Tax Avoidance Opinions from Federal Courts


A tax court decision may be appealed to a Court of Appeals, including the Supreme Court. Judges from these Federal Courts have stated:

"Anyone may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes." - Judge Learned Hand

"There are two systems of taxation in our country—one for the informed and one for the uninformed." - Judge Learned Hand

"I live in Alexandria, Virginia. Near the Supreme Court chamber is a toll bridge across the Potomac. When in a rush I pay the dollar toll and get home early. However, I usually drive a free bridge outside the down- town section of the city, and cross the Potomac on a free bridge. The bridge was placed outside the downtown Washington D.C. area to serve a useful social service: getting drivers to drive the extra mile to help alleviate congestion during rush hour. If I went over the toll bridge and through the barrier without paying the toll, I would be committing tax evasion. If, however, I drive the extra mile and drive outside the city of Washington, I am using a legitimate, logical and suitable method of tax avoidance, and I am performing a useful social service by doing so. For my tax evasion, I should be punished. For my tax avoidance, I should be commended. The tragedy of life today is that so few people know that the free bridge even exists." -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis