6-6-13: . . . We make an unwitting
election to become liable. That election may be revoked. . . . (Read
5-31-13: . . . why did Former IRS Commissioner Steven
Miller says the income tax is "voluntary"? . . . (Read
4-18-13: . . . Please give me a reason as a young person
to love my country and have faith in its money system including income
taxes . . . (Read more)
10-22-12: I'm a middle school teacher and my students
and I became engaged in a conversation about income tax . . . (Read
10-2-12: . . . [N]one of your arguments in favor of taxes
justifies the initiation of force and ultimately violence. . . . (Read
9-19-12: Show me the law that states I owe taxes on my
wages, PLEASE!! (Read more)
7-12-12: . . . Do you see any end to the Federal Reserve?
. . . (Read more)
5-10-12 . . . Please Jon, THINK for just a minute, will
you? . . . (Read more)
1-24-12: . . . what section compels every individual
to specifically file a form 1040 . . .? (Read more)
1-19-12: Just because the IRS writes a "law"
in the tax code does not means that it is a constitutional law. . . .
6-4-10: I always thought this was a fraud. Why do people
continue to win this argument? . . . (Read more)
3-4-10: . . . Is the Federal Income Tax democratic or
authoritarian?. . . (Read more)
9-23-09: . . . I am particularly impressed with your
excellent prose . . . (Read more)
7-28-09: You are an embarrassment to Academia . . . (Read
7-1-09: . . . But where does it [the law(s)] say you'll
go to jail if you don't file? . . . (Read more)
6-19-09: Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed
your Income Tax Protesters Page . . . (Read more)
5-8-09: Just wanted you to know that you are correct
about the laws governing income tax BUT . . .(Read more)
3-21-09: You are either very smart or very brain washed
. . . (Read more)
2-5-09: . . . I am tired of paying taxes to a government
who cares little about what we the people think . . . (Read
12-11-08: . . . I’m curious about the constitutionality
(and…the ethical nature) of the Federal Reserve . . . (Read
11-20-08: hi, could you help me out a bit here, I'm trying
to locate a law that compels me to have SS# to work and live in the union
states . . . (Read more)
9-18-08: . . . [W]hat makes you think you can debunk
the 'myths' about non liability for income taxes? Is it your limited knowledge
of the actual title 26 or is it your biased opinion that everyone is liable?
. . .(Read more)
8-5-08: . . . [Y]ou are attempting to present the law
requiring an individual to file the previously mentioned taxes with the
IRS internal codes, themselves!!! It is all U.S.C.!!! I just snorted .
. . (Read more)
4-2-08: . . . Money in the United States is based on
debt . . . its worth is actually a negative . . . (Read
2-8-08: You drank the kool-aid . . . (Read
1-12-08: Dear Sir: Posting quotes from the IRS code is
not proof that your position is Constitutional! Talk about assuming what
needs to be proven! . . . (Read more)
10-20-07 . . . A very old friend of mine (who has no
background in law whatsoever), recently befriended a group of people who
exposed her to America: Freedom to Fascism and dragged her deep into the
tax protester smut . . . (Read more)
9-25-07: . . . I am a pastor and some of the members
of my congregation are unduly influened by these protester's arguments
. . . (Read more)
8-26-07: Greetings, I came upon your site after sitting
through half of Aaron Russo's rather dodgy "America: Freedom to Fascism"
. . . (Read more)
6-14-07: . . . I wanted to pose one simple question to
you, as a matter of principle: do you believe it to be morally just to
imprison someone who fails to pay taxes? . . . (Read
6-2-07: interesting analysis. you had me until you argued
that my labor had no value until i traded it, making the gain in assets
taxable . . . (Read more)
5-03-07: Dr. Siegel, I just copied part of the opinion
from the Brushaber Supreme court case, and it seems to me that it only
confirmed that direct and indirect (excise) taxes must remain as they
were before the 16th amendment! I could find nothing that overturned the
Pollock Case! . . . (Read more)
4-14-07: Mr. Siegel, YOU are a genius. All this time people in the truth
in taxation movement have been asking for someone, anyone, to show them
the law that requires them to file a federal income tax return, and to
pay the federal income tax . . . (Read more)
4-10-07: Great website regarding the income tax. Everything you say on
it is correct. If one makes "income" he certainly must pay an
"income tax" on it. . . . (Read more)
3-8-07: Are you really a law professor or an ex-IRS person. Your fraudulent
website is so full of holes you can drive a semi through it. . . . (Read
2-23-07: When I browsed your page critiquing Aaron Russo's film, America:
From Freedom to Fascism, I was hoping to find some direct answers that
would contradict the revelations brought forth in the film. However, the
nonsense on your webpage seems to only give greater credibility to Russo..
. . (Read more)
2-12-07: Thank you for publishing your page on tax law. Up here in New
Hampshire ("Live Free or Die"), we have lots of people who really
believe all of the myths that you debunk. . . . (Read
2-1-07: Dear Mr. Siegel, If I asked you to tell me how you liked the
movie, The Grinch that Stole Christmas," and you told me it had a
great ending. The Grinch turned nice and everybody was singing. That would
not tell me very much and I would wonder if you really understood the
meaning of the story. . . . (Read more)
1-25-07: Greetings: I was searching the web looking for information about
the claims that some people make that there is no law saying you must
pay federal income tax. I found the stuff on your web page to be very
informative but I need one more piece of information to validate it. .
. . (Read more)
1-24-07: I was reading your Income Tax page and I'm confused about one
issue. On your page you said that the tax law says you're only required
to pay federal income taxes if you're required to file a tax return, right?
. . . (Read more)
1-24-07: In your correspondences about the income tax you stated...."Have
you ever seen the actual laws that prohibit murder, robbery, or arson?"
. . . (Read more)
1-20-07: I was just directed to your income tax law page where you have
presented the obvious case for the legality of the income tax and filing.
. . . (Read more)
11-21-06: Hi, I just read your tax page and I am curious of your opinion.
Have you seen Aaron Russo's film America,
Freedom to Fascism? . . . (Read more)
9-15-06: Good day Prof. Siegel. My name is ____ _____. I am a 2L at St.
Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Fl. and I am taking the time
to write you concerning your website. . . . (Read more)
9-6-06: Greetings, I'm a Clemson University economics student who recently
stumbled into the Internet's vast resource of "income tax hoax/fraud"
web sites while conducting research for a public sector class. . . . (Read
June 6, 2013:
I read your posted article about the federal income tax being
mandatory. I have been studying this for years, and in a nutshell:
We make an unwitting election to become liable.
That election may be revoked.
Read this, and read it thoroughly:
I only send you this because I think more people need to rely
h sees fans the mechanism by which one become liable.
GWU Class of 2007
[The writer is a painter who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree
from George Washington University.]
