Pay Your Taxes Or The Government Will Cut Power, Internet, Phone, Television, And Mail Service To Your Compound

You know those kooks who go around not paying their taxes and saying there’s no law to make them? Well, a pair of tax-evading renegades in New Hampshire are finding out the hard way that tax evasion can lead to an armed standoff with federal agents. Ed and Elaine Brown of New Hampshire haven’t paid income taxes since 1996, despite being convicted in January of evading taxes on almost $2 million of income generated by Elaine’s dental practice. The pair have cloistered themselves inside a 110 acre compound where they enjoy the glorified lives of tax fugitives. From the LA Times:

Government and law officials have cut off power, Internet, house phone, cellphone, television and mail service to the couple’s 110-acre compound. But their house is equipped with solar panels, a watchtower, a satellite dish and a stockpile of food.

The United States has between 250,000 and 500,000 tax protesters, and not one of them has ever prevailed definitively in court. Even our tax-evading friend from last week, Tom Cryer, should expect a nasty backhanded slap from an appellate court. As for the Brown’s, their fight is not about money:

The government, Ed says, is at a point of “communism in its purist form.”

Elaine nods.

“It’s not communism though,” says the Massachusetts man. “It’s totalitarianism.”

“It’s Marxism,” interjects Tibbetts, 60.

“No, no, no, guys, guys, don’t give me that,” says Ed, raising his voice. “I’ve done 15 years of research here.”

Look, just pay your taxes. If you don’t, you may get an unwelcome visit from the IRS’ executive customer support team, better known as the FBI.

N.H. couple evade death and taxes [LA Times]
(Photo: Jim Cole / AP)

Comments

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  1. homerjay says:

    How are they ever going to know how much they owe if they can’t get the bill in the mail? Sounds like a pretty good excuse to me! :)

  2. iamgibson says:

    HOMERJAY has a point

  3. Bay State Darren says:

    Communism/Totalitarianism/Marxism. I’m suprised they didn’t include Nazism, Fascism and every other -ism people are scared of but have no idea what they mean. I really don’t know either, but I know Marx wanted no central government, so that doesn’t sound like Totalitarism to me.

    My solution to this situation without a Ruby Ridge-style result is this:
    1) Subpoena them to appear in court.
    2) They don’t show, absentia guilty verdict.
    3) Seize their land, deed it to the federal Bureau of Prisons.
    4) Put up walls around it and get guards there.

  4. nequam says:

    @Bay State Darren: They’ve ALREADY been tried and convicted. In April, they were sentenced in absentia to over 5 years in prison.


    But I do like your idea of turning their land into a prison for them. Ha!

  5. crnk says:

    Can consumerist note when registration is required on articles? I’d love to read it, but I refuse to sign up for more junk mail.

  6. banned says:

    “‘communism in its purist form.'” !?
    He hasn’t done any reasearch at all as pure communism isn’t that bad, and it could never happen, in the pure sense.
    I do agree with those people on some level though as I say again, income tax is legalised extortion, and is no different than what the Mafia used to do. I’d almost rather broken legs to locked in my house.

  7. nequam says:

    Sorry, Carey, but there can be no appeal of Cryer’s acquittal because of the protection against double jeopardy.

  8. legotech says:

    @crnk: I know whatcha mean :) [www.bugmenot.com] lets peoples share logins for places so you don’t hafta let ‘em spam you.

    reg

  9. freshwater says:

    @ Nequam:

    There’s a difference between the appeals process and double jeopardy.
    He cannot be tried in the same court system that aquitted him for the
    same offense without new evidence. That would be double jeopardy. But
    the state (or the federal government, whoever prosecuted him) can
    appeal the trial court’s judgment to the next level, by questioning a
    legal issue that was decided at the trial.

  10. nequam says:

    @freshwater: you’re absolutely wrong. The prosecution can appeal certain rulings made in the course of the trial, but the acquittal itself is untouchable. Burks v. United States, 437 U.S. 1 (1978).

  11. Bulldog9908 says:

    @freshwater:
    Nequam is correct. An acquittal is an acquittal. No appeal.

  12. Lordstrom says:

    How much money is the government wasting just to get these people to pay an income tax?

  13. Scuba Steve says:

    @lorddave:
    Probably less than would be lost if everyone thought they could stop paying taxes and get away with it.

