Let's say I'm a customer. There is a seller who is offering me a deal in such a way that it is obvious he's trying to avoid paying taxes. (For example, the seller insists on cash payments and a lack of documentation). Do I have a halachic obligation to insist on a more trackable form of payment that will be harder for the seller to hide from the tax authorities?

Just to save some speculation, in both the US and Israel the obligation to pay sales tax/VAT falls on the seller, not the buyer, and the seller is required to report cash transactions (although obviously not all do). So as far as the state is concerned I am blameless if the seller decides to commit tax fraud. My question is if halacha says something different.

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    I'm almost sure I asked this question. If I didn't, I typed it up and then discarded it. OK looks like I never asked it, but I remember typing it to ask it. +1 then. Oct 31, 2014 at 3:22

1 Answer 1


I once asked this to Rabbi Dovid Feinstein. He said it is assur to pay cash in this type of situation. Paying taxes is an enforced law which falls in the category of Dina Di'malchusa which one must keep.

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    Without prying (meaning, tell us only if you're comfortable), what was the case you asked R Dovid about? What makes you think it's similar to this case that YEZ asked about?
    – MTL
    Nov 2, 2014 at 4:37
  • @Shokhet it wasn't a specific case that I would be uncomfortably about. I asked when I make a purchase in a store and the owner offers to give me a better price if I pay in cash, what should I do? I never tell the proprietors why I'm turning down their offer, it's not worth the fight about ethics:)
    – user6591
    Nov 2, 2014 at 17:06
  • Aha....just checking that it was the same case. +1
    – MTL
    Nov 2, 2014 at 17:09
  • In most locations in America the buyer is responsible to pay a use tax on their state tax returns. While this is intended to cover out of state transactions where the seller does not have nexus and can not rightly collect the tax, logic would have it that it is where you could pay the sales tax not collected. There is nothing wrong with trying to get the lowest possible price. That the seller didn't collect the sales tax should be looked at as an oversight, and you can pay it.
    – David
    Nov 10, 2014 at 2:35
  • @David just from yr choice of words it sounds like you understand this subject allot more than i, but from my end of the conversation let me say that the issur of dina dimalchusa still applies even if you could have made a believable claim of oversight. The fact is that now the halacha tells you to keep to the books.
    – user6591
    Nov 10, 2014 at 2:44

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