_______, I read the page you sent me, and it is
complete nonsense. Can't you see it's a ripoff? Whoever wrote that
is selling a scam. The page claims that most Americans are really
"Nonresident Alien Individuals" under the tax code and
can get out of paying income taxes by filing an "Affidavit
of Revocation of Election," which they sell for $375. It won't
work. They're charging $375 for worthless garbage. They're bilking
money out of gullible people by selling a fantasy about not having
to pay income taxes.
Here's an example of someone who tried this kind of scheme: U.S.
v. Nash, 175 F.3d 429 (6th Cir. 1999). In that case, the defendant
decided he was a "Nonresident Alien Individual" and filed
"Revocation of Election" forms for 1989-1991. It didn't
work. He was prosecuted and convicted of failure to file income
tax returns. He went to prison! You can read the case here.
That's the kind of thing that happens to people who fall for this
I am disappointed that a GW graduate could fall for this kind of
scam. A graduate of our fine university should be able to tell the
difference between reliable information and nonsense. You should
know that you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.
You should know that if something seems too good to be true, it
When someone sends you an e-mail saying that they've got millions
of dollars in a blocked account in Nigeria and you can have 30%
of it if you'll help them get it out, do you believe them? I hope
not. The web page you sent me has the same level of credibility.
It's a scam.
Please read this
page to see why you should trust expert opinion on this matter
rather than accept the nonsense that circulates on the Internet.
May 31, 2013:
Hi Jonathan R. Siegel,
I do pay my taxes but when the head of the irs says that ( income
taxes are Voluntary ) I get confused. Please see the
video that he says so. [2:08, 4:46 in the video.]
Thank you, _____.
Yes, that's a little confusing, I agree. For a
detailed explanation, please see here.
|Thank you again Jon, now I understand.
One last thing please, why did Former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller
says the income tax is "voluntary"?
Thank you so much, _____.
|As with the concept of "voluntary compliance,"
the Commissioner is referring to the fact that most Americans calculate
what they owe, file their tax return, and pay their income taxes without
being individually ordered to do so government officials. But of course,
people do this because they know that if they don't, they can be subject
to civil or criminal penalties. So the system is not really "voluntary";
that's just a polite word for the fact that most people choose to
comply without waiting for the government to come after them individually.
April 18, 2013:
I've never done anything like this so I'll try to be as clear
My name is _____ and I have a decent job in an advertising agency.
I'm young and quite uneducated as far as our US tax system goes,
unfortunately most if not all of my generation is uneducated about
our US tax system. Almost as if we are deliberately kept in the
dark without purposely seeking this education through college
courses or other means.
I know that money is one of the largest scams in the world (besides
religion), with the national banking cartels controlling everything.
Even our highest offices of Government. If you disagree with this
that is fine, like I said I am un educated beyond a certain point.
If you would take just a few minutes out of your busy day to
explain to me just why you defend the "laws" for paying
taxes I would be very grateful. I understand according to your
You say if we don't pay our taxes that others, "honest"
people, will have to pay more!.
This confuses me because you use the term "honest"
like our country and supporting its money system as it stands
is "honest" to begin with. Are you truly confident that
your children, and children's children will not be in debt from
birth to death? That each and every "violent attack"
taking place within our country is not an internal act to enter
another war? Or how about a "legitimate" reason to pass
legislation's that take away our basic freedoms as people?
Ill understand if you discard this email with heir of impatience
or even disgust. I sound a bit like a loony. But if you could
set me straight I would be extremely appreciated. Please give
me a reason as a young person to love my country and have faith
in its money system including income taxes and ill be eternally
_____, thanks for your message.
I can't give you everything you ask for, because
my website is about a limited point that doesn't address most of
the points you are raising. My website doesn't take a position on
whether the United States government is good or bad, or on whether
it has a good monetary system. The point of my website is to address
the question of whether U.S. law requires average Americans to pay
income taxes. The answer is yes. It is important to get this answer
out there because there are a lot of crazy websites that say that
the answer is no.
So whether or not you like what the government
does with your tax money, and whether or not you think we have a
good monetary system, the point I am trying to make is simply that
if you are an average American, you have a legal obligation to give
some of your money to the government as income taxes.
Having said that, I will add that I think the U.S.
government, although flawed in various respects, is one of the best
governments on earth. The U.S. government is democratic and the
people get to elect their representatives, whereas some other countries
are autocracies in which the people have no say. The U.S. has a
good Constitution that preserves personal freedoms -- for example,
despite your statement that you think our freedoms are being taken
away, you obviously feel free to criticize the U.S. government.
You don't seem worried that someone is going to arrest you if you
say negative things about the government. In some countries you
would have to worry about that. And the U.S. is one of the most
prosperous and successful countries on earth. We've been going through
a rough patch for the last few years, but we're still way more wealthy
than most people elsewhere in the world.
I don't have much expertise in the monetary system,
but in general I think it's fine. I get paid in dollars and I use
those dollars to buy goods and services. Over a long period, inflation
erodes the value of money, so that a dollar buys a lot less than
it would have fifty years ago, but salaries adjust for that. Prices
were a lot lower in the 1960s, but salaries were a lot lower too.
So yes, the U.S. and its government have problems
(the national debt being one of them), and it's important to work
to fix them, but it's also important to remember the good things
about the U.S. I can't think of any other country where I'd rather
But all of that is somewhat beside the point that
my website makes, which is simply that the law requires payment
of income tax. You're not required to like it, and you're not required
to like the government either. I'm just answering the crazy assertion
that there is no legal obligation to pay income tax. In fact, there
October 22, 2012:
I'm a middle school teacher and my students and I became engaged
in a conversation about income tax. Several students insisted
(probably from what they heard at home) that income tax is unconstitutional,
so I broke out the laptops and we did some research.
We found your site as well as others, and we are writing emails
to see what people say.
There seems to be two opinions here:
1) That the Congressionally passed income tax code is what requires
an individual to pay income tax and that income is defined as:
(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;
This view says that the code itself is the law that requires
individuals to pay this tax and that failure to do so is as violation
of the law and is punishable.
The other view states that the 16th Amendment was determined
NOT to have given the government a right to levy a third type
of tax (in addition to indirect or apportioned). And since the
income tax is neither apportioned or indirect, the argument states
the law passed as the tax code, is unconstitutional and the Supreme
Court has never changed its decision. Further, one student found
references to a court case, Eisner vs. Montgomery, which seems
to indicate that income is defined as corporate gains, not as
So, what is the legal reason why the tax code was allowed to
be signed into law if it seems to go against the Constitution?
How is it possible for the Income Tax Code to override the Constitution?
Thank you and we hope to hear from you!
Thanks for your message. This is a great learning
opportunity for your students, and the most important lesson for
them is "you can't believe everything you read on the Internet."
