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Paying Taxes with the Right Attitude

Michael Blue

Taxes are universally despised. Have you ever met someone who was excited about paying taxes? Neither have I. Despite the general disdain that most people feel toward taxes, there are a few changes in our perspective that the Bible tells us to make that can help make taxes a little less painful.

1. Taxes are purely symptomatic of having income. 

The simplest way to reduce your taxes is to reduce your income - and nobody is really excited about doing that. Having income means we have the ability to work and that God is providing a means for us to meet our needs. Both of these truths ought to make us grateful. Deuteronomy 8:18 tells us that, “. . . it is [the Lord] who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Without God’s providence, we would not be able to produce income or wealth - we can do so simply because He put us in a place where we are able to do so. We can be grateful in this ability to work and earn an income. Switching our mindset to one of thankfulness for the ability to work whenever we pay taxes can help us look at the positive side of things when paying taxes.

2. The Bible tells us that part of our duty as Christians is to honor the authorities that God, in His sovereignty, has put in place. 

This includes paying taxes as a demonstration of this attitude. In Romans 13, Paul writes: “1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. . . . 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

This type of an attitude says to the world that even if you don’t agree with the governing authorities, you are trusting that God is ultimately in control and you can therefore pay taxes to those who God has allowed to govern. This can be really hard sometimes, but it can also be freeing in that we don’t have to create the perfect government before we can feel okay about paying taxes. We can simply pay taxes trusting that God will work things for His glory!

3. When we pay taxes and return to “Caesar” what is his, we are acknowledging that our hope and home is not here in “Caesar’s” things, but rather in heaven with our Maker. 

Luke 20:22-25 says, “22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” . . . 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” This world is not our final home. When we get so worked up in holding on to the things of this world, as evidenced by our hatred of having to let go of “our” money when we pay taxes, we are demonstrating that our treasures are here on earth and not in heaven. When our treasures are on earth, then saying goodbye to our earthly treasure makes us sad, but when our treasures are in heaven, we can more freely let our earthly things go knowing that everlasting treasure awaits us with our Savior.

These three perspectives can make a world of difference when we are paying taxes. They may not entirely remove the sting, but they will hopefully allow us to dread taxes and tax season less.

One final note about taxes - just because we have these perspectives doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pay attention to what we are paying and where it is going. There is nothing wrong with trying to reduce the amount of taxes we pay so long as our actions are within the law, but when we start evading taxes in violation of the law we have crossed over into breaking the law.  That is wrong. Our choice is either fraud or faithfulness in paying taxes. Furthermore, if we disagree with how the government is spending our taxes, we should take action - write letters, campaign for a different official, protest - but we shouldn’t neglect to pay our taxes as we seek to change what they are.

Having a biblical attitude will make doing your taxes a bit less taxing

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Michael Blue

Michael Blue serves as the Executive Director and General Counsel for the Ron Blue Institute for Financial Planning. Michael holds the following professional designations and degrees: Certified Financial Planner TM, Juris Doctorate from Baylor Law School, and Master of Theological Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

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