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ASHLAND — It appears that some Ashland community members had a bit of a disagreement last week when 26 Amish appeared in court.

According to a reader of Ashland Source, viewers of the court appearance could not agree on whether or not Amish paid taxes. Some thought they did, some thought they didn’t. 

So the reader reached out to us to find out if the Amish have to pay taxes, to clarify it for the community.

The short answer is: “Yes. They pay taxes,” Ashland County treasurer Angie McQuillen said.

Like anyone else in Ashland County, the Amish pay property taxes, sales taxes, and even income taxes for local public schools, which they rarely use. Instead, most Amish communities have their own private schools. 

When it’s time to pay their local taxes, they get their money to the county treasurer by coming into the county offices or by sending cash or checks in the mail “like anybody else,” McQuillen said.

Beyond the local level, Amish also pay state income taxes and sales taxes. They’re not exempt from the state tax on gas that is tacked onto the price per gallon, but Amish beliefs forbid members from driving cars.

It is only at the federal level that tax exemptions for the Amish emerge. They pay federal income tax like every American, but they do not pay taxes for federal social programs like welfare, unemployment, social security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Public programs like these go against Amish beliefs in the community’s responsibility for caring for each other, so while they do not pay into the programs, they also do not benefit from them. 

In fact, Amish have to agree — via special tax forms — to eschew these benefits for the rest of their lives in order to gain an exemption. If an Amish person received benefits before applying for exemption, they have to pay them back before it’s granted, Luis Garcia, an IRS spokesperson, said.

So, long answer: The Amish pay every tax every other American, Ohioan, and Ashland county resident has to, except for those related to federal social programs. 

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