The Internet is an amazing invention, but it can be used for good
or bad purposes. It provides a wealth of valuable information, but
it also allows foolish, misguided, and malicious people to post
whatever crazy information they want, including a lot of completely
wrong information about income tax. I hope your students learn to
approach Internet information with appropriate skepticism, to consider
the reliability of its source, and to check up on what they read.
I'll answer your tax questions briefly and provide links to longer
Article I, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress
to "lay and collect taxes." That's what empowers Congress
to impose an income tax. The Constitution doesn't require
Congress to impose an income tax; it just authorizes one. Congress
chose to impose one, and did so, as you note, by passing the Internal
Revenue Code. That is indeed the law that requires Americans to
pay income taxes.
But is the law constitutional?
The original Constitution required all "direct" taxes
to be appportioned. As early as 1880, the Supreme Court held that
the income tax was not a direct tax. But in 1895, the Supreme Court
held that part (not all) of the income tax was direct,
and so was unconstitutional because it was not apportioned. The
16th Amendment was then passed, and it provides that the apportionment
requirement does not apply to income taxes. So whether income taxes
are direct or indirect no longer matters, because the apportionment
requirement no longer applies to income taxes. Details here.
It is true that the Supreme Court later remarked that the 16th Amendment
"conferred no new power of taxation." But the key word
is "new." The amendment conferred no new power
of taxation, but it relieved the pre-existing power of
taxation from the apportionment requirement. Details here.
And if you really want to know whether the income tax is a direct
tax (even though it doesn't matter anymore), the answer is that,
in light of the 16th Amendment, the Supreme Court held that the
income tax is an "excise" or "duty," not a direct
tax. Long details here.
As to Eisner v. Macomber and the definition of "income"
for income tax purposes, the key lesson is that you can't answer
a legal question by reading a stray snippet from a case about something
else. You have to take information in context. Eisner was a case
about corporate income, so the Supreme Court said some things that
make sense in the corporate context. The stray snippet that your
student came across doesn't generally define income. Whenever the
Supreme Court has provided a general definition of income (including
elsewhere in Eisner itself!), the definition has covered income
Details about the definition of income here
(see "Case Answer" heading).
Details about not reading stray snippets of cases here.
The questions of whether the income tax is constitutional
even though it is unapportioned and whether it covers income from
labor have been to court hundreds of time and the answers have been
"yes" every time (since the 16th Amendment was adopted).
There is no legitimate debate about these issues. Courts have rejected
tax protestor arguments in 100% of cases -- not 90%, not 95%, but
100%. Your students might enjoy reading this
case in which the court points out that "Some people believe
with great fervor preposterous things that just happen to coincide
with their self-interest." I hope your students don't fall
for preposterous income tax arguments.
For some final, general thoughts as to why the income tax information
on my web pages is more trustworthy than information on tax protestor
pages, see here.
Thanks again for your message, and please let me know how things
go with your students!
October 2, 2012:
Mr. Siegel, The information on your site regarding taxes I found
to be interesting. In my opinion what is most important is that
none of your arguments in favor of taxes justifies the initiation
of force and ultimately violence. The second most important issue
is authority or jurisdiction, which Lysander Spooner covered years
ago in “No Treason – A Constitution of No Authority”.
Thank you, _________.
Thanks for your message.
The justification for using force and ultimately
violence in enforcing the tax laws is the same as the justification
for using such measures in enforcing any laws -- they may be required
for the law to have any meaning.
Suppose force was forbidden. Now imagine that someone
commits a tort (e.g., negligently injures you with their car) or
breaches a contract. What are we going to do about it? We can have
a court politely tell them that they have to pay money in compensation,
but if they refuse to obey that judgment, force would ultimately
be necessary to collect. If we exclude the possibility of force,
court judgments would have no meaning, and therefore the underlying
laws would have no meaning.
Naturally, we try methods short of force first.
We do tell the defendant he owes the money and we give him a chance
to pay without the use of force. But the use of force has to be
there as a backstop for defendants who refuse to obey judgments
September 19, 2012:
Show me the law that states I owe taxes on my wages, PLEASE!!
Sure, here you go:
For more info, see here:
These laws only define income.
Nowhere in these laws does it define WAGES!!! You failed again :)
Read what you send.
Go back and read that again my friend. You have
truly disappointed me. The law that you found is not it.
Income is profit, and wages is even exchange.
Here's what you found.
[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;
This is all about income. You're suposed to show
me the wage tax law. Do you think that they're the same?
The law cited in the first
page I linked for you, 26 U.S.C. ss 1, 61, is the law that imposes
a tax on wages.
I don't think you read the second page I linked
in my previous message. It points out that wages are included in
income because they are part of "compensation for services,"
as listed in section 61. The courts have confirmed this reading
in 100% of cases. The linked page also specifically explains the
error in the "equal exchange" argument. So please read
it. Here are the two previous links again:
For a sampling of the hundreds of cases that specifically
confirm that wages are income, see the cases cited at the bottom
of this page:
. . .
Do you really believe that
wages are services? Wages are only wages and only services can be
defined as services. Is this all you got? Because you’re misrepresenting
26 U.S.C. ss 1, 61. Oh yeah, and your argument about equal exchange
was very weak. If you provide a service, your pay for that service
is income and you’ll owe tax for that, but what you pay your
help is wages unless they are contractors. Try to sell this to the
supreme court because you’re going to sell this to me. You
have failed me again. I want you to show me the law that has the
word wages in it!
Obviously wages are not services.
They are, however, "compensation for services," which
is specifically included in section 61.
You say you want "the law that has the word
wages in it." But Congress did not use the word "wages"
in imposing an income tax on wages. Congress is not required to
use any particular word in writing statutes; it can use whatever
words adequately express its meaning.
Congress made clear that the income tax is imposed
on wages. Congress did this in two ways: First, section 61 says
that gross income means "all income from whatever source derived."
That would include wages even if Congress had said nothing further.
Second, section 61 specifically includes "compensation for
services," which covers wages.
Look, section 61 doesn't specifically use the
words "stock sales." But this form of income is covered
because it is part of "all income" and also because it
is covered by the phrase "gains derived from dealings in property"
in section 61. You can't get out of paying income tax on stock sales
just because the specific words "stock sales" aren't in
section 61, and you can't get out of paying income tax on wages
just because section 61 doesn't use the specific word "wages."
Congress is not required to use a specific word just because you
want it to.
As I said in my previous message, the question
of whether wages are income for income tax purposes has been to
court hundreds of times and the courts have said that the answer
is yes 100% of the time. Not 90%, not 95%, not 99%, but 100%. The
issue is not debatable.
You have to stop getting your income tax information
at crazy websites run by people who don't know what they're talking
|Thanks for this information obviously I’m
a bit hard headed. I also found info at "http://www.differencebetween.net/business/finance-business-2/difference-between-wage-and-income/"Again
thank you for your valuable time.
