Kooky Tax Protestors!
by Linda Beale
Kooky Tax Protestors!
Anybody who has read much of my blog probably has realized that I don’t think much of “tax protestor” movements like the one Wesley Snipe got involved with. There are websites and books and information available in all kinds of places about these “tax protestor” arguments. They claim that there is no law that imposes an income tax liability or a duty to file a tax return. (They continue to make these absurd claims even after having the various provisions of the Code, regs and other authorities pointed out to them.) The arguments are often based on taking a Code provision out of context (e.g., provisions that cover the sourcing of income for non-U.S. residents who only pay tax on their U.S.-sourced income) or amalgamating historical antecedents with current day law and regulations to claim that there is a loophole they can walk through to find their goal of “no duty to pay taxes.” The arguments are facially frivolous and not founded in any reasonable basis. Moreover, no American who has paid attention to anything other than his navel could reasonably argue that he “genuinely believes” that there is no such duty.
But today I received a letter. It is printed on expensive rag content paper, with an attorney’s name prominently displayed at the top (from Shreveport, Louisiana) and it is addressed to me regarding my availability to be engaged as an expert witness on behalf of tax protestors who want to use the “Cheek” defense to criminal tax evasion charges. The “Cheek” defense derives from a Supreme Court case, Cheek v. United States, 498 U.S. 192 (1991). It provides that a genuinely held belief negates the willfulness requirement of criminal statutes.
Here, the claim that the defendants’ attorneys are hoping to make is that tax protestors can have a genuinely held belief that failure to file returns/pay taxes does not violate any known legal duty. The attorney claims in the letter that these defendants “have formed their beliefs after a thorough and careful reading of the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, Supreme Court holdings and historical authorities, including all of the past regulations and all tax acts enacted since 1916.”
Wow. Even the most careful tax professor who spends a good deal of his or her “spare” time (the time not devoted to committees, or faculty meetings, or teaching, or preparation for teaching, or conferences, or article writing) reading tax authorities–PLRs, regs, notices, cases, statutory amendments, proposed amendments, etc. probably would have trouble claiming to have read “all” past regulations and “all tax acts enacted since 1916” . These defendants are essentially claiming that they are as well-versed in what the tax Code says as any tax practitioner would claim to be–and yet they still make the patently frivolous claim that they arrived at a “genuinely held belief” that failing to file tax returns doesn’t violate any legal duty? You gotta be kidding me.
Start with section 1 of the Code, in which a tax is imposed. Continue on and eventually the reader will arrive at section 6012, requiring the filing of tax returns by any person who has gross income for the year in excess of the exemption amount (with certain exceptions). And of course there’s section 6013 (joint returns) and section 6072 (stating the time for filing of returns under various provisions) and section 6151 (stating the time and place for making payment of taxes determined to be due under returns).
The Shreveport attorney included a disk, put out by what he terms to be six highly respected and credentialed tax practitioners, including one former IRS collection agent, with the arguments in support of the so-called “Tax Honesty Movement” (which of course should be called the “tax dishonesty–or how to rip off your country and your neighbors by not paying your share of the tax burden–movement”)
So just how many tax professors will respond that they think they could serve as expert witnesses on behalf of such defendants? I hope the answer is none.
originally published at ataxingmatter
Why don’t they just claim to be conscientious objectors?
There are people out there that think the moon landings were done in a sound studio, that the government holds an alien space craft and bodies in Area 51*, that the US Gov blew up the world trade center and pentagon, and that the oil companies have a formula that lets your car run on water. The fact that there are some loonies and they attendant grifters to take their money is no real surprise. I beleive PT Barnum had the appropriate quote…
The fact that otehrwise smart and successful people get roped into this should be no surprise either. See Mr Madoff’s case for a prime example.
Islam will change
* P.S. Its really underneath the center of the Pentagon. The 9/11 strike on the Pentagon was really explosions as security stopped the live Aliens from escapping (the Aliens had orchastrated the airliner attacks in NY, via remote control like a drone, as a diversion).
generally i am skeptical of your assertions, but i believe you are right about what is under the Pentagon.
Where Linda misses the point is that the lawyers should not be calling lawyers as expert witnesses about the law, but they should be calling cognitive psychologist about the universal human ability to read the evidence in ways that support their prior beliefs or deep felt needs.
trouble with this defense of course, is that it would apply to the judges as well as the defendants.
i personally don’t have a deep felt need to convict these guys. i would let them off with “costs” and a warning: “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” it’s easier that way.