  14. ChaosMotor says:

    Our income taxes are paid to the Federal Government. The Federal Government uses these taxes to pay down its debts to the Federal Reserve Banks that it has borrowed from (aka “the deficit”). The Federal Reserve Banks are NON-PUBLIC, NON-GOVERNMENTAL, wholly owned by large private banks. You cannot own stock in these banks that OUR TAXES fund and support.

    Our Federal income taxes pay for the enrichment of already obscenely rich banks owned by obscenely rich individuals, to the betterment only of those who don’t need better, at the sacrifice of those who have spent their entire lives sacrificing.

    The Federal Reserve system serves to concentrate wealth in the hands of the already wealthy, and limit cash flow amongst the non-wealthy to bare-minimum, subsistence levels.

    Why should the blood, sweat, and tears of the hardworking American people underwrite the debauchery and excesses of the obscenely wealthy? Why do we allow ourselves to be used in this manner? Why don’t we claim our birthright – financial and social equality? They don’t have a ‘right’ to our money.

    We need to re-charter the Federal Reserve Banks so that their shareholders are the American Public, so that they are controlled by the American Public, so that the profits and dividends are paid to the American Public, and so that the American Public owns its’ own money supply. In this way we can begin to escape the wage-slavery that our government has been selling us into for over 100 years.

  15. andrewsmash says:

    You don’t own the land – you just rent it from the ruling body. For the natives, the ruling body was their gods. For the settlers, it was the various monarch’s. For Americans, it’s the US government. If you don’t want to pay taxes, don’t own land and don’t work. And then you receive benefits from people who do pay their taxes. Of course, they get to decide how much to give you.

  16. RebekahSue says:

    @andrewsmash: I agree, to a point. I still haven’t figured out how the Government managed to transfer the ownership of land from Mother Nature to the Government. (I pay taxes – don’t get me wrong – but I don’t see how land, trees, mountains, etc. can “belong” to the government.)

    You don’t own the land – you just rent it from the ruling body.

  17. Televiper says:

    Ok.. don’t pay taxes. But, answer this one question for me: Who is going to build the roads and bridges, and who is going to pay for it?

  18. scamcorp says:

    These folks are only trying to find an actual law on the books for having to pay “income tax”. Every time a standoff like this occurs, the irs/governement will say something like, “he United States has between 250,000 and 500,000 tax protesters, and not one of them has ever prevailed definitively in court.” like this time. There has been cases of people being acquitted on this before. [newsbusters.org] The case of Tom Cryer has explicitly shown this. Every time we pay income taxes, we are empowering the IRS even more. What we need is a revolt. More people like this to do the exact same thing.

  19. peggynature says:

    In a sense I can almost understand their position, but then again…if they don’t want to pay taxes, then I guess they shouldn’t be allowed to use any of the services that our taxes pay for (ie roads, mail service, inspected food, etc etc etc infinity.)

    I don’t like paying taxes either, but I’ll take it over the alternative any day.

  20. zolielo says:

    @RebekahSue: What bugs me more is that I do not own the air above or the dirt bellow. :)

  21. banned says:

    @Televiper:
    How about business!? If they want me to drive to their business, then they can pay for the road repair. Raise taxes on them, charge higher sales tax on non-essential goods, and voila! After all, laying concrete over concrete, at the tax-payers expense, is a losing battle anyway.

  22. macpiper says:

    @PEGGYNATURE: There is no “law” specifically saying you must pay taxes, although the government would like us to believe there is. and here’s where the fun comes in, our federal taxes don’t pay for roads, inspected food, etc they pay back interest to the federal reserve, which is NOT a government agency. i suggest checking out the documentary “America: Freedom to Facism” it deals with the question of whether there is a law requiring you to pay your taxes.

  23. InThrees says:

    #Televiper

    I forget the exact breakdown, but I was surprised to learn that ‘income tax’ doesn’t pay for roads, bridges, and a lot of other things you would expect it to pay for.

    Personally I think a VAT/sales driven tax system would be best for the country, both in terms of tax revenue and allocating burden where it belongs. Those who make the most money should pay the most taxes, but it should be the same percentage as those who make little. Don’t tax food at all on a national scale, but everything else should be taxed reasonably. Luxury items should be taxed a little more heavily. There is a difference between saving up for a Geo Metro or Ford Focus and on a lark traipsing down to the local Bentley dealer for a new weekend driver.