Dear Professor Siegel,
I have been doing some research regarding class suits, representative
action, and misappropriaton of tax funds; and I have stumbled
upon your web page. I am a tax-paying American. I consider myself
to be well-informed, and don't identify with any political parties
entirely. I question almost everythig I read in the news (some
say too much), and I strongly stand against all network television.
Needless to say in my latest research, I was quite delighted to
come across the above link. I would love to see the Federal Reserve
pay back every dollar of interest paid to them, but do I think
it will ever happen? I unfortunatley don't hold much hope. I am
not a lawyer, but consider myself a philosopher in mind and heart.
Do you see any end to the Federal Reserve? Any feedback would
be greatly appreciated and respected.
Thanks for your message. I am not expert in the
Federal Reserve, so I am not able to answer your question fully.
However, I looked at the page linked in your message, and based
on what I know, I would say that the page contains many severe misconceptions.
Here are some of the problems with that page:
* The linked page states that the Federal Reserve
"is not related to the government in any way" and is "a
PRIVATELY-OWNED, FOR-PROFIT company." The truth is more complex.
The Federal Reserve system combines public and private elements.
The Fed's Board of Governors is a federal government agency. The
twelve Federal Reserve Banks, although they issue stock to member
banks, are not really like private, for-profit corporations. Among
other things, after paying their expenses and a legally fixed dividend,
the Federal Reserve Banks return the rest of their profits to the
* The linked page suggests that government debt
is somehow the Fed's fault: it says that the Fed puts the government
"into a state of perpetual re-borrowing and interminable debt."
But the government isn't in debt because of the Fed; it's in debt
because it spends more than it takes in. The Fed doesn't determine
how much the government spends; Congress does that. And the Fed
doesn't determine how much the government receives in taxes; Congress
sets the tax rates. The Fed doesn't even own most of the government's
debt; it owns a bunch but the majority is held by individuals (anyone
who owns a U.S. government bond), private companies, mutual funds,
foreigners and foreign countries, and so on. So it's not the Fed's
fault that the government is in debt. Also, abolishing the Fed wouldn't
get the government out of debt. To get the government out of debt,
we need lower federal spending, higher federal revenues, or both.
* Whatever is right or wrong with the Federal Reserve,
I don't see how problems with the Fed could possibly lead to a lawsuit
that would yield the "recovery of every dollar that has ever
been paid in interest in any loan that has ever been made,"
as the linked page suggests. Lots of banks are not members of the
Federal Reserve System. I don't see how problems with the Fed (assuming
they exist) could possibly lead to a court's ordering repayment
of interest on loans made by banks that aren't even part of the
Fed at all. That's just absurd.
In short, the page has so many obvious errors that
I wouldn't trust any of the information on it, and I certainly wouldn't
recommend signing up for this lawsuit or sending any money to support
Here are some useful links:
May 10, 2012:
I'm completely surprised that you would select a few court cases
that may NOT be relevant to the direct issue of "income"
and that may be wrongfully caught up in the actual issue, but
you neglect, (Like a good government agent) to actually address
the dozens of Supreme Court cases, and Congressional testimony,
that clearly addresses the issue of what is income.
Please Jon, THINK for just a minute, will you?
You actually believe that a corporation can deduct all of its
expenses for its costs to produce the "profit," and
yet, you believe that every penny an individual makes as wages
is "all profit?" Ask yourself this… then why isn't
every penny a corporation brings in "all profit?" Because
it "costs" money to be able to produce that "income,"
right? Does it cost you anything to go to work and be able to
earn that wage or salary? Nothing? Your labor is worthless, and
everything you make is all profit that is lawfully taxable?
Then keep treading that mill you voluntarily gift the government
If you even care, disprove these documents attached and all the
cases… and then show me where "income" is defined
other than a corporate profit or unearned income…
And go here… http://www.voluntarytax.info/CasesOnIncome_files/CasesOnIncomens4.html
and disprove the bulk of these cases…
and then get "Constitutional Income: Do You Have Any?"
the book and disprove it,
and then go to family guardian… http://www.famguardian.org/
and disprove the facts there…
And then go to truthattack.org,
and challenge the attorney who beat the IRS… and then disprove
their document on the "frivolous" mantra the IRS loves
to use against those who are waking up… see attached…
Please don't be one of the domestic terrorist "aiding and
Thanks for your message. I'm afraid you have been
getting your information from unreliable sources. There are, not
just a few, but hundreds of court cases that are directly on point
and that clearly and expressly hold that wages are income. There
are zero court cases that hold that wages are not income.
Like all cases cited by tax protestors as "proving" that
wages are not income, the cases mentioned on the pages you cite
are really about something else, but have a stray sentence in them
that can be misconstrued as relating to the taxability of wages.
You can't prove a point by taking a stray sentence from a case out
of context. You have to look at what the case is about. Whenever
the courts have considered the taxability of wages, they have held
that wages are income, every time.
These points are explained in detail here.
That page addresses several of the cases you cite
and also provides citations to a few of the hundreds of cases that
specifically and expressly hold that wages are income. You might
try reading this
case. There you can see a court ruling on the issue very clearly.
The fundamental error of your position is when you say: "Does
it cost you anything to go to work and be able to earn that wage
or salary? Nothing? Your labor is worthless, and everything you
make is all profit that is lawfully taxable?"
In calculating income, you do not get to deduct the worth
of what you sell. You deduct its cost. The "worth" of
your labor is irrelevant in calculating income. At most, you would
get to deduct the cost of working, and even some work costs aren't
deductible. This point is explained in detail here.
Hope that helps.
January 24, 2012:
Hi Professor Siegel,
I'm just some random person that randomly came across your webpage
about income taxes and I was hoping you could answer a quick question.
I don't mean to take up a lot of your time. If you don't respond,
I understand. You're busy.
On your webpage:
you write that 26 U.S.C. § 6012(a) compels every individual
that receives gross income to file a return, but what section
compels every individual to specifically file a form 1040 (accurately)
or compels them to sign it under penalty of perjury? I keep searching
through Title 26 but I can't find it.
Thanks for any reply.
Thanks for your message. Turn back one section,
to 26 U.S.C. § 6011:
"When required by regulations prescribed by the Secretary
any person made liable for any tax imposed by this title, or with
respect to the collection thereof, shall make a return or statement
according to the forms and regulations prescribed by the Secretary."
So Congress authorized the Secretary (of the Treasury) to create
the forms, and the Secretary exercised that power by creating Form
1040 (also 1040A, 1040EZ, etc.).
January 19, 2012:
Just because the IRS writes a "law" in the tax code
does not means that it is a constitutional law. The 16th Admendment
states that there shall be no new tax imposed on the American
people. If we are to be directly taxed is shall be apportioned.
Also, there are many court cases in which people who didn't file
a 1040 were found not-guily because when juriers ask to see the
law in the books that states that federal income tax in a law,
they couldn't present one.
