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Last Updated: 2010/11/30
Summary of question
Is it permissible to evade government tax in non-Islamic countries?
We are always told that to evade government tax is forbidden. Suppose we are living in a non-Muslim country where a large sum of the tax is being embezzled by government officials due to corruption and the same officials use the tax to covertly enrich themselves. In this case, are we allowed to evade tax in that country? If the above country is run by a corrupt non-Muslim government and system, are we then allowed to evade tax in order to provide for religious dues (khums) and charity? We are being taxed for any donations to any organization. The poor people get a very small share of the tax that we pay and the purpose of the tax collected is not being fulfilled, are we then allowed to evade tax? It is very difficult to witness the huge sums of tax that we pay being mismanaged and embezzled by those corrupt and greedy officials. What do the various grand jurists say about such a situation? We are in a desperate situation.
Concise answer

The answer given by Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani is as follows:

1. You must abide by the rules of the country in which you are living except for when the rules may be opposed to Islamic Shari'ah.

2. If evading tax may result in defamation of Muslims, it would be absolutely forbidden; otherwise, it is also necessary to abide by the law of the country in which you are living as a legal citizen except for when the laws may be opposed to Islamic Shari'ah.

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