  24. Rusted says:

    Gasoline taxes pay for the roads…and “other” things. Social Security tax pays for our retirement….and “other” things. Medicaid, medical and “other” things. Other as in keeping the pork barrel full.

  25. ThyGuy says:

    As a independent contractor, I have never had trouble with using tax right-offs to reduce my taxes to nothing, or some low amount that I hardly miss. The problems with taxes is that most people don’t know how to use them to your benefit. Fools go to H & R block and let those idiots handle it.

    Just remember, taxes do change each year, so you can always find some new tax rule to exploit to your advantage, just like the government does.

  26. Candyman says:

    @mcpiper, etc;
    Oh, give me a break! The so-called tax “experts” that the film bases it’s “reasoning” on are themselves tax cheats and frauds who have been found by the courts to be wrong, wrong, WRONG, and wound up in JAIL for it. C’mon, anyone who tries to argue that a duly enacted constitutional amendment is unconstitutional will LOSE their case. And anyone who is foolish enough to get their ideas about tax law from them is self delusional. Ask a burgler about property law next. ;-)

  27. Bay State Darren says:

    @Candyman: Finally, a voice of reason. This thread was going into tinfoil hat country for a little while there.

  28. slackerwire says:

    The income tax simply pays interest to the Federal Reserve, that is all it is used for.

    For those condemning the Browns, can any of you answer a single question for me:

    Why does the IRS refuse to actually show the law that requires private citizens to pay a tax on the remuneration they receive for engaging in a private contract?

    A quick reading of the IRC reveals a very specific and precise definition of income, and that definition does not apply to ordinary working Americans.

  29. SkyeBlue says:

    I have a few tax protesters as family members and I have known others over the years and I can tell you most of them are a bunch of NUTS! Most of them do not file or pay taxes simply out of GREED. Not for standing up for some “Greater Cause”. They do not want to pay in but all of them do not mind the rest of us paying so they can enjoy the benefits this country has to offer.

  30. Fry says:

    @legotech: Thanks for the link! I just found a new bookmark.

  31. Bay State Darren says:

    One thing I wonder about these “income tax is illegal and/or unconstitutional” people is how many of them are genius attorneys or legal scholars? If income tax laws were always void as they claim, did every attorney, especially tax attorneys, Constitutional and legal scholar for decades not ever notice? A handful of semi-anarchists, albiet a few are lawyers, notice this gaping hole in the law, but decades of America’s top lawyers and jurists never do, especially around April 15 of every year? That means F. Lee Bailey, Clarence Darrow, Melvin Belli and their peers and other colleagues have sat down every year, done their tax return, written checks for the IRS, and did all this with their legal skills not functioning. If income tax was legally invalid, tax-paying attorneys would have fought and defeated it almost immediately.

  32. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Tax protesters do seem kinda nutty. Mostly anti-government militia survivalist types.


    I think most normal people just hire crafty tax lawyers to help minimize the taxes they owe.


    ;-)

  33. @RebekahSue: “I agree, to a point. I still haven’t figured out how the Government managed to transfer the ownership of land from Mother Nature to the Government.”

    Individuals mix their labor with the land, thus giving them the right to “own” the land (Locke) and then they band together to avoid the State of Nature and form the government/Leviathan and give it taxing power (Hobbes). At least in Anglo-American political theory. :D

  34. Alvis says:

    “..officials have cut off power, Internet, house phone, cellphone, television “

    How do you “cut off” television and cellphone service? Broadband jamming equipment? I don’t know just how isolated they are, but wouldn’t that affect a LOT of other people

  35. Xenuite says:

    @RebekahSue: They own it because they say so. They have lines on a map that say you pay or they put you in a place where soap on the ground represents a date with your cellmate, Bobo. If another government moved that line a little you would be paying so that you aren’t the girlfriend of Jose in prison. Nothing changes except the guy behind you.

  36. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    IMHO, the Browns are a couple of whackjobs. Nobody likes taxes, and it would be nice to think that you could simply not pay them, but it doesn’t work that way in reality.

    The Browns are certainly wealthy enough and could easily have afforded to pay their taxes, but they chose not to..and I think it was more a case of personal greed than conscientious objection. I mean, it’s easy to not pay your taxes and then when you’re called on it to proclaim “Well…you know..we really don’t believe in taxes, that’s why we didn’t pay them..” Very convenient.

