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Have you ever wondered what Jesus taught his disciples about paying taxes?
Did Jesus Pay Taxes?
Photo: Mel Curtis / Getty Images
With just a few weeks left to get your taxes finished up, you might be asking, what would Jesus do? Take a look at what Jesus said in Scripture about paying taxes: Tax Prep Tips:

With the deadline drawing close, are the evil effects of tax season destroying your peace? Do you need some guidance? I found these tips very helpful from Taxing Planning Guide William Perez in his "Taxing Matters" blog.

March 28, 2008 at 5:37 pm
(1) Karen says:

Now that would have been one hellacious IRS audit!!!


January 24, 2009 at 3:20 pm
(2) jason says:

the sons are exempt
Jesus didnt pay taxes He told peter to do it.
and the other verse you used He was saying,”let ceaser can have his coins,God wants you.”

come out of babylon and have nothing to do wiyh her sins.

December 14, 2009 at 10:41 am
(3) Ned Netterville says:

Mary, You cannot cite Paul’s epistles as the words of Jesus. Paul never heard anything Jesus said about taxes or tax collectors.

Regarding your reference to the incident with Peter and the tax collectors and the coin in the fishes mouth in Matthew 17, Jason’s comment is spot on. Jesus did not pay the tax! He gave Peter an opportunity to redeem himself for shooting his mouth off and falsely telling the tax collectors that Jesus did pay taxes, which Jesus reproved him for so saying. You don’t even know whether Peter had sufficient faith to take Jesus at his word–he certainly failed to do so at other times–and go fishing for a fish with a coin in its mouth, which would have been a preposterous suggestion for a fisherman like Peter. As Jason points out–Jesus explicityly said the sons of God are exempt from taxation. You really should focus on that. Why would they be exempt?

1) God, not Rome nor any other state, is the one from whom disciples get their marching orders. They serve God, not Caesar. No man or woman can serve two masters faithfully.

2.) Thou shall not steal! There is absolutely no difference between taxation and extortion, which is forbidden by God’s commandment against theft. The state grants its tax-collecting agents immunity from prosecution for taking people’s money by force or coercion, but they are not exempted from God’s law. Jesus would not have his disciples cooperating with an extortionist by compliantly paying taxes, which, among many other negative consequences, ensures that the evil practice will continue.

Your other reference to Jesus’ words which may be found in Matthew 22, Mark 12, and Luke 20–the famous “render-unto-Caesar incident–is clearly an egregious misinterpretation if you mean he told his disciples–or us–to pay taxes demanded by the state. Jesus did not say, as he could have and certainly would have if he so believed, “pay Caesar’s tax.” Jesus’ answer begs the question, “What belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God?” Psalm 24:1 says that everything belongs to God, which leaves nothing at all for poor Caesar. But you are right in this respect, if one OWES a tax, one ought to pay it and I’m sure Jesus would concur. But the sons, and daughters, are exempt. So if you file a tax return and confess that you owe a tax, you are not a disciple and probably ought to pay it. But if you are exempt, don’t bother. For the first comprehensive analysis of everything Jesus ever said or did relative to taxes and tax collectors as recorded in the Gospels, see the essay JESUS OF NAZARETH, ILLEGAL-TAX PROTESTER at:

February 16, 2010 at 11:51 am
(4) Noah Williams says:

It is apparent that neither Jason of Ned really understand
what Jesus was doing. God himself put a moritorium on “freeloaders” thus: God ordained Government…. and it’s rudiments. Does either of them (Jason or Ned) use public Hi-ways, fire protection, poastal services and so on….arn’t these workmen worthy of their hire as the scripture states….. we pay them through taxes…

April 11, 2010 at 11:05 pm
(5) Ned Netterville says:

Hey Noah, Thanks for your response. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. However, if you will take the time to read the essay, JESUS OF NAZARETH, ILLEGAL-TAX PROTESTER, you will find that it is a compilation of everything Jesus is reported to have said or done viz-a-viz taxes and tax collectors, and its conclusions are drawn from Jesus’ words and deeds. The essay is the first comprehensive analysis of all that Jesus is reported to have said or done regarding taxes and those who collect them, so it may be worth your while to read the essay before jumping to erroneous conclusions.

Taxes, as you know, are collected by force (violence) or coercion (the threat of force). All taxes include enFORCEment provisions, and this resort to force against innocent people in the conduct of otherwise peaceful human affairs is undoubtedly the reason Jesus condemned taxes. The Prince of Peace urged upon us peaceful, voluntary cooperation, not force and violence, as you will see if you will only read his famous Sermon on the Mount in Chapters 5, 6, and 7 of the Gospel of Matthew.

Taxation is indistinguishable from extortion, which you should know is stealing–forbidden by God’s explicit commandment (thou shall not steal!). Every tax collector would be put in jail for their crime if they were not granted immunity by the state they serve. Those who participate in taxation, whether as tax collectors or receivers (those who voluntarily consume the booty), without that grant of state immunity, are no different than other common thieves.

