What Does the Bible Say About Paying Your Fair Share of Taxes?


From an interview between Anderson Cooper and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on “60 Minutes,” January of 2019.

Cooper: “This would require though raising taxes.”

Ocasio-Cortez: “There’s an element where, yeah, people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes.”

Absolutely! Everyone should be paying their fair share of taxes. That’s in the Bible.

In Exodus 30, the Lord instituted the head or poll tax. Each person numbered in a census, from twenty years old and up, shall give half a shekel. “The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the Lord’s offering to make atonement for your lives.” (Exodus 30:15). And who paid this tax? The men, the head of the household.

In Deuteronomy 14, we find laws about tithing, giving a tenth of “all the yield of your seed that comes in from the field, year by year” (Deuteronomy 14:22). This rate was the same for everyone, whether they yielded much or little.

There was even a system of welfare in place, so the community provided for their poor, namely the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. But the rate of exaction was still the same for everyone who gave. Those who wanted to contribute more could give more of their own will (Deuteronomy 15:7-10).

Jesus said to pay your taxes: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). We read in Romans 13:7, “Pay taxes to whom taxes are owed.” And if that amount is the same for everyone, then everyone is paying their fair share!

Cooper: “Do you have a specific on the tax rate?”

Ocasio-Cortez: “Sometimes you see tax rates as high as sixty or seventy percent. As you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more.”

That’s not fair, when we understand the text.

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