    I mean, hey..it’s a free country..go ahead and protest and don’t pay your taxes and see what happens. As a resident of NH, I find the Browns more along the lines of annoying weirdos than patriotic heroes. At this point, Ed Brown would like nothing more than to start another Ruby Ridge incident, but so far the Feds haven’t indulged him.

    If you don’t want to pay any taxes, don’t make any income or accumulate any property and live in a cave. If you buy into the system by working, accumulating money, investments, and property, then you have to play the rest of the game too. You can’t just say “Well, I don’t like THAT part of it” and then refuse to play the game. Chances are the other players are going to be a little upset about it. Granted, most people find ways to cheat (writeoffs, offshore accounts, hedge funds, etc)..which actually seems to be acceptable (and even expected)…but completely refusing to play isn’t.

  37. FLConsumer says:

    CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER: The IRS has absolutely nothing to do with the FBI. The IRS has their own law enforcement branch, called the Criminal Investigation Division. They’re IRS agents with a badge and gun. Unlike the FBI, they don’t mess around, nor do they screw up — they’re actually very sharp and intelligent. I’ve worked with them on numerous cases and have been impressed each time. Wish I could say that for other 3-letter agencies.

    In this case, it appears the Browns took this to the courts, which is why the FBI’s apparently involved. Damn shame. I’d much rather work with the IRS-CID agents.

  38. roothorick says:

    The federal income tax system needs to be abolished. Given, running a nation isn’t free, but there’s plenty of much much much simpler ways to accumulate money. I personally wouldn’t mind a 10% federal sales tax on everything if it meant everybody got to save money by throwing out the entirety of the income tax system.

  39. @roothorick: “I personally wouldn’t mind a 10% federal sales tax on everything if it meant everybody got to save money”

    Everybody wouldn’t. Sales taxes are regressive in that they fall disproportionately hard on the poor, and rates would tend to go up for the bottom 1/5 of society even at so low a rate as 10%.

  40. Plaid Rabbit says:

    @zolielo: You actually do own the all the airspace above you – you just don’t have the right to use it as you wish. You have that right up to a certain altitude, after which the FAA has an eminent domain easement for air travel. :)

    What you do own all of, with no easements that weren’t disclosed you to you upon purchase or you agreed to after the fact is the earth below you. Assuming you own your house and the land its on, you own and have control over all of the land below your home, as far down as the center of the earth – that’s the prevailing legal theory, of course. :)

  41. Pupator says:

    @Plaid Rabitt -

    Ha! You think anyone in this country owns land? Tell me this, what happens to that land “you own” if you stop paying property taxes on it?

    We’re a nation of land renters. No one owns.

  42. JustAGuy2 says:

    @scamcorp:

    Here’s the law requiring you to pay income taxes:

    Title 26 of the US Code, which is a law passed by Congress (most recent revision was Public Law 99-514, passed in 1986).

    [docs.law.gwu.edu]

  43. @FLConsumer: UHH so incidents like the Jewish mother was a by the book above board raid by IRS agents? How much did that shining example of IRS enforcement end up costing that family, not to mention US Taxpayers?

    IRS agents if anything are MORE out of control than any other domestic enforcement group.

  44. markwm says:

    @Plaid Rabbit:
    “you own and have control over all of the land below your home, as far down as the center of the earth”

    Unless you don’t have the mineral rights for that land. Then you don’t have full control of it.


    As far as the tax protesters, I sympathize with them, as I think there is a lot of waste in government that should be trimmed, lowering the tax burden on everyone. However, I don’t think protesting is the way to do it. I myself support the Fair Tax, but there are several other options out there that are feasible and could be made to work. Unfortunately, I foresee paying the same income tax that I pay today until my dying day.

  45. JustAGuy2 says:

    @slackerwire:

    According to the Internal Revenue Code, (paragraph 61):

    . . . [G]ross income means all income from whatever source derived, including (but not limited to) the following items:
    (1) Compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits, and similar items;
    (2) Gross income derived from business;
    (3) Gains derived from dealings in property;
    (4) Interest;
    (5) Rents;
    (6) Royalties;
    (7) Dividends;
    (8) Alimony and separate maintenance payments;
    (9) Annuities;
    (10) Income from life insurance and endowment contracts;
    (11) Pensions;
    (12) Income from discharge of indebtedness;
    (13) Distributive share of partnership gross income;
    (14) Income in respect of a decedent; and
    (15) Income from an interest in an estate or trust. . . .

