This argument asserts that wages, tips, and other compensation received for personal services are not income, because there is allegedly no taxable gain when a person “exchanges” labor for money. Under this theory, wages are not taxable income because people have basis in their
labor equal to the fair market value of the wages they receive; thus, there is no gain to be taxed. A variation of this argument misconstrues section 1341, which deals with computations of tax where a taxpayer restores a substantial amount held under claim of right, to somehow allow a
deduction claim for personal services rendered.
Another similar argument asserts that wages are not subject to taxation where a person has obtained funds in exchange for their time. Under this theory, wages are not taxable because the Code does not specifically tax these so-called “time reimbursement transactions.” Some take a different approach and argue that the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution did not authorize a tax on wages and salaries, but only on gain or profit.
The Law: For federal income tax purposes, “gross income” means all income from whatever source derived and includes compensation for services. I.R.C. § 61. Any income, from whatever source, is presumed to be income under section 61, unless the taxpayer can establish that it is
specifically exempted or excluded. In Reese v. United States, 24 F.3d 228, 231 (Fed. Cir. 1994), the court stated, “an abiding principle of federal tax law is that, absent an enumerated exception, gross income means all income from whatever source derived.” The IRS issued Revenue Ruling
2007-19, 2007-14 I.R.B. 843, advising taxpayers that wages and other compensation received in exchange for personal services are taxable income and warning of the consequences of making frivolous arguments to the contrary.**
** Extracted from http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/article/0,,id=159932,00.html#_Toc153765510