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Back to Table of Contents, A Declaration of Universal Rights

Article 3 — Family Government

Section 7: Taxation Of Gifts

The right to transfer property by gift shall not be impaired.

No transfer of property by gift, whether during the donor's lifetime or by reason of his death, by devise or bequest, under intestacy laws, or otherwise, shall be taxed.

This section completes the property discussion and involves taxation of the disposition of property by gift. It does not address the disposition of property by sale which is commercial in nature and therefore generally taxable by civil government.

The difference between a gift and a sale is that the former is rendered out of love with no expectation of something in return; the latter involves a bargained-for-exchange.

The primary duty a man owes to God with respect to giving property is to care for his family. I Timothy 5:8 says, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Parents also have a right to leave an inheritance for their children (II Cor. 12:14). Not every child, however, is entitled to an inheritance (Prov. 11:29). While no child has a right to inherit, parents have the right to leave an inheritance to their children, a decision the civil government may not interfere with.

Whether property is disposed of by reason of the owner's death or during his lifetime, the same rule ap­plies. II Corinthians 9:7 says, "Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." Since God requires giving to be from love, it is not within the power of the state to compel, regulate or tax. To compel a gift violates the very essence of giving voluntarily. To regulate the giving of a gift destroys the donor's liberty to choose the means of showing love. Civil govern­ment says in effect, "You must love your neighbor in this official way." To tax the gift is to claim a rightful share in the gift itself. If the gift is made during the owner's lifetime, a tax impairs the duty to give without compulsion for no man can voluntarily "give" a portion of his wealth when such "giving" is by compulsion, i.e., is taxed. Civil government says in effect, "If you give so-and-so something, you must give the civil govern­ment a portion." "Must" and "give" are not to be used in the same sentence.

In addition, if the gift is made by reason of the donor's death, by devise or bequest, under intestacy laws or otherwise, the state is not only barred from taxation for the reasons noted above, but also where the gift is made to his or her family, an inheritance or estate tax violates the right of parents to leave an inheritance to children rather than the state.

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