  46. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @Alvis: I take it you’ve never had any of your utilities shut off due to non-payment before. Unfortunately I haven’t been so lucky!

    Any company can terminate your service if you haven’t paid it. The government probably obtained some injunction for the power, cable, gas companies requiring them to terminate service for The Browns.

    It’s really quite simple, to be honest.

  47. mac-phisto says:

    You know those kooks who go around not paying their taxes and saying there’s no law to make them?

    you mean our Founding Fathers?

  48. Wormfather says:

    @freshwater: Nope, all crimes that derived from a single or connected events must be tried at the same time.

    Otherwise you could go on trial for murder, get aquited and then have the DA run the line on you all the way down to assult.

  49. @mac-phisto: I’m pretty sure their objection was that they didn’t get to MAKE the laws taxing them, not that they objected to taxation laws qua taxation laws or that there were no such laws.

  50. nequam says:

    @mac-phisto: Very clever! But there are some clear differences: (1) modern Americans consent to the gov’t that is taxing them; and (2) the current argument against the power to tax is based primarily on typos and mispellings in the ratification documents for the 16th Amendment. I doubt Patrick Henry would ever have cried: “Give me crossed ‘t’s and dotted ‘i’s, or give me death.” But maybe now I’m the one being too cute.

  51. beyond says:

    Sorry but if they purchased the land, live “off the grid” without landline phone/electricity/water that tax dollars built, and draw income without using government services (like healthcare subsidies or something)…why exactly should we be upset that they are not paying taxes?

    Just keep them off our roads.

  52. mac-phisto says:

    oh, i don’t know, i think it’s pretty similar.

    hey, i pay my taxes, but to sit here & argue that the IRS & the income tax isn’t built on a house of cards seems very silly. we can talk about how people are fighting the tax based on typos, or we could talk about how the supreme court absolutely refuses to hear any cases that question the legitimacy of the law, or the method of taxation, or whether the taxation fits the definition framed by the constitution & applicable law. we could also talk about double jeopardy or “innocence before guilt” (except in tax court), how different circuits have ruled differently on taxes (seems depending on which circuit you live in, the income tax is a direct or indirect tax, or neither or both).

    i <3 tax protesters. as long as they’re around fighting the man, i know i’m safe. plus, it’s always fun to see ppl thwart poorly written laws.

  53. JustAGuy2 says:

    @mac-phisto:

    FYI, the law is what the Supreme Court says it is, that’s the definition of the law (this isn’t physics). It’s not like there is some abstract “higher” view of the law. Also FYI, when the Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal, they’re (a) saying that the Circuit court got it right, and (b) there’s nothing that’s worth reviewing in the decision.

  54. E-Bell says:

    As was pointed out, above, Title 26 is the law that requires you to pay income taxes. In fact, it’s on the very first fucking page.

    The reason the IRS doesn’t answer the letters of these loony tax protesters is because:

    1. It’s a waste of time.

    2. One letter will spark more letters. If the IRS answers one letter, then isn’t it obligated to follow up when the tax loonies ask the next question? Where does it end? Tax law is complicated and vague in some places – if the IRS were obligated to answer every crazy question, it would have to pay a bunch of lawyers to answer taxpayer questions (which, in itself would create issues). Tax protesters have shown no end of ingenuity when it comes to making up wacko legal theories, after previous legal theories get shot down by the courts.

    3. It’s a waste of time. If murder is illegal, should I be acquitted of strangling my wife if I had previously written to the sheriff asking him what law made it illegal to murder someone?

    A note of clarification on Tom Cryer: the gub’ment cannot prosecute him for the same crime twice. Even if the judge royally fucked up during the trial. That’s double jeopardy at work, folks, as already commented on. What they WILL do, however, is sue him for the taxes he owes. And they’ll win. It’s a lot easier for the IRS to win a tax suit than it is to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Cryer’s failure to file taxes was willful.

  55. MeOhMy says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    FYI, the law is what the Supreme Court says it is, that’s the definition of the law (this isn’t physics). It’s not like there is some abstract “higher” view of the law.

    I don’t think this is quite accurate. The legislature writes the law while the supreme court interprets the legislature’s work.

    In other words, the supreme court doesn’t get to invent new laws (in theory, at least), they may only interpret existing laws.

