Census Refusal Penalty Now Up to $5000

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In my article posted on LRC yesterday (Tuesday), I stated that the maximum fine for census refusal was $100.

I wrote this article ten years ago and checked the code before it was reposted. Title 13, United States Code 221 still states that the maximum fine is $100. This section of the code is still on the books.

However, Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559 state that the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000.

But, Section 3571 states that The $5,000.00 fine referenced in section 3571 is a post conviction fine that only applies to an individual who has been charged and convicted of a criminal infraction as defined in section 3559. Unless an individual has been charged and convicted of some criminal offense connected to the Census and the crime is classified as an infraction, this $5,000.00 fine does not apply.

I apologize that this was not updated and hope that no one gets in trouble as a result.

Robert Greenslade has posted an excellent summary of details of the census laws and his opinions on the Constitutional principles regarding them.

I still plan to resist the census, invoking the 5th Amendment if all else fails. This doormat may help break the ice.

3:05 pm on February 10, 2010
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