Sunday, June 10, 2018

Do the Amish Pay Taxes?

Like all Americans, the Amish pay taxes. Being of the Amish faith does not exempt anyone from paying various taxes imposed by various government entities. The Amish pay real estate, local, state, and federal income taxes, county and school taxes levied on real estate, state and local sales taxes, and other government fees and assessments.

There is a myth among those that live near the Amish communities. They say the Amish pay no taxes. That is simply untrue.

There are remarks and often complaints about the Amish, who ride in their horse-drawn buggies but are not responsible for the upkeep and repair of the public roads. They pay no gasoline taxes (federal or state) only because they do not purchase fuel as a service station for an automobile. They do not pay registration or driver license fees, as they are not required to have either to own and operate a horse-drawn buggy on a public road. They are not exempt from paying taxes to use public roads. They are just not paying taxes directly to a governmental authority. When they hire a driver and a vehicle, they are paying for the use of the vehicle and for fuel. In this instance, they are paying road use taxes, although indirectly.

There is one exception about taxes: the self-employed Amish do not pay any Social Security taxes. In contrast, however, those Amish that is employed by non-Amish employers do pay Social Security tax.

The Amish do not collect or accept Social Security benefits. They also do not collect unemployment or welfare funds.

The Amish pay property taxes, a portion of which funds public education. Even though they do not send their children to public schools, they do pay the taxes that support public education.

Amish that operates businesses also pays business taxes, employer taxes, and government fees including required business licenses and assessments.

“I’ve found them to be hardworking and simple people, who only want what they pay for,” one local tax preparer commented. “They pay their taxes and ask for nothing in return. Many times, they end up paying more income tax than required because they don’t take advantage of the credits that would offset the taxes owed.”

Since the Amish must file an income tax return just as all U.S. citizens must do, they are also entitled to the Income Tax Credits that are available to all taxpayers. It is apparently common for the Amish to decline legitimate credits such as the Earned Income Credit, Child Tax Credit, or the Fuel Tax Credit that is available for farmers who use off-road fuel with their farm operations.


Special Note:

Amish Wisdom is an ongoing feature of various entries about the Amish on George Sheldon's website and blog. Written and produced by George, it is intended to provide information about those of the Amish faith.

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