    FYI, when the Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal, they’re (a) saying that the Circuit court got it right, and (b) there’s nothing that’s worth reviewing in the decision.

    I also don’t think this is entirely accurate. They could also be saying that they do not want to review the decision because the results will be a nightmare. They could simply be putting off the decision because the issue is not critical enough.

    I’m thinking the former. Let’s say the supreme court did take a look at some of these cases. If they were to find that the government actually does not have the power to enforce the income tax, the result would be mind-boggling. People would be suing for a refund on every penny they ever paid. People would be suing to recover ANCESTOR’S back-taxes. Plus interest. The legislature would have to fight to legally re-instate the income tax and then THAT would be fought up to the supreme court. Legislators and jurists would fight for years over who can collect back payments and how much.

    I don’t think the supreme court is declining their cases because they are all too cut-and-dried as much as they don’t want to be the ones to open the political Pandora’s Box. I sure wouldn’t touch it!

  56. macpiper says:

    @Macphisto:

    the cry was no taxation without representation. ie: why should we pay taxes to you. when you are across the ocean, have no idea what is truly going on here, and with very very very little representation in parliament on deciding the colonies fate.

    @ bay state darren

    i like my tin foil hat, thank you. :)

  57. mac-phisto says:

    @JustAGuy2: actually, FYI, what you are talking about is commonly referred to as “legislating from the bench”. the problem with your incredibly simplistic view of the american judicial process is the assumption that everyone can be right. when you have federal justices making rulings all over the legal spectrum regarding income tax, it’s pretty obvious that the laws need a little tweaking. they can’t even legally define what constitutes income, for god’s sake!

    read this snafu of a judgement & then you’ll understand why people protest taxes:
    [pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov]

    that case has more twists than a sock hop. here’s my favorite part (emphasis mine):

    In other words, although the “Congress cannot make a thing income which is not so in fact,” Burk-Waggoner Oil Ass’n v. Hopkins, 269 U.S. 110, 114 (1925), it can label a thing income and tax it, so long as it acts within its constitutional authority, which includes not only the Sixteenth Amendment but also Article I, Sections 8 and 9. See Penn Mut. Indem. Co. v. Comm’r, 277 F.2d 16, 20 (3d Cir. 1960) (“Congress has the power to impose taxes generally, and if the particular imposition does not run afoul of any constitutional restrictions then the tax is lawful, call it what you will”)
    (footnote omitted).

    there’s also a great part in there about how a law is a law even before it’s actually a law (see pgs. 17-18 regarding whether a law passed in 1996 applied to earnings prior to 1996).

    incidentally, this judgement overturns a previous unanimous decision by the same court less than a year prior. if that doesn’t scream “we don’t know what the hell we’re doing!!11!1″, i don’t know what does.

  58. JustAGuy2 says:

    @mac-phisto:

    1. They overturned the prior decision because the gov’t came back with a different line of argument, which is entirely valid.

    2. The section doesn’t state that “a law is a law even before it’s actually a law,” it states that, since the Congress went to the effort of changing the law in 1996 to disallow, we can assume that the law prior to 1996 allowed. The court recognized that this was less than an ideal situation, but the law isn’t always perfect or crystal clear, that’s why we have courts in the first place.

    3. The point of the section you cite is that, if Congress has the power to tax something, it can tax it, regardless of what it _calls_ it. Congress could decide to call income “snurglebutts,” and pass a snurglebutt tax – so long as the thing that’s being taxed is something Congress has the authority to tax (i.e. is something that Congress hasn’t been banned from taxing), then the tax is valid. The court is looking at the question of what, fundamentally, Murphy’s award actually _is_.

    The judgement is dealing with a difficult issue, whether a very particular payment made to Murphy is in fact taxable, and in an area where the law isn’t crystal clear. Notice that the bulk of the opinion is on whether the punitive damages paid to Murphy are actually income, which is somewhat unclear in the tax code, since compensatory damages aren’t generally taxable, and the code is largely silent on punitive damages. If Murphy had been contesting whether her wage income was taxable, the decision would have been two pages long, most of which outlining the sanctions she and her attorneys faced for filing a frivolous appeal.

    Is the tax code too convoluted? Yes. Is there clear room for improvement in its clarity? Yes. Is it tough to write a code that takes every eventuality into account? Yes. Is there any doubt among any serious legal scholar that the taxation of income (broadly defined, including wages and salaries) is legal under the Constitution and statutes of the US? No.

