Fact Check: U.S. Citizens Do NOT Pay A Percentage Of Their Taxes To The Queen Of England

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: U.S. Citizens Do NOT Pay A Percentage Of Their Taxes To The Queen Of England Tax Treaty

Do U.S. citizens pay a percentage of their taxes to the queen of England via the IRS, and is the IRS not part of the federal government? No, that's not true: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which is an executive department of the U.S. federal government. To avoid double taxation for U.S. expatriates and other potential tax complications, the U.S. has tax treaties with various countries like the United Kingdom.

The claim originated as a statement made in an inquiry on the website What Do They Know, which assists users in submitting a Freedom of Information request in the U.K. It reappeared in an Instagram post (archived here) published on June 23, 2021. The post was a screenshot of the portion of the What Do They Know inquiry that reads:

Americans pay a percentage of their taxes to the Queen of England via the IRS. The IRS is not an agency of the Federal Government. It is an agency of the International Monetary Fund which is an agency of the United Nations. No law has ever been passed legalizing the charging of income tax.

The caption of the post read:

FYI https://www.irs.gov/businesses/international-businesses/united-kingdom-uk-tax-treaty-documents
https://www.irs.gov/businesses/international-businesses/united-kingdom-uk-tax-treaty-documents

This is how the post appeared on Instagram on June 24, 2021:

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Jun 24 21:06:14 2021 UTC)

The claim conflates general tax law with U.S. expatriate tax treaties. The original tax treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. was signed in 1975 and modified in 1976. It was replaced in 2001 and is called "The Convention between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and Capital Gains." According to an article from tax preparation services company H&R Block, this treaty is not an unusual agreement:

To ease the tax burden on Americans living abroad, the U.S. is party to dozens of tax treaties with countries around the globe. The U.S./U.K. tax treaty is one of them, and it protects U.S. expats in the U.K. from paying more than their fair share of U.S. taxes.

The link placed in the caption of the Instagram post (repeated twice) leads to the U.S.-U.K. tax treaty documents. Other tax treaties between the U.S. and other countries can be found here.

The portion of the claim that addresses the IRS' organizational background is also false. The IRS states on its website that it is in fact a bureau in the U.S. federal government:

The IRS is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury and one of the world's most efficient tax administrators.

While it is true that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a multinational organization that is overseen by the United Nations, it is not the organization in charge of the IRS, according to the Department of the Treasury:

The IMF is an organization of 189 member countries that works to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. The Secretary of the Treasury serves as the U.S. Governor to the IMF, and the U.S. Executive Director of the IMF is one of 24 directors who exercise voting rights over the strategic direction of the institution. The U.S. is the largest shareholder in the Fund.

The 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution legalizes the implementation and execution of income taxes. This practice continues today, as explained in this excerpt from the Legal Information Institute:

The Internal Revenue Code is today embodied as Title 26 of the United States Code (26 U.S.C.) and is a lineal descendant of the income tax act passed in 1913, following ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment. Most states also maintain an income tax, while some do not. However, all residents and all citizens of the United States are subject to the federal income tax.

As for the original inquiry submitted on What Do They Know as a Freedom of Information request, Her Majesty's Treasury, the U.K.'s economic and finance ministry, said that it did not hold any information within the scope of the inquiry.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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