Don't be fooled by the tricks of the rich and powerful. I love
my country and so do the people who have stood up to fight against
an unconstitional goverment.
Thanks for your message. The tax code was not
written by the IRS; it was written by the United States Congress.
That's why it's the law. Please see here.
The 16th Amendment does not say that there shall be no new tax on
the American people, nor does it require direct taxes to be apportioned.
It says the exact opposite. The 16th Amendment says: "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." I
think you are confusing a couple of other wrong arguments about
the 16th Amendment. Please see here
for those arguments and their refutation.
Criminal cases in which a tax protestor is found not guilty typically
mean only that the government failed to prove that the defendant
knew he was required to pay taxes. The defendant still
owes the taxes, which are often collected in a separate civil case.
Please see here
You ask me not to be fooled by the rich and powerful. I ask you
not to be fooled by fake information on the Internet. The government
lies about some things, but the obligation to pay income tax is
not one of them. I know this because I am a trained lawyer and I
have looked the law up myself.
|Thank you for taking the time to write back. I
will check out the links you sent me. The awesome thing about America
is that we can have conversations with or without agreement. Have
a great day!!!
June 4, 2010:
I always thought this was a fraud. Why do people continue to win
this argument? http://www.losthorizons.com/tax/MoreVictories43.htm
[Note: The above question refers to a web page posted by Peter
Hendrickson, author of "Cracking
the Code." The web page displays copies of what are said
to be refund checks received by users of Hendrickson's method
for avoiding income taxes. For more on Cracking the Code, see
Thanks for your message.
I believe what happens is this: the IRS has so
many returns to process (over 100 million a year) that it can't
catch everything right away. The IRS needs to move quickly and get
people their refunds expeditiously. So the IRS may start out by
trusting the filed return. If you file a return showing that you're
owed a refund, the IRS may send it to you and look more closely
So while some people may achieve temporary success
using Hendrickson's method, the IRS can catch up to these people
later and demand that they give back their refunds, plus interest,
plus penalties -- and in many cases the IRS is applying a "frivolous
return" penalty of $5000. Hendrickson's discussion forum is
filled with messages from people who've received such demands and/or
penalties from the IRS, sometimes afer initially getting refunds.
(Naturally, Hendrickson doesn't note this on his "victories"
page.) That's also what happened to Hendrickson himself -- the IRS
initially allowed his claimed refund, but later went to court and
got a judgment saying he had to pay it back, and he was also criminally
prosecuted and convicted.
I've read (see here)
that the IRS has now set up its computers to detect returns that
use Hendrickson's scam and that it has managed to substantially
cut down on the number of erroneous refunds it sends out to people
who use that method. Some still slip through, and the IRS tries
to go after them later.
There are millions of returns and the IRS can't
catch everybody, but it catches enough that there's a good probability
that people who use Hendrickson's scam will get caught sooner or
March 4, 2010:
Please answer me these simple questions.
1. Define for me the terms authoritarianism and democracy?
2. Are American citizens still living in a democratic nation?
3. Is the Federal Income Tax democratic or authoritarian?
4. What political structure is the American government under the
I'm anxiously awaiting for your reply!
Thanks for your message. Answers below.
> Please answer me these simple questions.
> 1. Define for me the terms authoritarianism and
authoritarianism: a governmental system in which
individual freedom is held as completely subordinate to the power
or authority of the state, centered either in one person or a small
group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people.
democracy: a form of government in which the supreme
power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or
by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
> 2. Are American citizens still living in a
> democratic nation?
Yes, in America power is exercised by the elected
agents of the people under a free electoral system.
> 3. Is the Federal Income Tax democratic or
Democratic, because it was imposed by the freely
elected representatives of the people -- Congress and the President.
> 4. What political structure is the American
> government under the influence?
Democratic; see above.
> I'm anxiously awaiting for your reply!
Hope that helps.
September 23, 2009:
I'm writing to thank you for your very informative and understandable
website regarding the myriad of income tax myths. I have several
friends and acquaintances who are unfortunately very gullible.
On the whole, my friends are completely harmless. As I'm sure
you've recognized from your involvement in this red hot issue,
many Americans are extremely skeptical of things such as the government
and lawyers, but seem to accept the words of faceless strangers
as the gospel truth.
Anyway, I am particularly impressed with your excellent prose.
Your writing style is crisp, understandable, fun to read, and
incredibly informative. Did you learn from Funk and Wagnall's?
GWU is lucky to have an educator with such an excellent ability
to convey information and make learning so enjoyable and easy.
Even if I had no direct reason to learn about the tax code, your
page was so easy to use and understand, I would have read it all
anyway. As I said, you make learning a joy unlike any game or
Your website made such a difficult topic so accessible and easy
to understand, I was able to quickly respond to all the incredibly
persistent and apocryphal arguments my friends have made on this
subject. In my opinion you have done what every professor, educator,
or subject-matter expert should do-provide the public with accessible
and true information on their subject of expertise to increase
the knowledge of hoi polloi.
Unfortunately, some of my friends have now switched to another,
more arcane and convoluted issue to latch on to; the gold standard
and the federal reserve bank. Through my own research I have been
able to argue some of the broader points in these myths and conspiracy
theories; for example, I was able to demonstrate that the gold
standard would be incredibly difficult to operate on because the
total value of all the available gold (in the world) is worth
less than the total amount of currency in the United States alone.
However I am woefully unable to contend with the more detailed
arguments being made on this issue, so I was wondering if you
could point me in the direction of a website, economist, or other
expert (even an information page of the federal reserve's website
on these issues) that deals with the gold standard/federal reserve
malarkey? If not, I will simply continue my research as before.
Sincerely, __________ (Iowa).
Thanks for your message. It's always nice to hear
from someone who found the webpages to be useful, and I particularly
appreciate your kind remarks about my writing.
With regard your question about Federal Reserve
myths, the best page I have found is this one:
I can't vouch for everything that the author says,
but he seems knowledgeable and explains things well. There is also
this official document from the Fed itself:
It's very good, but not exactly a quick read!
July 28, 2009:
Subject: You are an embarrassment to Academia
Dear Mr. Siegel,
You call yourself a law professor?
Contrary to your "I am the authority on Income Tax"
web page, 26 U.S.C. § 61 does not call for, and may not Constitutionally
call for tax on "labor" or "wages". It says
"Compensation for services" which fall under the definition
of "income" which is, in Constitutional language, profits
and commissions EXCLUSIVE of labor and wages! Why would you need
that explained to you? You need some refresher courses. This is
just one of several indefensible errors glaring from your web
site which demonstrate almost no fundamental understanding of
the history and basis for income tax.
