In a column about Apple’s tax clash with Congress, Richard Epstein quotes the famous jurist Learned Hand, who had this to say about what taxpayers owe government in his 1934 opinion in Helvering v. Gregory:
Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.
The rest of the piece is well worth reading, too.