ~Author unknown

"Count that day won," he sings, "when, turning on its axis, this earth imposes no additional taxes." ~Franklin P. Adams

IRS: We've got what it takes to take what you've got. ~Author unknown

Abracadabra, thus we learn
The more you create, the less you earn.
The less you earn, the more you're given,
The less you lead, the more you're driven,
The more destroyed, the more they feed,
The more you pay, the more they need,
The more you earn, the less you keep,
And now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to take
If the tax-collector hasn't got it before I wake.
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971)

Any tax is a discouragement and therefore a regulation so far as it goes... ~Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Pacific American Fisheries v. Territory of Alaska, 1925

Taxes —
wealth and waste
laws and loopholes
dollars and deficits
rights and wrongs
security and wars
ceilings and floors
~Terri Guillemets

When it comes to reasoning with the IRS, there's no way, shape or form — and you wouldn't understand the form, anyway. ~Robert Brault,

Of course, the truth is that the congresspersons are too busy raising campaign money to read the laws they pass. The laws are written by staff tax nerds who can put pretty much any wording they want in there. I bet that if you actually read the entire vastness of the U.S. Tax Code, you'd find at least one sex scene ("'Yes yes YES!' moaned Vanessa as Lance, his taut body, moist with moisture, again and again depreciated her adjusted gross rate of annualized fiscal debenture"). ~Dave Barry, 1997,

Well, the good old days with most of us was when we didn't earn enough to pay an income tax. ~Will Rogers, 1935

I can give you 1040 good ways we can improve our government. ~Terri Guillemets, "Forms of adulthood," 1989

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published 2000 Mar 27
revised 2021 Mar 3
last saved 2022 Aug 20