FACT CHECK: Do Americans Pay A Percentage Of Their Taxes To The Queen Of England?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A viral Instagram post claims Americans “pay a percentage of their taxes to the Queen of England via the IRS.”

Verdict: False

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) operates under the U.S. Department of Treasury, not the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A percentage of taxes collected from American taxpayers by the IRS does not go to Britain’s queen. An IRS spokesperson described the post as “inaccurate.”

Fact Check:

The Instagram post shows what appears to be a screen grab of an auto-generated summary of a page on WhatDoTheyKnow, a website that says it publishes Freedom of Information requests and their responses in the U.K. The image being shared contains several claims. (RELATED: Viral Video Claims You Have To Pay Back Your Coronavirus Stimulus Payment)

“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,” reads the screen grab. “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 IMF, an agency within the United Nations (U.N.) that focuses on international economic issues, and the U.K. government do not have control of the IRS. The IRS, the federal U.S. agency tasked with collecting taxes, explains on its website that it is a “bureau of the Department of the Treasury.” There is no mention of the supposed connection described in the Instagram post on the IRS, U.N. or IMF website.

The Instagram post’s claim that “Americans pay a percentage of their taxes to the Queen of England via the IRS” doesn’t hold up under scrutiny either. The U.S.’s federal government uses taxes collected by the IRS to fund national defense, pay interest on the national debt and fund, among other things, social programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, according to USA Today and Investopedia. Check Your Fact found no credible reports about American taxpayer funds being allocated for the Queen of England.

“The IRS is an agency of the Treasury Department, and we work on behalf of United States taxpayers – no one else,” said IRS spokesperson Terry Lemons in an email to Check Your Fact. “There is inaccurate information in this post.” (RELATED: Do The NFL, NBA And MLB Have Tax-Exempt Status?)

The WhatDoTheyKnow page the claim appears to stem from shows a Freedom of Information request from December 2014 that sought information from the U.K.’s Treasury regarding taxes. The U.K.’s Treasury responded that it “does not hold information within the scope of your request.”

The Instagram post’s caption includes a link to a page of the IRS’s website titled “United Kingdom (UK) – Tax Treaty Documents.” These documents, however, do not show U.S. taxes are sent to the queen. The U.S. has tax treaties with a number of countries, including the U.K., under which “residents (not necessarily citizens) of foreign countries are taxed at a reduced rate, or are exempt from U.S. taxes on certain items of income they receive from sources within the United States,” according to the IRS website.

The claim that “no law has ever been passed legalizing the charging of income tax” is also inaccurate. The Constitution’s 16th Amendment, passed by Congress in 1909 and ratified in 1913, allows Congress to impose a federal income tax, according to the National Constitution Center.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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