The proper response to these clowns is “Grow up”.
Unfortunately, with an entire political party now founded on the principle that wishing & saying makes it so, they’ll get a lot of support in their delusion.
Not familiar with Cheek, but when I worked for a firm that represented tax “avoiders” [rather than protestors] I found the case of US v Critzer [sorry don’t have the citation handy] that was of considerable help to our clients on appeal. Critzer stands for the proposition that you can’t have criminal intent if the government doesn’t know if you conduct is illegal. Our clients had devised a way to “offshore” their earnings in the US to Belize. In discovery we obtained IRS documents where it was discussed internally whether such activity was legal or not and the answer was not clear within the IRS. This seems like a more durable principle than the one you’re discussing in Cheek, but I haven’t read that case.
Perhaps when Linda takes her finger out of her own navel she will wake up to the FACT that the Federal Reserve is not Federal and there is no nor has there ever been a reserve. Every dime that is collected by the IRS goes to pay the interest that the FR has loaned America which eventually ends up in the hands of the Rothschild Cartel. You have to be totally brain dead not to question how is it that the American people are allegedly 14.5 Trillion in debt. So if it is indeed a “fact” that the FR is NOT Federal how in the hell did they get into the position in the first place? This is where we might figure out that our finger was not in our navel and that it was in a different orifice. America is dieing, the American dream has been stripped away. You never own anything in America. Why is the IRS a corporation? Why is the IRS based out of Porta Rico? Your argument is for shit when ones learns that the taxes collected by the IRS are NOT spent on services for the American people. The IRC is 10,000 pages and I will bet the cattle ranch on the fact that there is NOT one IRS employee that knows all the codes and can defend or even speak intelligently about them. Let Linda explain why the Notice of Levy #6331 refers to section B and C and A is omitted? WHY would the IRS do that?
Here’s why –
(a) Authority of Secretary§ 6331. LEVY AND DISTRAINTIf any person liable to pay any tax neglects or refuses to pay the same within 10 days after notice and demand, it shall be lawful for the Secretary to collect such tax (and such further sum as shall be sufficient to cover the expenses of the levy) by levy upon all property and rights to property (except such property as is exempt under section6334) belonging to such person or on which there is a lien provided in this chapter for the payment of such tax. Levy may be made upon the accrued salary or wages of any officer, employee, or elected official, of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any agency or instrumentality of the United States or the District of Columbia, by serving a notice of levy on the employer (as defined in section 3401(d)) of such officer, employee, or elected official. If the Secretary makes a finding that the collection of such tax is in jeopardy, notice and demand for immediate payment of such tax may be made by the Secretary and, upon failure or refusal to pay such tax, collection thereof by levy shall be lawful without regard to the 10-day period provided in this section. Not juding here, just saying …
so you are suggesting an insanity defense?
so you are suggesting an insanity defense?
The fact of the matter is that the IRS will put you in jail if you don’t pay your taxes then bring up one of these kooky defenses, and most Americans will applaud them because most Americans *do* pay their taxes and don’t like deadbeats. Courts in general don’t have much patience with the notion that you had a genuine belief that you were not legally obligated to pay your taxes being an excuse to not pay taxes once you’re notified by the IRS that you are, indeed, legally obligated to pay your taxes. At that point any genuine belief should evaporate like rain hitting the Arizona desert. Bizarre conspiracy theory rantings will get you nothing but dirty looks, a psyche evaluation if the court is feeling *nice* (usually they aren’t), and jail time accompanied by a seizure of all your assets to pay your back taxes plus penalties, *massive* penalities since you just wasted the time of the court with nonsense and judges don’t like that.
It’s the way the world works. It’s reality. Death and taxes oh my oh my. Wishful thinking about how things work in some imaginary world have no effect on this world — reality, what a concept! Some folks seem just plain delusional. Just sayin’.
Not that I have any sympathy, or empathy, for “tax protesters”, they seem to be cut from the same cloth as are Tea Partiers, but I do suspect that the phenomenon of such protest movements would likely be reduced significantly if the tax code required all citizens to pay a fair share of their income in taxes. Not like the 13.9% our friendly investor Mr. Romney is said to have paid on a King’s Ransom worth of income. When the public has good reason to feel agrieved by an imbalance to the financial obligations of citizenship they will act out in all manner of stupid, and not so stupid, protest.