A Staff Report from the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board

Do the Amish pay taxes?

Dear Straight Dope:

I live near "Amish country" in Pennsylvania, and am told by many here (non-Amish many, that is) that the Amish do not pay taxes. Is this true? I did work at a job where I had daily access to Amish people, and could have asked them, but never had the nerve. Now I am hoping you can set the record straight.

According to my personal CPA:

a. They are not exempt from sales taxes, because they are in direct competition with other retail business, so it would be unfair competition.

b. No one is exempt from income taxes

c. Church property is exempt from real estate taxes, but personal holdings are not.

d. It is possible to be exempt from social security taxes for religious purposes. This is probably where the confusion comes in.

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