Anyone in Treasury or IRS who does not refer to any tax on wages
or labor as "voluntary" is guilty of treason, because
such tax is slave trade if not voluntary. That is what our Constitution
says and that is what you should know if you or GWU is to represent
you as an academic of any legitimacy.
Until you bone up on law and come to understand that government
has no power but that which it derives from it's constituency
you need to take your worthless misrepresentational froth OFF
YOU WEB SITE so you do not further embarrass yourself and discredit
George Washington University for allowing you at the front of
[A copy of this message was sent to GWU's Assistant Vice President
for Faculty Recruitment & Personnel Relations.]
Thanks for your message. I will get to your specific
points in a moment. First, let me make some general comments.
I took a look at your website. Assuming that you
are ________ who runs the video studio at __________.com and who
talks to us in the video intro to the website, you seem like an
intelligent, educated, successful person. That is why I am particularly
surprised to find that you have fallen for absurd tax protestor
I'm afraid you have been picking up your income
tax information from unreliable sources. An intelligent and successful
person such as yourself should know that you can't believe everything
you read on the Internet. Unfortunately, people use the Internet
to peddle a great deal of utterly false and ridiculous information
about the income tax. Some of it is put out there by hucksters and
con artists who are making money off it. Other false information
is posted by sincere but foolish, gullible, and misguided people.
Don't fall for it. Trust the experts.
If I wanted to make a video, I would hire a successful
video expert such as yourself. If you want truthful information
about the income tax law, you should go to a legal expert—like
me. You shouldn't be picking up your legal information by reading
what any kook has put up on the Internet.
I assure you, on my professional word of honor,
that the income tax covers wages earned from labor. That is not
just my opinion. It is the law, as verified by every court decision
issued on the question. Not just most of the court decisions, not
even just 99% of them, but 100% of them. This is just not a debatable
For a detailed discussion of why wages are income
for income tax purposes, please see this
For citations to just a few of the hundreds of
court decisions that specifically and expressly hold that wages
are income, please see the footnote at the bottom of this
Also, please read the rest of that page to learn
why court decisions that you may have seen cited to prove that wages
are not income are irrelevant.
For an explanation of why income tax does not constitute
slavery, please see this
Mr. _____, I assume that, in the course of running
your business, you probably have occasion to hire a lawyer from
time to time. The next time you see your lawyer, why don't you ask
him or her whether wages are income for income tax purposes. (Make
sure he or she is a real lawyer who is an actual member of a state
bar.) I am confident that your lawyer will tell you that the information
on my website is correct.
For a detailed explanation of why you can trust
the information on my website, please read this
I hope you won't devote any more of your time and
energy to the income tax protestor movement. . . . It is not a movement
for succesful, educated people such as yourself.
July 1, 2009:
I saw your site, and I was rather enthralled with the amount
of detail you went into explaining income tax laws. I have a friend
, a self-described Libertarian, who constantly preaches that "one
doesn't need to file an income tax! There's no law stipulating
such an outrageous action." I referred him to your "Tax
Myth" site, and he responded with this: "But where does
it [the law(s)] say you'll go to jail if you don't file them?"
As I am not a Law school student/lawyer, nor can I begin to fathom
what being the aforementioned entails, I turn to you for an answer
to his question.
Thank you very much for your time in responding to this.
From the beautiful Boulder, Colorado, _________.
Thanks for your message -- it's always nice to
hear from someone who enjoyed the web pages.
In answer to your question, please refer your friend
to 26 U.S.C. § 7201 and 26 U.S.C. § 7203. Section 7201
"Any person who willfully attempts in any
manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment
thereof shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be
guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined
not more than $100,000 ($500,000 in the case of a corporation),
or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, together with the
costs of prosecution."
Section 7203 provides:
"Any person required under this title to pay
any estimated tax or tax, or required by this title or by regulations
made under authority thereof to make a return, keep any records,
or supply any information, who willfully fails to pay such estimated
tax or tax, make such return, keep such records, or supply such
information, at the time or times required by law or regulations,
shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty
of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not
more than $25,000 ($100,000 in the case of a corporation), or imprisoned
not more than 1 year, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.
. . ."
So these are the statutory provisions that say
you can go to jail for evading taxes, not paying taxes, or not filing
You may ask, what's the difference between "evading"
taxes (section 7201) and failing to pay them (section 7203)? The
answer is that failing to pay taxes (a misdemeanor) can consist
of just passively doing nothing when you were required to pay, whereas
evading taxes (a felony) requires more than the passive failure
to file a return or pay the tax; it requires a positive act of commission
designed to mislead or conceal. See Spies v. United States, 317
U.S. 492 (1943).
June 19, 2009:
Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed your Income Tax Protesters
Page. I was amazed at the thoroughness, cohesiveness and clarity
of your arguments, as well as your patience, scrupulous tact,
sensitivity and occasional spark of wry humor.
I particularly enjoyed the "whack-a-mole" analogy you
use in describing what it is like to try countering popular tax
protestor arguments. It struck me as being also very relevant
to my particular area of interest--religious belief and superstition.
I don't know much about awards for web sites, but I think your
page would be a terrific candidate for official recognition of
its outstanding intelligence and rationalism.
Best regards, __________
Thanks for your message. It's always good to hear from someone
who liked the web pages, and I particularly appreciate your kind
May 8, 2009:
Just wanted you to know that you are correct about the laws governing
income tax BUT only if Amendment 16 would have been ratified which
it clearly was NOT!
Thanks for your message.
1. The 16th Amendment was ratified. For details, please see here.
2. Even if the 16th Amendment was not ratified, income tax would
not be wholly unconstitutional. In particular, income tax on wages
would still be constitutional. Please see here
March 21, 2009:
You are either very smart or very brain washed, you talk about
income from what ever source applying to the average joe, you
know very well that anything in the code book referring to income
relates only to corporations. Yes it is true that if you derive
a profit (Income) from scratching your ass, then you must pay
an income tax because you must be a corporation involved in the
"scratch ass" business. Income is Profit, how does the
average joe earn a profit from his wage when only a Corporation
can legally earn a profit?
Stop spreading lies for a corrupt government.
Thanks for your message. I'm sorry you think that
I am spreading lies on behalf of the government and that I "know
very well" that the income tax applies only to corporations.
I assure you, on my word of honor, that I am just presenting the
income tax law as it is, based on my having personally looked it
up. I am a trained lawyer and I have the expertise to do this. The
people spreading lies are the tax protestors, who are either deliberately
dishonest or who lack the expertise to understand the law.
You say that only a corporation can legally earn
a profit, but that is incorrect. For example, if a private individual
buys a home for $100,000 and later sells it for $150,000, that private
individual has a profit of $50,000. No corporation involved.
Profit also arises from labor. Profit is just the
difference between gross income and expense. If you are employed,
you profit from the labor you perform by getting paid more than
it costs you to work. After all, if you didn't profit, why would
Look, no one is required to like the income tax,
but it is a waste of time to pretend that it doesn't exist.
