Tax protester

A tax protester is someone who refuses to pay a tax claiming that the tax laws are unconstitutional or otherwise invalid. Tax protesters are different from tax resisters, who refuse to pay taxes as a protest against a government or its policies, or a moral opposition to taxation in general, not out of a belief that the tax law itself is invalid. The United States has a large and organized culture of people who espouse such theories. Tax protesters also exist in other countries.

Legal commentator Daniel B. Evans has defined tax protesters as people who "refuse to pay taxes or file tax returns out of a mistaken belief that the federal income tax is unconstitutional, invalid, voluntary, or otherwise does not apply to them under one of a number of bizarre arguments" (divided into several classes: constitutional, conspiracy, administrative, statutory, and arguments based on 16th Amendment and the "861" section of the tax code; see the Tax protester arguments article for an overview).[1] Law Professor Allen D. Madison has described tax protesters as "those who refuse to pay income tax on the basis of some nonsensical legal argument that he or she does not owe tax."[2]

An illegal tax-protest scheme has been defined as "any scheme, without basis in law or fact, designed to express dissatisfaction with the tax laws by interfering with their administration or attempting to illegally avoid or reduce tax liabilities."[3] The United States Tax Court has stated that "tax protester" is a designation "often given to persons who make frivolous antitax arguments".[4]

Tax protesters raise a number of different kinds of arguments. In the United States, these typically include constitutional arguments, such as claims that the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was not properly ratified or that it is unconstitutional generally, or that being forced to file an income tax return violates the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Others are statutory arguments suggesting that the income tax is constitutional but the statutes enacting the income tax are ineffective, or that Federal Reserve Notes or other relevant currencies do not constitute cash or income. Yet another collection of arguments centers on general conspiracies involving numerous government agencies.

Some tax protesters refuse to file a tax return or file returns with no income or tax data supplied.[5]

  1. ^ Daniel B. Evans, "The Tax Protester FAQ", at [1]. See also Robert L. Sommers, Testimony Before The Senate Finance Committee, "Taxpayer Beware: Schemes, Scams and Cons: Trust Scams on the Web", April 5, 2001, U.S. Senate web site, at [2]. See also David Cay Johnston, "White Hats Take to the Web to Dispel Anti-Tax Schemes," New York Times, March 25, 2004, at [3]. Evans is also cited by tax law professor James Edward Maule; see James Edward Maule, "For Would-Be Travelers on the Noncompliant Federal Income Tax Protester Path," Villanova University School of Law, at "Would-be Travellers on the Noncompliant Tax Protester Path". Archived from the original on 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-04-15.; see also Joseph A. Gambardello, "Street's position on taxes rejected often by courts," Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 16, 2008; see also Allen D. Madison, "The Futility of Tax Protester Arguments," 36 Thomas Jefferson Law Review 253, at 256, footnote 15 (Vol. 36, No. 2, Spring 2014).
  2. ^ Allen D. Madison, "The Futility of Tax Protester Arguments," 36 Thomas Jefferson Law Review 253, at 256 (Vol. 36, No. 2, Spring 2014).
  3. ^ Jennifer E. Ihlo, Senior Trial Attorney, Special Counsel for Tax Protest Matters (Criminal), Tax Division, United States Department of Justice, "The Gold Fringed Flag: Prosecution of the Illegal Tax Protester," United States Attorneys' Bulletin, Vol. 46, No. 3, p. 15 (U.S. Dep't of Justice, April 1998).
  4. ^ Footnote 5 in Aldrich v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2013-201 (2013).
  5. ^ Bruce I. Hochman, Michael Popoff, Dennis L. Perez, Charles P. Rettig & Steven R. Toscher, "Tax Crimes," p. A-4, Tax Management Portfolios, Vol. 636, Tax Management, Inc., a subsid. of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (1993).

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