The predator class (viz., those who derive their wants and needs by means of taxation) produce nothing and live off the fruits of productive people’s labor. Yhey are worse than freeloaders. If you read the story in the Book of Samuel (1 Samuel) about how Israel came to have human government, you will see that Israel renounced God as their lawmaker when they choose to have a king. God never “ordained” humans to rule over other humans, and the attempt to do so is a renunciation of God’s will.

In response to your question regarding whether those “workmen” are worthy of their hire, the answer is definitely no, not if they are government employees receiving funds that were forcibly taken from others in the form of taxes. Rather than earning their pay as people in the private sector do, government employees receive OPM (sounds like opium, is equally addicting, stands for other people’s money), and they really should return their pay to its real owners and not spend it on themselves. Workmen are only worthy of their hire when they are paid from funds honestly obtained by his employer. Otherwise, those we receive and keep OPM are nothing more nor less than accessories after the fact–more accurately described as a criminals than freeloaders. Keep the faith.

July 24, 2011 at 9:51 am
(6) cathy says:

My issue is that jesus said no man shall govern/rule another (or words to that effect) as well as you cannot serve two masters faithfully. So why put Caesar in those catagories? jesus should have been CLEAR and said no man should steal the fruits of your labor unless it is by your volunatary consent. He gave a mixed message. Plus if all things on earth belong to God then why give to Caesar what is God’s? The metals of the earth silver, gold etc. belong to God. Also what about the ‘graven image’ that is also forbidden? jesus was not forthright and wanted to save his skin by telling the people to acquiese to Caesar!

August 27, 2011 at 7:26 pm
(7) Ned Netterville says:

Bull! Jesus did not tell people to acquiese to Caesar. Nor did he equivocate. He told all who have ears to hear to resist paying taxes.

You put your words into Jesus’ mouth. He said, “give Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give God what is God’s.” If everything belongs to God, as the Scriptures of the Jews says five times over, which Jesus repeatedly cited as authority in his arguments with the priests and Pharisses, then there is nothing whatsoever to give Caesar.

You say “Jesus should have been CLEAR…” Only if Jesus was stupid enough to fall into the trap his enemies set for him could he have been clearer, in which case the priests and Pharisees would have outwitted him, which is something that wasn’t gonna happen. Give Caesar what is his is a CLEAR statement of the Truth that sets men free. Anything less would be dishonest. The coin in question was not Caesar’s. Jesus didn’t tell the owner to give it to Caesar. He was as clear as he could be without being stupid, as you would have him. Sorry, a stupid Jesus would hardly have accomplished all that he did nor have attained the position that he had and has.

Your indictment of Jesus as answering as he did to save his skin slanders his impeccable character. If he was afraid to die he certainly could have avoided his crucifixion entirely, for he walked into it with complete foreknowledge, at least the gospels bear that out. Nor were the chief priests and Pharisees, who sent the “spies” to “trap” him misled, as were the dumb spies and obviously you too. For within a day or two they sent thugs to arrest him, dragged him before Pilate, and according to the gospel of Luke, told Pilate what Jesus said exactly as Jesus meant his words to be understood: “We found this man perverting our nation (Rome), he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar…” “Neff said. You are wrong.

March 21, 2012 at 10:38 am
(8) Sheep of Jesus says:

Seems you suffer from poor theological teaching Mary.

Either that, or you are paid to willingly deceive Christians.

Ned and Jason are on topic. Noah reminds me of many I know who feel there is obligations because of service rendered. Maybe there is an obligation to pay at certain times, but the way that the funds are extracted and received are not lawful according to God.

There is still such a thing as volunteer fire fighters. Use to be the same with hospitals too. It’s called charity.

I am afraid Cathy doesn’t hear the word. Jesus speaks plainly to those who listen. To those who are not of his flock, it will still be a parable. He spoke in parables to fulfill Scripture.

September 4, 2012 at 3:45 am
(9) Hideo says:

Jesus was exempt from paying the temple tax. He is the son of God and his Father was not going to demand tax from him. We are the temple of God. Sons are exempt. However in regards to paying tax to Caesar, we are required to comply to the limits of the secular law. This is a requirement that is impressed by both Paul and Jesus. Yes we pay taxes but we minimise them with access to the best tax advice we can garnish.

Therefore. Jesus was not required to pay temple taxes or any tax that related to sin for that matter. Neither are born again spirit filled children of the most high since Jesus became the propriation for sins (payment). He fully paid all bills for all sinners.

However we still have obligations that come from being within Caesar sphere of influence. Also everything is God’s including the authorities that govern us. Therefore this is why Paul asked people to pray for them so we would have peace.

January 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm
(10) maria says:

God bless you Ned! The Holy Spirit has been teaching me this message for years and I thought I was alone in this thinking compared to my born again Christian friends. I feel it is your faith that will prevail in this testing of his message. I am his daughter and I am exempt. I will not live in fear by the IRS. My Lord will deliver me in ALL circumstances.

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