Feburary 5, 2009:
Hi My name is ______ and I was looking at your income tax myths
web site and wanted to comment.
I would like to start by saying if there is such a law that requires
use citizens to pay income tax then why does the IRS refuse to
meat with the so called tax rebels and show them the law.
why is it that in the tax code it self and former IRS Commissioners
on several time say income tax is voluntary.
Can you tell me for fact that the 16th admendment was properly
ratified?? Have you reserched the Man Bill Benson, author of The
Law That Never Was.
Did you know that in that case the government in my opinion is
unwilling to and unable to prove the 16th admendment was ratified.
Now you Probly do not care about this but I do for one simple
reason. I am tired of paying taxes to a government who cares little
about what we the people think and to date give my money to banks
that care even less about the people.
I see all kinds of people not paying taxes becouse they know the
system, or have lots of money for a huge defence team. I beleave
what I have reserched on the net and in law, I know of two cases
where so called tax dead beats were found inocent of their charges
becase the prossocution could not show them the LAW. There is
alot more cases every year where more and more people are winning
in court against the IRS. What do you have to say to all this.
On a persoal note I plan on droping out of the IRS and plan on
telling any and every one what I have reserched and found to be
in my opinion true.
I thank you for your time and hope to hear back from you. I look
forward to you responce.
Thanks for your message. Responses below.
> I would like to start by saying if there is such a
> law that requires use citizens to pay income tax
> then why does the IRS refuse to meat with the so
> called tax rebels and show them the law.
The law is posted on the IRS website. See discussion here.
> why is it that in the tax code it self and former
> IRS Commissioners on several time say income tax is
This is the IRS's way of saying that people pay their taxes even
though the government doesn't compute your taxes for you and individually
come collect them. Discussion here.
> Can you tell me for fact that the 16th admendment
> was properly ratified?? Have you reserched the Man
> Bill Benson, author of The Law That Never Was.
> Did you know that in that case the government in my
> opinion is unwilling to and unable to prove the 16th
> admendment was ratified.
The 16th Amendment was ratified. The government proved this to
a court's satisfaction in Mr. Benson's case. Full discussion here.
> Now you Probly do not care about this but I do for
> one simple reason. I am tired of paying taxes to a
> government who cares little about what we the people
> think and to date give my money to banks that care
> even less about the people.
I am upset about foolish government spending too, but that doesn't
excuse failure to pay taxes.
> I see all kinds of people not paying taxes because
> they know the system, or have lots of money for a
> huge defence team. I beleave what I have reserched
> on the net and in law, I know of two cases where so
> called tax dead beats were found inocent of their
> charges becase the prossocution could not show them
> the LAW.
The Internet is filled with false information posted by con artists.
Don't fall for it. Trust the experts . . . . Here's
why you should trust us.
As to the criminal cases, see here
> There is alot more cases every year where more
> and more people are winning in court against the
> IRS. What do you have to say to all this.
No, there aren't. The IRS wins 100% of civil cases against tax
protestors, and a very high percentage of criminal cases.
> On a personal note I plan on droping out of the IRS
> and plan on telling any and every one what I have
> reserched and found to be in my opinion true.
I would strongly recommend that you not do this. The IRS has stepped
up enforcement lately against what it calls "tax defiers."
You could get in a lot of trouble. Even if you are not criminally
prosecuted, you could end up paying a lot extra in interest and
> I thank you for your time and hope to hear back from
> you. I look forward to you responce.
December 11, 2008:
Thank you for your website on Tax information
First of all, I’d really like to thank you for not being
condescending, nor rude to many folks whom do not show you the
same respect. To me that shows character and character earns trust.
It is apparent to me that you are not only intelligent, but educated
and informed as well. I appreciate your point of view, as well
as your ability to communicate to those of us with less exposure
to the resources which we may all have at our disposal.
Sadly, I have learned to doubt our government. I have, on many
sides, been far too close to too many “tragedies”
to really consider them to ALL be misunderstandings.
I recently watched, and was very entertained by a film by Aaron
Russo called “America – Freedom to Fascism”.
If nothing, it was done really, really well. If you haven’t
seen it, the first 60 or 70 minutes are really excellent; whether
correct or not.
That said, it is with fear of appearing irrational that I’m
curious about the constitutionality (and with two small boys…the
ethical nature) of the Federal Reserve. Was the 16th amendment
actually ratified properly? With that in mind, I have heard/read
that virtually, if not literally, all of our income tax goes to
pay the interest on the debt that we owe the Federal Reserve Bank.
That’s a frightening realization, if it’s true. I
came from a family of 6 with a working dad (no degree) and a stay
at home mom. We had a GREAT life. I now have my own family of
4, my wife and I both have two jobs and we have earned 3 Masters
Degrees in an effort to have more access to better paying jobs.
That said…we’re absolutely living check to check…with
the skin of our teeth.
I am interested in supporting a growing group of people whom
are striving to abolish the fed reserve. Although I didn’t
know much about Ron Paul until recently, but he sure makes sense
On this note…and with utmost patience and sincerity…I’m
all ears. I would be doing myself and my boys a great disservice
to waste time on something that may ultimately spite our wellbeing.
That said, I’m far less interested in how “likely”
it is to end the fed than how “right or wrong” it
might be. I’m OK to put up a fight…
…but I sure would like to know that it’s the right
fight. I’m sure leaning toward a side in which we might
control our own printing and regulation of currency once again.
I anxiously await your intelligent response.
If you’re busy…I appreciate what you’ve done
already in an effort to inform. I do see that as a selfless and
sincere and ethical philanthropic service.
Thanks for your message and for your kind words.
1. I agree that it is a good thing to be skeptical
of the government. The government lies sometimes and its claims
should be checked out. However, I can assure you that the government
is not lying when it says that there is a law requiring average
Americans to pay income tax. I have personally checked out this
information and it is correct, as is detailed on my web pages. Of
course, you don't have to like the income tax, and anyone is free
to join the effort of Ron Paul and others to try to get it repealed.
But it does exist under current law.
2. I have seen the Russo film. The income tax information
in the film is incorrect. My comments on the film can be found here.
3. The claim that 100% of income tax goes to pay
interest on the national debt is also incorrect. The correct figure
is about 20%. Details here.
And by the way, only a small amount of the public
debt is held by the Fed. Most of it is held by private individuals
4. The 16th Amendment claims are a little more
complicated than other tax protestor claims, but the better view
is that the 16th Amendment was properly ratified. Details here.
5. I'm not really expert in the Federal Reserve,
but as far as I can tell a whole lot of what is bandied about on
the Internet these days with regard to the Fed is mythical -- on
a par with tax protestor theories. My understanding is that the
Fed helps prevent inflation by taking decisions about monetary policy
out of the hands of politicians, who would always be tempted to
print more money to pay government debt. Printing too much money
causes inflation, so it is a good thing to give the decision about
how big the money supply should be to a nonpolitical agency.
