The obligation to pay tax is a controversial one. Comparatively little has been written from a philosophical point of view. The obligation is something that is assumed to exist mainly because of the coercive powers of the relevant legislation and enforcement processes. This discussion starts from the taxpayer’s perspective. It is not focused on what responses are necessary from legislative requirements but on what responses are necessary from moral ones.

We have an idea what governments do with the taxes they collect. Amongst other causes they support health care, national defence, social services, roads, rail, the police force and fire protection. Not all individuals can afford taxes, so sliding scales apply: the richer pay more to help support the less fortunate.