Most people would not consider paying taxes one of the more fulfilling things this life offers. Some people may go so far as to call the tax system unfair.
What would Jesus say about it?
As Christians, our lives are meant to reflect and resemble Jesus. This includes following his commands that we can find throughout Scripture.
The Bible is not lacking in what it says about our financial lives. Taxes are no exception.
Let’s take a walk through the New Testament and hear what the Bible says about paying taxes.
Give to Each What Belongs to Them
Matthew 22:15-22 is one of the most explicit passages on taxes in the Bible. The Pharisees came to Jesus with a plan to trap Him with His words.
“Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
How is this a trap? If Jesus said it was right to pay the imperial tax, the Pharisees could have accused Him of denying the sovereignty of God over Israel. If Jesus responded that taxes shouldn’t be paid, His statement would make Him an enemy of Rome.
Jesus knew about their evil intentions and, in response, asked for one of the coins they would have paid their taxes with.
And he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Here, Jesus was saying that as citizens, we are to obey the laws of the government, including taxes. We are responsible to God in all things, and this includes following the legitimate requests that the government makes of us. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
He finishes by reminding us that we are made in the image of God, and so we, and all that we have, ultimately belong to Him.
We Ought To Pay What We Owe
Not only is tax evasion illegal, but the Bible also speaks against it.
Romans 13:6-7 says, “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
We are to pay our taxes in accordance with what we owe.
This command doesn’t mean that legally reducing your taxable income is wrong. There are several ways that you lower the amount you owe each year, such as taking advantage of tax credits, investing in a retirement or college fund, or making pre-tax charitable contributions. There are also tax strategies for withholding!
Preparing for the upcoming tax season? Reach out to us for tax-reduction strategies!
Find An Advisor to Meet Your Tax Planning Needs
Tax planning should be an integral part of your financial plan. An advisor can help you prepare returns, minimize deductions, and more.
If you want to talk more about how to ensure your tax strategies align with the rest of your financial plan, contact one of our advisors today!