Is is okay to cheat on our taxes?
Q: My husband just started doing his taxes, and like every other year, I know he's going to find ways to cheat -- concealing some income, claiming deductions we don't deserve, etc. If I complain, he just says that everyone else does it, so why shouldn't we? Is he right? -- Mrs. K.W.
A: No, he is not right; not everyone cheats on their taxes -- not at all. And even if more people did, that still wouldn't make it right as far as our laws are concerned.
But more than that, what he is doing is morally wrong, not only in the eyes of the law but in God's eyes. The Roman Empire of Jesus' day often was corrupt and inefficient, and it didn't always serve the needs of its subjects. It also could be oppressive; Roman soldiers occupied the land of Jesus' birth, and often treated its people with brutality. And yet when people asked Jesus if they still had a responsibility to pay their taxes He said they did -- fully and completely. He responded, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" (Mark 12:17).
If we cheat on our taxes, we aren't only keeping money that isn't rightfully ours, but we're making it harder for our government (on all levels) to operate efficiently and well. Even if we disagree with some of its policies, we've been given the ballot box to express our views. The Bible says, "Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes" (Romans 13:7).
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Encourage your husband to be honest as he prepares his taxes this year. Most of all, may you both put Christ at the center of your lives. Don't let anything -- greed, covetousness, or anything else -- keep you from Him.
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