  59. nequam says:

    People, judgment contains only one “e” in the US.

    That said, JUSTAGUY2, I read the opinion the same way you did. But there’s no use trying to argue with the dime-store legal analyses put forth by MAC-PHISTO, whose comment demonstrates the danger of having a little knowledge. It really smacks of somebody with an incomplete legal education.

  60. Alvis says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers:

    What’s wrong with you? Did you even read my post? How do you shut down BROADCAST RF services without affecting EVERYONE around?

  61. JustAGuy2 says:

    @nequam:

    You’re right, sorry about the wayward “e”

  62. jglessner says:

    It is in fact possible to avoid paying taxes, you just have to do it legally. Yes there is a legal way to never again have to pay income tax.

    Have your social security number rescinded. If you have your SSN rescinded you are not legally required to pay income tax afterwards.

    There are drawbacks to this. Think about how many forms and applications require a SSN (it’s so astoundingly pervasive in modern society it’s stupid). Also you will be forfeiting your social security and any government funded disability rights.

    This site ([www.buildfreedom.com]) has a lot of good information about this topic.

    Now this is not going to be easy either. Expect to be taken to court by the IRS EVERY SINGLE YEAR for many many years to come. I personally know a man that had his SSN rescinded years ago, and the IRS has been taking him to court every year for at least 15 years. Every time, they get in front of a judge, his lawyer explains the situation to the judge, and the judge rules against the IRS, and grants the defendant attorney’s fees.

    It’s a way of life more than a hobby if you catch my drift. The IRS claims that my acquaintance owes them 11.3 million dollars in back taxes (and that was 5-6 years ago), yet every year they fail to collect.

    I personally only see this a being a viable option if you are going to make enough money that you will never need to draw social security, but it is in fact legally possible to never pay income tax. I’m guessing that these people did not go about this the legal way, they just stopped paying taxes – not the right way to go.

  63. JustAGuy2 says:

    @jglessner:

    This man you personally know who has beaten the IRS (and gotten his legal fees paid) every year for the last 15 years – what courts have these cases been in? You shouldn’t have a problem telling us his name, either, since these court cases are a matter of public record. Frankly, I’d love to meet him, since he obviously knows something that a lot of billionaires with extremely high-priced legal and tax consultants don’t – they’d certainly give up claim to Social Security payments in exchange for never paying taxes.

  64. Candyman says:

    @jglessner

    Oh, yeah, that rambling website just FILLS me up with trust and confidence in their legal reasoning! I mean how can you doubt them when they write such sensible stuff as:
    “The main purpose of the Social Security system is to turn people into slaves.

    The Social Security Act is a monstrous lie. It was created and devised and intended unjustly, fraudulently, and maliciously to deprive the individual of his/her birthright, good name and character, and to legally steal his wealth. Some people claim that the Social Security Act was a plot to rid the individual sovereign of his absolute rights, and, further that the underlying purpose was to render the individual subject to, and the object of, the tax laws and other related contractual obligations. The Social Security number is recognized by other nations and is prima facia evidence that:

    1) The numbered citizen is a card-carrying and practicing member of socialism.

    2) He has voluntarily waived his absolute right to:

    a) Personal Security
    b) Personal Liberty
    c) Personal Property”

    BWAAAAA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAAA!!!

    Learned Hand, eat your heart out!

  65. artinm says:

    They have every right to challenge the IRS.
    Has anyone ever watched the documentary “America Freedom to Fascism” by Aaron Russo? It’s available on Google video for free (officially authorized)

    [video.google.com]

    I don’t see these people as crazies trying to evade taxes but rather they are the some of the few who are not awake and not part of the mass sleeping horde. Watch the documentary and make up your own mind.

  66. mac-phisto says:

    @JustAGuy2: you got my point, so that works for me. murphy qualifies as a tax protester too, which is why i brought the case into the ring. herein lies a case where it is unclear – even within the context of the laws – whether she owes the tax or not. when a board of federal justices has a problem with rectifying tax codes, i think there is room within our political system for people that feel the tax system needs some reform.

    @nequam: and thank you for providing a striking example of someone with a stunted ability to debate. if you have nothing better to offer than an ad hominem attack, why don’t you just keep your opinions to yourself?

