2019-03-14 / Opinions

Claiming hundreds of dependents will certainly get Internal Revenue’s notice


A fellow found himself at odds with the IRS for the number of dependents he claimed on his income tax return.

It seems he had claimed 100 U.S. senators and 435 U.S. representatives, 36 state senators, 100 state representatives, 12 city council members, and a mayor.

In a strongly worded letter, the IRS wrote: “The number of dependents you claimed is clearly wrong.”

“I was careful to be as complete as possible,” the fellow responded. “Who did I leave out?”

With tax season upon us, perhaps it’s appropriate that we look at what Jesus had to say on the subject. Some folks came to Him during his public ministry and asked Him if it’s appropriate to pay taxes.

In an exchange recorded in the Gospel of Matthew 22:17-21, Jesus told those folks to show him the money they used to pay their taxes. He followed that by asking whose likeness was on it. They answered that it was Caesar’s.

“ Then he said to them, ‘therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’” (Matthew 22:21).

The Bible actually goes on to tell us something that seems very strange to us in modern-day America with our divisive politics and our begrudging nature toward paying taxes. It says in Romans 13:6 that our government leaders are God’s ministers and for this cause we should pay taxes.

“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor” (Romans 13:7). I knew a man long years ago who objected to paying taxes to the U.S. government because he disagreed with the political policies of whatever administration was in office at the time. His pastor wisely shared with the man the same scriptures I’m sharing with you today. In doing so, he may very well have kept him out of serious trouble with the federal government.

I’m reminded of the truth of the statement that the Bible contains the answer to every question we face in life … even tax questions.

I’m also reminded that, as unpopular as it is to say, we’re all kind of like the fellow who claimed every government leader as a dependent. They’re dependent on us, and we’re dependent on them.

(Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at rogeralford1@gmail.com.)

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