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Karen wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Will I sin if I work at a place where they lie on their taxes in order not to pay a lot of taxes?

I am thinking of changing jobs but wanted to first know whether it is considered remote or material cooperation with sin at all.

Karen

  { Will I sin if I work at a place where they lie on their taxes in order not to pay a lot of taxes? }

Paul replied:

Dear Karen,

We know that working at such a place is not formal cooperation with evil. It probably is not proximate material cooperation with evil either, since they would be doing the same thing if you weren't employed there — and of course you are not condoning at all what they are doing.

I would put it under the remote material cooperation category, which would be similar to working at a convenient store that sells contraception. You should probably seek another job that does things ethically, but in the meantime it would not be sinful to continue working there until you find one. Keep acting upright as an example. Perhaps you could influence someone while you are there.

This is my two cents however it's only an interpretation of how moral principles might apply to you. You need to continue to ponder, pray, and act according to your conscience.

Peace,

Paul

John replied:

Dear Karen,

The only thing I would add to Paul's comments is that if you aren't directly involved in the preparation of the taxes and your not an expert of any kind in the corporate tax preparation, then it is difficult to know:

  • exactly what it is they are doing, and
  • if it is illegal.

The tax code is complex and naturally everyone tries to take advantage of legal loopholes to pay lower taxes. Unless you:

  • are directly involved in the preparing the tax forms
  • know the tax code, and
  • definitely have first hand knowledge that they are lying

then I wouldn't even assume they are necessarily lying. If you know that they are, but you have nothing to do with preparing the tax forms, then you're still not guilty of a sin yourself.

While all sin is wrong, some sins are far worse that others. Because of original sin, you'll find it very difficult to find work in a perfect corporation that follows the highest moral code. This may be sad, but it's true.

Now if the corporation were directly involved in more serious moral evils, like abortion, that involves the taking of an innocent human life and I would be more concerned about any question in that area.

I'm not justifying being a tax cheat but you have to really know that it's really cheating and that's not always evident. You will be hard pressed find work for someone isn't going to do whatever possible to save on his taxes.

John

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