  67. MeOhMy says:

    I personally only see this a being a viable option if you are going to make enough money that you will never need to draw social security…

    Or if you are under 30 and will never be able to draw social security (at least not for retirement) anyway.

  68. nequam says:

    @mac-phisto: Ooooh … I struck a nerve. I hope I’ve not discouraged you, however, from continuing your studies at the Wikipedia School of Law. : P

  69. some_yahoo says:

    Slavery is involuntarily working without compensation. If you pay 38% of your income in taxes, you are 38% a slave.

    Your ‘fair share’ is to keep 100% of the efforts of your labor. Anything other than that, unless given voluntarily, is inherently unfair.

  70. FinanceGuru says:

    @mac-phisto:

    Double jeopardy and the presumption that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty are criminal law principles. The assessment of income tax is a civil matter.

  71. JustAGuy2 says:

    @FinanceGuru:

    In Cryer’s case, there was a criminal prosecution for willful tax evasion, in which Cryer was found not guilty (because, due to a quirk in the criminal statute, conviction would require that the accused _knew_ he had an obligation to pay tax – if someone is totally and genuinely convinced that he doesn’t have to pay income tax, he can skate). The IRS cannot attempt to try him on those criminal charges again. It can, and will, however, pursue him civilly, and is extremely likely to win easily and get the taxes plus penalties.

  72. FinanceGuru says:

    @JustAGuy2: I’m familiar with the Cryer case, and am all too familiar with the distinction between tax crimes and civil tax assessment.

  73. JustAGuy2 says:

    @FinanceGuru:

    Clearly you are – should have read your previous post before I commented.

  74. Chicago7 says:

    Anyone who owns a “compound” is just asking for it, IMHO!

  75. Chicago7 says:

    @some_yahoo:

    Is somebody FORCING you to work? Then you aren’t a slave.

  76. bluesunburn says:

    @some_yahoo:

    Don’t want to pay taxes to the US Gov’t? Don’t live in the US! Makes sense to me. :-)

  77. WV.Hillbilly says:

    @bluesunburn:

    The poor in the US pay no income taxes.
    They’re the ones not paying their fair share.
    Should they leave here?

    I think so, but that’s beside the point.

  78. “If you don’t, you may get an unwelcome visit from the IRS’ executive customer support team, better known as the FBI”

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, would be more embarassing to someone than the IRS Guy showing up at your day flanked by FBI agents and some third-party company to take your stuff from your house. Good thing I pay my taxes.

  79. mrrbob says:

    WV.HILLBILLY – it is called income redistribution for political gain. IE the democrats. Without their troops of dependents that party would cease to exist.

  80. jaewon223 says:

    I wouldn’t mind paying taxes if it wasnt spent so frivolously. I’ll pay for roads, parks and improvement and maintenance of our communities but $XXX billions going to a war that I don’t even understand why we are really in is beyond me.

    I’d rather put a man on mars.

  81. scamcorp says:

    I am forced into taxes. Did the IRS ask me if I was going to use services this year? I will answer that one for you…NO I don’t want your filthy govt. programs, please allow me public domain so I can ride my horse through your lawn and crap on it.

  82. cajunsweety says:

    I had scoliosis as a child,, now bent,, have lifelong Irritable Bowel Syndrome(at 5 days old they called it spastic stomach and colon),,seperated right shoulder, have been abducted by a serial killer/rapist 20 yrs ago(years of therapy, rescued by FBI)in Prague, OK

    Relocated from there to make a fresh start {out of the frying pan, into the fire} moved to Spiro, OK where attended welding school. A 6’8″ cop by the name of Dale Whitecotton TRIED to blackmail me out of sexual favors,, 6 stitches in head at ER, and several false PI’s later( 3 months worth),, i got his badge in court ,, worked my ass off all my life,welder, heavy equipment operator, mechanic, till 45 yrs,, now 54,, yet they tell me I am not eligable for disability,, SO tried to be self employed,, THEN,, I made $6000 in 2006,,, that took me a year to pay the $400 i owed uncle sam,, so now the business is OVER,, CAN’T IMAGINE WHAT A MOTHER/GRANDMOTHER/WIDOW/POST TRAUMATIC STRESS SYNDROME IS TO DO,, SO UNFAIR,,

    The good news is I own my own property(w/trailer) , so I am not out on the street,,, just borrow and beg to keep my utilities on,,,

    ANY SUGGESTIONS would be well appreciated

    Robin