Interesting article on Bloomberg: Government Mounting Crackdown on "Tax Deniers"
The U.S. Justice Department, on the heels of a split verdict in its tax evasion prosecution of actor Wesley Snipes, is planning a crackdown on the so-called tax protester movement.
The protesters, or tax deniers, assert a constitutional right to avoid federal taxes, relying in part on century-old Supreme Court decisions. Their ranks are growing to include white-collar professionals, and they are costing the government millions of dollars in revenue, officials say. "Too many people succumb to the fallacy, the illusion, that you don't have to pay any tax under any set of conditions," said Assistant Attorney General Nathan Hochman, the new head of the Justice Department's tax division. "That is a growing problem."
The movement has been given a boost by the faltering economy and politicians' vilification of the IRS. The Snipes verdict may also have helped. ...
"Any kooky tax protester can put up their theories," said Jonathan R. Siegel, a professor at George Washington University's law school who has a Web site that debunks tax denier arguments.
See also Philadelphia Inquirer: Street's Position on Taxes Rejected Often by Courts:
In arguing that federal income taxes are unconstitutional, T. Milton Street Sr. is far from alone - but when it comes to the law, he has gone way out on a very weak limb. Time and time again, courts have ruled that while it is perfectly legal to believe that income taxes are unconstitutional, that is no defense for not paying them. ...
Protesters come in two varieties.
The first, known as resisters, recognize the government's right to collect income tax, but withhold payment on moral grounds, such as opposition to war or other government actions.
The second, to which Street claims to be an adherent, questions the legal foundation of income tax. The former Pennsylvania state senator is now on trial in federal court on charges of wire and mail fraud and tax offenses, including not filing returns and failing to pay income tax on more than $2 million in income. Besides claiming that the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional or was improperly ratified, tax foes have argued that wages are not income, that gold is the only money, and that filing tax returns violates the privilege against self-incrimination. In his own tax case, Street, the older brother of former Mayor John F. Street, on Thursday cited the "missing OMB control number." Basically, this discredited theory holds that because some IRS forms and instruction booklets do not carry a control number from the federal Office of Management and Budget as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act, a citizen may ignore the rule that requires filing a federal tax return.
Update: Ellen Podgor has more here.
February 21, 2008 in News | Permalink
| Comments (0)
| TrackBack (1)