The U.S. Government Puts Special Taxes on Vaccines

This is from a series of pages on sources of federal war spending other than the federal income tax and strategies that war tax resisters can use to reduce their support of the government in these areas.

The Excise Tax on Vaccines


There is a federal excise tax on those vaccines to prevent diseases in humans that are made in or imported into the United States.

Amount of the Tax

Each such vaccine purchased in the United States has a 75¢ federal excise tax attached to its purchase price. The tax is per-vaccine, not per-dose, so for instance the measles-mumps-rubella combination vaccine includes a $2.25 excise tax — 75¢ per disease prevented.

How Much the Government Collects

In the federal government reported receiving about $241 million from this tax.

How This Tax Is Collected

The manufacturer, producer, or importer of the vaccine is responsible for paying the tax.

Are the Tax Receipts Earmarked?

This tax is earmarked for the vaccine injury compensation fund. That fund, as of , had a nearly $3 billion surplus which it invested in U.S. Treasury securities.

How Can You Resist This Tax?

You can resist this tax by not being vaccinated (to clarify: I do not recommend neglecting essential vaccinations to avoid paying a small tax), or, perhaps more safely, by being vaccinated while in another country with a vaccine produced outside of the United States.

Several days back, I quoted this intriguing passage from Susan Martha Reed’s Church and State in Massachusetts, (), p. 90 (emphasis mine):

While the Quakers insisted strongly upon resistance to the payment of taxes in certain cases, they were, on the whole, law-abiding citizens, the various meetings using their influence to accomplish this result. The Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting was in much distressed by complaint that certain Friends “Eastward” refused to pay any public taxes to the government on the ground that a great part of the money was used for war. A paper was drawn up on the subject and travelling Friends were asked to urge Hampton and Dover people to pay the rates.

There are also many mentions in the same book of Quakers (and certain other sects) resisting taxes and mandatory tithes designed to support an establishment church. This seems to have been a particularly hard battle in Massachusetts. Another source (“Friends in New England” Friends’ Intelligencer / The Friends’ Journal Volume 43, page 294) says:

[Quakers] were constantly impoverished by the confiscation of their property to satisfy the demands of Christian ministers. This contest between an intolerant and despotic Christian church and these unyielding champions of religious liberty continued until the year , when it ended in a most welcome triumph for the Quakers. In some Quaker selectmen of Dartmouth and Tivertod who had been imprisoned for refusing to collect taxes for the support of clergymen appealed to the English government. Their case was argued before the king’s privy council, and it was decreed that the taxes in question must be remitted and the delinquent officials released. This important event has not yet received the attention it merits from any historian of whom I have knowledge. It not only marks the termination of the unmerited and barbarous persecution suffered by the Quakers for nearly three quarters of a century, but it marks also the collapse of the effort made by the Puritans to establish a theocracy in Massachusetts.

The imprisoned tax resisting selectmen in this case were Joseph Anthony, John Sisson, John Akin, and Philip Tabor. Tabor was a Baptist and the others were Quakers. (This according to Isaac Backus’s A History of New-England with Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, 2nd edition,  — originally published in  — page 534, which, however, also reports that in spite of the legal ruling and a subsequent Massachusetts law to exempt non-“Pædobaptists” from such mandatory tithes, imprisonments for failure to pay continued.)

Backus reprints the petition that Thomas Richardson took to the king in London to plead on behalf of the prisoners. It complains that many Quakers and other such dissenters came to the colony at great sacrifice precisely because it was established with an express grant of religious freedom, but that since then the majority Presbyterians and Congregationalists (“Independents”) have passed laws forcing them to support an “orthodox” church of that persuasion. When a law added a new tax on the citizens of Dartmouth and Tiverton, the tax collectors rebelled:

[S]ome of the said assessors being of the people called Quakers, and others of them also dissenting from the Presbyterians and Independents and greatest part of the inhabitants of said towns being also Quakers or Anabaptists or of differing sentiments in religion from Independents, though the said assessors duly assessed the other taxes upon the people there, relating to the support of government, to the best of their knowledge, yet they could not in conscience assess any of the inhabitants of these towns anything for or towards the maintenance of any ministers; That they, the said Joseph Anthony, John Sisson, John Aikin and Philip Tabor, on pretense of their non-compliance with the said law, were, on , committed to the jail aforesaid, where they still continue prisoners, under great sufferings and hardships, both to themselves and families, and where they must remain and die, if not relieved by the king’s royal clemency and favor: That the people called Quakers in the said province, are, and generally have been, great sufferers by the said laws, in their cattle, horses, sheep, corn and household goods, which from time to time have been taken from them by violence of the said laws for the maintenance of ministers who call themselves able, learned and orthodox…

A committee set up to study the issue reported to the king that “as by the charter granted to [Massachusetts], a free and absolute liberty of conscience to all Christians (except papists) was intended to have been their foundation and support… we cannot see why the Quakers should be refused this liberty, in the towns where they are so great a majority, and be obliged to maintain a teacher of a different persuasion. Wherefore we humbly propose to your Majesty, that this act may be repealed…” The king then repealed the particular tax and ordered the release of the prisoners, though without going much further into the root cause of the problem. But this was a year later, and it wasn’t until that the Massachusetts Assembly passed an act to set the men free “to signify their ready and dutiful compliance with his Majesty’s declared will and pleasure.”