TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Christian Who Cites Opposition To Abortion For Not Paying Taxes Wins Round 1 In Federal District Court

The Oregonian, Man Who Cites Opposition to Abortion For Not Paying Taxes Wins Round 1 in Court:

A federal judge has dismissed a felony tax evasion charge against a man who describes himself as a Christian who refuses to give money to the government to support abortion.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman ruled that the government's indictment failed to provide any evidence that Michael Bowman tried to conceal or mislead government officials by simply cashing his checks and keeping a low bank balance so tax collectors couldn't garnish his account to pay taxes.

"Not everything that makes collection efforts more difficult qualifies as evasion,'' Mosman said Wednesday.

Bowman, a contract engineer who lives in Columbia City, said he's been up front with the Internal Revenue Service, refusing to file a tax return or pay taxes since 1999 without some accommodation afforded to him for his religious beliefs.

"I'm not a tax protester. I love my country. I have a duty to my country. I have a duty to my conscience,'' the 53-year-old said, raising his hand and striking his chest, where the front of his shirt spelled out a definition of "conscience."

Mr. Bowman lays out his case for not paying taxes in this video:

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I'm not sure I understand the theory here. So long as I'm up front about defying the law, I cannot be prosecuted? Really? Defendant appears to have knowingly violated the law within the meaning of Cheek. Is the holding now that so long as he was up front about it, he wins?

Posted by: Ted Seto | Apr 17, 2018 12:23:52 PM

Looks like they were going for Sec. 6050I, the "structuring" law. If they wanted a felony conviction, I don't see why they wouldn't instead charge under Sec. 7201, willful attempt to evade or defeat tax. I'm sure he can expect a superseding indictment.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 18, 2018 7:05:39 AM

wonder if he supports any war efforts....

Posted by: prickle | Apr 19, 2018 12:21:43 PM