One year after it launched, the Tax Revolution Institute (TRI) — true to its name — is radically distinguishing itself from other organizations in the tax-reform space. TRI’s claim is that the fundamental problem with our tax system is not that it isn’t flat enough, fair enough, low enough, or simple enough — but the simple fact that the government does not have to earn our money.

The Problem

Our tax system guarantees politicians an uninterrupted stream of revenue, regardless of whether it is spent honestly, wisely, or effectively. This, TRI claims, creates an environment of weak accountability and a lack of responsiveness to the impact of government spending on people’s lives.

The evidence surrounds us: millions of poorly educated children, tens of millions of Americans still living in poverty, contaminated water supplies, countless lives ruined by abusive IRS practices, and so much else.

Meanwhile, the public has the false impression that their responsibilities to each other are being met.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

TRI’s Solution

The Tax Revolution Institute is asking the public a simple question:

What if the government had to earn our money?

In other words, what if individuals could redirect their tax dollars whenever they saw them spent wastefully, corruptly, or in ways that just don’t have a positive impact on people’s lives? What if Americans could maximize the good that government does by effectively voting with every tax dollar?

Many Americans have heard the expression “voluntary tax system.” Our politicians, the Internal Revenue Service, and even our tax code, insist that we currently have one. They are wrong, of course, but TRI is determined to make it so – to make the “voluntary” tax system truly voluntary.

“In a truly voluntary tax system, individuals would be able to send their tax dollars to wherever they can do the most good,” TRI Executive Director Dan Johnson says. “This could mean choosing not to fund corrupt state agencies, diverting money to charitable programs and nonprofits that outperform the government, or even directing money away from politicians’ pet projects and using it to meet the fundamental needs of local communities.”

TRI Communications Director Robin Koerner explains that the tax revolution is a human one, not a political one: “Making the ‘voluntary’ tax system voluntary improves accountability and democracy, but they are just the means — not the end. The ultimate purpose of making the government earn our money is to improve the wellbeing of the people, which is the only reason for taking their tax dollars in the first place.”

About the Tax Revolution Institute

The Tax Revolution Institute (TRI) is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) organization committed to researching and developing innovative, voluntary tax solutions to promote transparency, accountability, and integrity in the delivery of public services in the United States.

Through FOIA requests, briefings, testimonies, advocacy, research studies, white papers, and educational programs, TRI will expose and explain how the coerciveness of our current method of funding government lies at the root of some of its greatest flaws — such as waste, inefficiency, incompetence, corruption and even the complication of the tax code and its inhumane enforcement by the IRS.


This report prepared by Tax Revolution Institute.