By Kevin Williams
Due to a quirk of the calendar, today is actually tax day, not April 15th. And that raises the question: do the Amish pay taxes? Many people incorrectly say “no.” Man, that is a misconception that is hard to get rid of. So, do the Amish pay taxes? Let me answer this: Yes. Yes. Yes. YES!!
Somehow the notion that the Amish don’t pay taxes got started and just hasn’t let go in some quarters of the public. Come April 15 the Amish are heading to H & R block like everyone else. Now, it is true that the Amish often “avoid” (but not intentionally) gas taxes which go to road improvements because they aren’t pumping gas to fill up their horses. But in many places there is a “work-around” in place. In Indiana buggies are required to have license plates and the fees from those go into road improvement. In other areas the Amish voluntarily pay into local road improvement funds to help maintain the roads which the horses hooves and steel buggy wheels can be difficult on.
Social security contributions are one area that gets maybe a bit murkier. If the Amish work for themselves they can be exempted from paying into social security. If they work for a non-Amish employer they have to pay into it like everyone else.
The Amish – as a general rule – don’t take government subsidies like unemployment (a totally different topic than taxes, but the two get lumped together often). During the administration of George W. Bush when most Americans received government stimulus checks an Old Order Mennonite bishop told me that he knew people in his church who either tore them up or sent them back to Washington. Even the Amish that do pay into Social Security via taxes rarely collect. So they are doing more than their fair share!