I am not a Tax Lawyer, Nor do I play Dan Evans on the internet.
I am not a Certified Public Accountant, Nor do I play Paul Thomas on the internet.
I am not an Enrolled Agent, Nor do I play Richard Macdonald on the internet.
DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR ANYTHING ON THIS PAGE.
Go look it up for yourself.
When I look at section 1, I find five levels of tax imposed, via five different tax tables, depending upon whether one is married filing joint, married filing single, and three other categories.
When one looks at 26 USC Section 1 for the first time, one sees themselves listed in subsection (a), (b), (c), or (d). It's just a distraction. Focus on the taxable income. In narrowing the focus, I have provided the first line of the first table that shows the tax rate to be applied.
In all five categories as shown above, the tax is imposed upon the taxable income.
15% (or any other %) of ZERO, IS ZERO.The regulations amplify and explain what the statute says.
No taxable income, NO TAX.
The question becomes, Do I have taxable income? In order to find out if I have taxable income, I need to know what taxable income is. In order to find out what taxable income is, I have to look at the definition of taxable income, which is found in IRC section 63.
The reader should note that IRC section 1 only generically describes bunch of married or unmarried entities. Whether married or unmarried, IRC section 1 does not differentiate between three internationally renown burger flippers who are helping us study this law.
IRC section 1 also does not differentiate between taxable income from flipping burgers in Canada, China, or the United States.