In many countries like India, Return of Income Tax due to the Government from the citizens are filed online on the dedicated Tax Portal . Each citizen is required to disclose the income he earned in the just-closed Financial Year , which is counter-checked and assessed by the Tax Authority , mostly by leveraging a tracking system using the Permanent Account Number(PAN) . Now, there are many transactions like those in currency, which may not be tracked through PAN. A tax payer, therefore is tempted to hide some of his income while filing his/her tax return. This kind of tax evasion is a civil offence. But is it a sin from the perspective of the Ten Commandments ? The nearest Commandment one can think of is Thou shall not not steal '. By tax evasion, one does not literally steal' but is saving on tax otherwise due to the Government under the tax regime. My question therefore is: Which of the Ten Commandments becomes a subject of aberration if a Christian evades Income Tax ? Inputs from any denominations are welcome.

  • 1
    I find it quite startling that you have not focused on 'bearing false witness', first, then focused on 'stealing' (rather than "one does not literally" - sic). Taking communal benefits and then lying about one's privileges is disgraceful behaviour, unbefitting of a Christian.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 14:42
  • 1
    "one does not literally steal' but is saving on tax otherwise due to the Government" — committing a crime in order to personally gain money is definitely stealing. And it isn't the government one is stealing from, it is from all the other taxpayers that will have to make up the difference. Maybe it's only a fraction of a small coin from every honest taxpayer, but it's still theft. Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 23:45

3 Answers 3


Which of the Ten Commandments becomes a subject of aberration if a Christian evades Income Tax?

Many Catholic churches have handout sheets on how to make a good confession.

Many of these sheets tie cheating or not paying one’s taxes to the Seventh and Tenth Commandments. I have seen many variations of this subject to these two commandments, in one way or another.

Seventh & Tenth Commandments

You shall not steal. You shall not covet your neighbours' goods.

  • Cheated on a test, taxes, sports, games, or in business?

Paying taxes is brought out many times in Sacred Scriptures. So what does the Bible say about paying taxes?

As much as we hate taxes, as much as any tax system can be corrupt and unfair, as much as we believe there are far better things our money could go toward—the Bible commands, yes, commands us to pay our taxes. Romans 13:1–7 makes it clear that we are to submit ourselves to the government. The only instance in which we are allowed to disobey the government is when it tells us to do something the Bible forbids. The Bible does not forbid paying taxes. In fact, the Bible encourages us to pay taxes. Therefore, we must submit to God and His Word—and pay our taxes.

Generally speaking, taxes are intended to enable the beneficial running of society. Depending on one’s priorities, tax revenue is not always put to the best use. The most frequent objection to paying taxes is that the money is being misused by the government or even used for evil purposes by the government. That, however, is not our concern. When Jesus said, "Give to Caesar...," the Roman government was by no means a righteous government. When Paul instructed us to pay taxes, Nero, one of the most evil Roman emperors in history, was the head of the government. We are to pay our taxes even when the government is not God-honoring.


And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him. - Mark 12:14-17

I am not familiar with how taxes work in other countries but in the United States it is a 'pay as you go' system. A percentage of what is earned literally belongs, at the moment of earning, to the government. Employees of companies have income taxes withheld prior to receiving their salaries. In fact, employers are required by law to make such withholding on behalf of their employees.

The other option for an employer is to hire an employee as a sub-contractor. While it is most common for sub-contractors and self-employed individuals to make quarterly estimated tax payments some opt to wait and pay the full tax at the end of the year. Both of these options are technically contrary to the 'pay as you go' spirit of the tax revenue system but are a concession given the difficulty of transmitting money to the government each time a transaction is made.

In the United States (at least) when a person receives monetary compensation for labor or goods a percentage of that income immediately belongs to the federal and/or state government...it is a debt that is owed.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. - Romans 13:1-7 

There are means within the tax law to make adjustments to one's taxable income based upon investments, medical expenses, costs associated with self-employment, etc., and, other than flat out hiding income, misuse of these means are the mot common method of stealing from the government that which lawfully belongs to it.

If one owes a particular amount of money to another and falsifies that amount or holds back some or all of it one has definitively stolen from them.

A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. - Proverbs 11:1


You shall not bear false witness

Seems to be the closest within the decalogue. However, it mainly refers to false oath against someone.

The command to pay taxes has been established in Lev.27:30 (also seen for Abraham but not as a general rule)

All tithes from the land, whether seed from the ground or fruit from the tree, are יהוה’s; they are holy to יהוה.

It is a religious rule observed in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is a service inside the religious community.

No duty outside the community has been established or installed in Judaism. There is no base for it in the Torah.

Mark 12:14-17 cited above is not based on the 10 Commandments, not even the Torah but rather a way-to-go argument.

Jesus puts the comment Mark 12:31, citing Lev 19:18b:

Love your fellow as yourself: I am יהוה.

as the ruling the commandments 3-10 are based on.

If you or someone withdraws taxes due to keep it for himself, he acts against the law; if you give properly, but not through the (pagan) state, it is at your risk. You won't offend divine law, only stately law.

  • 2
    Suppose the government needs $1000 for a project and taxes 100 citizens $10 each. If you evade paying your share, everyone else is going to have to pay an extra 10¢. You just stole $10 from your fellow citizens. It might be small, but it is theft, by the criminal definition and by God's definition. Commented Dec 25, 2022 at 14:01
  • 1
    You may definite it theft. I pay my taxes and I noway want to encourage not to do so but I just wanted to point out the bases on the written command, as it has been asked for
    – Jeschu
    Commented Dec 25, 2022 at 14:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .