As a theologian and pastor with years of experience in the Christian ministry, I find the Amish
people quite interesting. They live on vast tracts of land and sell organic foods and high-quality,
handcrafted furniture. Through my interaction with this group, I discovered that they do not
seem to collect social benefits or use public schools. This led me to the question, do Amish
people pay taxes?
In this article, I will discuss more details regarding Amish and taxes. Join me as we examine
what taxes the Amish people pay, which ones they do not pay, why they do not pay the ones
they are exempt from, and how they pay their taxes. Read on to learn more!
What taxes do Amish people pay?
The Amish people live as devout Christians, so one of the rules they are supposed to abide by is paying taxes. This is based on the Bible verse about giving to Caesar what belongs to him, as in Matthew 22:21. In many cases, it would seem as if the Amish do not benefit from the taxes they pay but still pay them as a way of respecting the law of the land.
Amish pay federal and state income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, and public school taxes. They do the latter even though they rarely send their children to public schools, preferring to send them to private schools.
Property or land taxes are said to be some of the most significant taxes that affect the Amish. The typical Amish family owns a farm on which they raise livestock and crops, with a land size of anywhere from 5 to hundreds of acres. Each community has different views of the use of technology, which affect the use and therefore gains they get from their taxes in terms of public utilities such as water, electricity, and the internet. Regardless, they must pay state and local property taxes like any other US citizen who owns the land. So, for example, in Pennsylvania, the property tax varies per county, with an average of 1.58 percent of the taxable property value. Since the state has no set minimum or maximum amount, the annual tax does add up for people with larger pieces of property.
Most Amish, especially the men, are farmers or business owners involved in trades such as furniture building, machine repairs, construction, manufacturing, or even owning food stands. Just like everyone else, they must pay federal and state income taxes.
The Amish are also subjected to sales and excise taxes. Since there is no objection to shopping at, say, Walmart or other retail shops, the tax that is collectable at the point of sale is the same as what is paid by all other Americans.
The Amish are legally exempt from compulsory education beyond the eighth grade on religious grounds, unlike the average American student’s 12th grade. They usually won’t send their youngsters to public schools, preferring instead to send them to locally operated Amish private schools. Despite this, Amish landowners pay public school taxes, which means that a portion of their tax money supports state and local schools even though their children are likely never to attend.
What taxes should Amish people not pay?
It is reported that most of the Amish do not pay Social Security. Many apply to be exempted from paying the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), and the self-employment tax. They will also not seek unemployment compensation and therefore seek to be exempt from both FUTA and self-employment tax.
The gas tax is another tax many Amish people do not pay.
The last group of taxes that the Amish do not pay is what bears the colloquial term “sin tax.” This is not a specific tax imposed by a federal, state, or local entity, but rather excise taxes on goods deemed sinful by the Amish.
Why do Amish people not pay other taxes?
As it has been observed, tax exemptions for Social Security also mean signing off on the right to receive certain social benefits. The Amish are said to be strongly opposed to receiving any funds from either social security or Medicare, even in old age. They believe in taking care of their own needs and those of their family members, based on 1 Timothy 5:8. “But if anyone doesn’t provide for his relatives, especially for members of his household, he has denied faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” This applies to unemployment compensation as well. They do not accept government compensation. For the Amish, business and entrepreneurship are a way of life, leading to low unemployment rates in their communities.
Regarding gas taxes, the reason for not paying them directly revolves around car ownership. Many Amish people, particularly those of the Old Order, do not own cars. Owning a car is said to be undesirable because it is seen as a means of taking people far away from the community and into the world. The Amish separation from the world principle is based on Romans 12:2. ” Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Most Amish from these groups drive horse-drawn buggies and ride horses or bicycles. Because they do not purchase fuel, they do not pay state and federal gasoline taxes. However, they ride in cars owned by others and in taxis.
Taxes on sinful things, such as alcoholic beverages, gambling, and most tobacco products, do not affect them. As per Ephesians 5:18, ” And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.“
The Amish do generally not buy these products to avoid sin, as stated in John 8:34, ” Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a servant to it.” They do not get to pay the corresponding taxes.
How do Amish people pay taxes?
Amish people can do their taxes or enlist an accountant. In larger Amish communities, Amish bookkeepers and accountants assist Amish individuals and businesses with filing their returns and making payments.
Just like everyone else, the Amish can choose one of several options to pay the IRS. The two options that are said to be Amish-friendly are “Pay with Cash” and “Direct Pay.” Paying with cash involves making a cash payment to an approved retail partner. The current list of participating partners includes 7-Eleven, CVS Pharmacy, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Go Mart Kum & Go, Kwik Trip Pilot Travel Centers, Royal Farms Speedway, and Walgreens. A fee of $1.50 is levied per cash payment. “Direct Pay” using a checking or savings account. There are no fees for this.
The other options are making online credit or debit card purchases or using electronic funds withdrawals, where the individual pays using his bank account upon e-filing the returns. The Amish are said to avoid credit cards and the internet, so these options are not favored.
Regarding property taxes, the payment time varies with the state. For instance, in Pennsylvania, one must make the payment by the end of March. For Michigan counties, property taxes are made in two installments: in July and December.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.