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Huzzah for Tax Protesters! February 3, 2008

Posted by federalist in Taxation.

Why would a reasonable patriot applaud citizens who avoid paying their “fair share” of taxes?  Because taxes are the fuel that enables government to overstep its constitutional bounds and encroach upon our life and liberty.

I just stumbled upon this report of a remarkable triumph over the IRS last July.  The substance of the case seemed to revolve around the definition of personal wages, and the government’s right to tax those.  The defendant in the case, Tom Cryer, noted to the WorldNetDaily reporter:

The IRS lets Wal-Mart sell a trillion dollars worth of goods, but they can back out their cost of goods [before being taxed.]  The IRS considers, in the case of a Wal-Mart wage earner, 100 percent of what he takes in is profit.

Indeed, one feature of the tax code that has always bothered me is the fact that businesses, investors — even gamblers — can deduct their expenses for producing income, but individuals cannot.  In principle everything that preserves your capacity to work for income — food, shelter, medicine, and even recreation — should be deductible from your wages before taxation.

There are many individuals and groups protesting taxes out there.  WeThePeople is another one on which I found another fascinating report of IRS defeat — in this case by a clever businessman who paid wages in precious coins circulated by the U.S. Mint that carry a face value far lower than the metal’s market value.

It doesn’t take much research into tax protesters to get the impression that they are all nutjobs.  Or at least that they all have very bad website design skills.  Nevertheless, the fact that a lot of nutjobs advocate similar positions doesn’t necessarily make a position illegitimate.

The IRS has gotten so tired of hearing the same arguments against its authority that it has even compiled an official list of “frivolous arguments,” along with rebuttals and the promise of stiff fines for people who continue to try them.  In the case of Tom Cryer:

He said throughout his battle, he’s offered at every turn to pay taxes if the IRS could show him the authorization, and that never has happened. “The Criminal Investigation Division and Department of Justice both responded only with ‘your position is frivolous.’ I had never stated a position, so how could they know whether it was frivolous?” he said. “Imagine my sending you a bill for $1,000 and when you call me and ask what the bill was for I simply said, ‘that position is frivolous, just write the check and send it in.'”


1. federalist - February 22, 2008

Lysander Spooner articulated my first paragraph as follows:

[E]very man who puts money into the hands of a “government” (so called), puts into its hands a sword which will be used against him, to extort more money from him, and also to keep him in subjection to its arbitrary will. [T]hose who will take his money, without his consent, in the first place, will use it for his further robbery and enslavement, if he presumes to resist their demands in the future.

2. federalist - May 11, 2008

Aaron Russo produced a good documentary, “America: From Freedom to Fascism” on tax protesters, viewable online.

“Freedom Law School” offers a $300k reward for anyone who can undermine the three strongest arguments used by income tax protesters.

Lowell Becraft catalogs anti-tax arguments that have been debunked.

Tax-Honesty.org suggests starting with these links to learn about the movement against income taxation.

3. federalist - August 27, 2009
4. federalist - February 21, 2010

Andrew Stack demonstrates a more extreme method of tax protesting: After decades of civil battles with the IRS he destroyed his house (perhaps to leave fewer assets for them to claim?) and made a kamikaze attack with his small plane on an IRS office. More here.

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