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IRS lists and refutes 'all of the anti-tax arguments'

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by E.L., Jun 24, 2007.

  1. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    IRS lists and refutes 'all of the anti-tax arguments'

    New Hampshire Sunday News Staff

    Convicted tax evaders Ed and Elaine Brown of Plainfield aren't the first Americans to claim they shouldn't have to pay income tax, and they likely will not be the last, given the amount of debate the issue has sparked on the Internet.
    But legal scholars are quick to point out the U.S. Constitution -- the document many anti-government folks like the Browns hold most sacred -- does in fact allow an income tax. Article 1 enumerates the powers of Congress, including "the power to lay and collect taxes ... to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States ..."
    As our young nation grew, lawmakers and the courts debated whether any income tax collected had to be divided equally among the states on a per capita basis. Finally, Congress passed the 16th Amendment to the Constitution in 1909, and sent it out to the states to be ratified, which required three-quarters of the then-48 states.
    Here's the text of the 16th Amendment: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration."
    Seems clear? Not so fast, say some folks, among them Brendan Kelly, chairman of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party.
    "They never passed it," he insisted. "They just said they did."
    Kelly -- and he has plenty of company -- contends "they didn't have enough states to go along with it" to ratify the 16th Amendment.
    "This is when it started," he said. "They started the Federal Reserve Bank and all this nonsense that stole freedom from the country."
    Not true, says Michael York, the state librarian. He produced the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated, 2003 edition, which lays out the history of Amendment XVI. The amendment, it states, "was proposed by the Sixty-first Congress on July 12, 1909, and was declared ratified on February 25, 1913."
    It goes on to list the states that ratified the amendment and the dates they did so. The first was Alabama, on Aug. 10, 1909.
    The last? New Hampshire, March 7, 1913 -- which happens to be after the date the U.S. Secretary of State declared the amendment ratified. (According to information posted on the U.S. House of Representatives Web site, New Hampshire had previously rejected the same amendment in March, 1911.)
    York said he's heard the arguments over the years that there weren't enough states that ratified the 16th amendment, but, by his count, there were more than enough.
    "When I counted them up, there were 42. They needed 36," he said.
    IRS official cites federal tax code
    What the law says
    Browns say they will either walk free, or die
    The Browns insist they won't back down
    Feds say they can outwait the Browns
    Couple won't fight verdict of tax evasion
    Freedom or 'body bags,' say Browns
    Officials: Browns have enough assets
    Prosecutors: Seize Browns' property

    Ohio is a particularly popular target of Internet theories; the argument goes that Ohio wasn't really a state until 1953, when Congress issued a proclamation making it so -- even though it was accepted into the union 150 years earlier.
    By York's count, there were 40 states that had ratified the 16th Amendment by Feb. 25, 1913; Massachusetts and New Hampshire did so on March 4 and March 7 of that year, respectively.
    So even if you wanted to discount Ohio, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, 39 states had ratified the amendment prior to Feb. 25, 1913.
    As a historian, York said, it's clear to him that the issue has been settled. "This has been adjudicated at the U.S. Supreme Court level, and they're the ones that in fact decide whether the laws are constitutional, and they've decided that in fact the 16th Amendment is constitutional."
    Stephen Black is a professor at Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, and an expert in tax law. For years, he, too, has heard the arguments that there's no legal basis for federal income taxes.
    He noted the IRS lists and refutes "all of the anti-tax arguments that have been collected over the years" on its Web site. (Search for "frivolous tax arguments" on irs.gov.)
    Black said one recurring argument is that states voted on slightly different versions of the 16th Amendment.
    "They didn't have Xerox machines. They had to copy things by hand," he said, and that apparently led to minor differences in the wording.
    But in the decades since, Congress has written and re-written the federal tax code, the first codified in 1939 and the most recent version in 1986. And the courts have repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of income tax laws, Black said.
    "The fact is, we live together as a country," Black said. "There are costs that we the people have agreed to via our representatives, and we have to pay those somehow."
    Nobody really wants to pay taxes, he said. "But if we're going to have an army to protect us, if we're going to have freeways to go in between states, if we're going to have Homeland Security, if we're going to have the Food and Drug Administration, which makes sure the milk I drink is pasteurized, then each of us has to come up with our fair share, whatever that fair share has to be."
    Kelly is not convinced. He said he doesn't file a federal tax return, although he does have federal taxes withheld from his paycheck by his employer. He claims there are "millions of people in this country that do what I do."
    He does not believe the Browns went too far by not paying their federal taxes, "because the government has no right to collect it in the first place."
    Kelly said his own approach is to work toward electing more libertarians to reduce the role and power of the federal government.
    But, Black noted, the founding fathers created the representative form of government that enacted the tax system that exists today.
    "If we don't like that, we have channels to change it. But we the people need to do that," he said.
    "And at the point where one person says, 'I'm not going to pay,' we the people have said, 'If you don't, that's a crime.' And there's a punishment attached to it."
  2. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    What would happen if everyone just skipped on this system? Let's create that crash sooner versus later and get it over with! Everyone stop paying taxes.
  3. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    You first.

    The conservative side of me says I will wait until it becomes a little more mainstream (and less prosecuted.)
  4. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

    If we all didn't the govt would go out of businees in 30 days. We do have lists of greivances we need to take up with the govt.
  5. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    bankers would just bankroll the round up and execution of the dissenters
  6. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    The prisons are full of people who said the goverment couldn't collect taxes.
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