There are a lot of scary problems with the economy
right now, and the Fed may even be partly responsible for some of
them, but I don't think the problems are related to the complaints
you're referring to -- particularly to the complaint that we have
turned monetary policy over to the Fed. Again, my understanding
is that that aspect of the Fed is a good thing.
The current problem to which the Fed has (I think)
contributed is the problem that banks and investment houses were
allowed to create complicated mortgage-backed financial instruments
without adequate regulation. I'm not really expert in all of the
Fed's powers, but I do think the Fed could have done something to
help prevent that. But that's unrelated to claims like "the
fed charges the government interest on the currency we use,"
or "all income tax goes directly to the fed," or "if
it weren't for the fed the budget would be balanced," which
as far as I can tell are myths (I definitely know that the middle
one of those is a myth, as mentioned above). I don't think abolishing
the Fed is the solution to our nation's current problems.
But as I say, this isn't really my area of expertise.
You might want to check out this
page, by someone who appears to be an expert economist.
Good luck to you and your family,
November 20, 2008:
hi, could you help me out a bit here, I'm trying to locate a
law that compels me to have SS# to work and live in the union
states, i have contacted my congressmen and senators but not one
of them could come up with the same answer, i also asked for the
law compelling anybody to sign w-4 form when being hired and the
law stating that w-4 applies to all--instead of statutory person
determined by congress? and you have a degree in what?
Thanks for your message. I had never previously
investigated the questions you ask, so I did a little research.
The following should be regarded as a preliminary answer:
1. 26 U.S.C. 6109(a) provides; "When required
by regulations prescribed by the Secretary . . . (2) Any person
with respect to whom a return, statement, or other document is required
under the authority of this title to be made by another person or
whose identifying number is required to be shown on a return of
another person shall furnish to such other person such identifying
number as may be prescribed for securing his proper identification."
Subsection (d) goes on to provide that "The social security
account number issued to an individual for purposes of section 205(c)(2)(A)
of the Social Security Act shall, except as shall otherwise be specified
under regulations of the Secretary, be used as the identifying number
for such individual for purposes of this title."
2. 26 U.S.C. 6051 requires employers who are required
to withhold taxes from employees' wages to provide employees with
a receipt stating the amount of wages withheld and other information
(this is the familiar W-2 form), and subsection (d) provides that
a copy of this information shall be provided to the Secretary of
the Treasury as an information return.
3. 26 U.S.C. 3402 requires all employers who pay
wages to withhold tax from the wages paid.
4. One of the Secretary's regulations, 26 C.F.R.
§ 31.3402(f)(2)-1, provides that "On or before the date
on which an individual commences employment with an employer, the
individual shall furnish the employer with a signed withholding
exemption certificate relating to his marital status and the number
of withholding exemptions which he claims, which number shall in
no event exceed the number to which he is entitled. . . . For form
and contents of such certificates, see § 31.3402(f)(5)-1."
The referenced section 31.3402(f)(5)-1 provides that "Form
W-4, 'Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate,' is the form
prescribed for the withholding exemption certificate required to
be furnished under section 3402(f)(2). A withholding exemption certificate
must be prepared in accordance with the instructions and regulations
applicable thereto, and must set forth fully and clearly the data
that is called for therein."
So, putting it all together:
If you work for an employer, your employer is required
to withhold taxes from your wages in accordance with point (3),
above. Therefore, in accordance with point (2), your employer is
required to file an information return with the IRS showing how
much tax was withheld. Therefore, in accordance with point (1),
you are required to furnish your employer with your identifying
number, which is your Social Security number, if the Secretary's
regulations so require. And as described in point (4), the Secretary's
regulations do require you to fill out a W-4 form fully on or before
the day you start your employment, and the W-4 form requires inclusion
of your Social Security number.
So it appears from my research that the answer
is yes, if you work for an employer in the United States, you are
required to provide that employer with your Social Security number
on Form W-4.
In answer to your other question, my degree is
in law. You can see my full resume here.
I thank you very much for
replying, before we dive more into the rabbit hole---let me ask
you simple question-is there no more due process of law? by your
thinking-if I go work for someone and I dont fill out some federal
form because I do not want to participate in some govt. benefits---that
employer may take money out of my pay without my permission and/or
court order?????????? just cause some administrative law says so?
mind you it's federal administrative law and I work within one of
the 50 states-non federal land, I can not believe that you dont
agree with basic priciples of the American Jurisprudence, no more
due process cause administrative regulation said so?, lol, more
later depending on your answer
Unfortunately, there are a couple of misconceptions
involved in your question.
First, there is no requirement that you "participate
in some govt. benefits" in order to be subject to federal income
taxation. Federal income tax applies to all income received by U.S.
citizens, regardless of whether they receive or participate in government
Second, even though you live and work within one
of the 50 states, you are subject to federal law. The Constitution
specifically provides that federal law is the "supreme law
of the land." So if you live in, say, Connecticut, you are
subject to the law of Connecticut *and* to federal law, and, to
the extent that there is any conflict between the two, federal law
So there is no violation of due process involved
in withholding income tax from your wages, where that withholding
is done according to federal law.
September 18, 2008:
I recently accidentally browsed to your website regarding the
income tax myths.
I am not sure what makes you think you can debunk the 'myths'
about non liability for income taxes? Is it your limited knowledge
of the actual title 26 or is it your biased opinion that everyone
I'd advise you look at definitions first to understand some key
terms and how they are defined within the code. For example, United
States, Person, United States Person, State, Employee, Employeer
and Trade or Business. Start with those. Maybe you then start
to understand the limited scope and liability of the IRC.
Please do not give people advice on the internet if you are not
competent to do it.
I'll give one example of your ignorance because, quite frankly,
there are too many to list.
On your 'myth busting' website you tell people how compensation
for [their] services is taxable because IRC says so. I should
remind you at this point that IRC is not positive law and there
is a section (which i won't bother finding) that actually states
Anyway, compensation for services is nowhere defined within the
IRC. However it is defined in 26 CFR as...
26 CFR Sec. 1.469-9 Rules for certain rental real estate
(b)(4) PERSONAL SERVICES. Personal services means any work performed
by an individual in connection with a trade or business.
However, personal services do not include any work performed by
an individual in the individual's capacity as an investor as described
in section 1.469-5T(f)(2)(ii).
And this next example shows you how compensation for personal
services is linked to performance of trade or business.
26 CFR Sec. 1.162-7 Compensation for personal services.
(a) There may be included among the ordinary and necessary
expenses paid or incurred in carrying on any trade or business
a reasonable allowance for salaries or other compensation for
personal services actually rendered. The test of deductibility
in the case of compensation payments is whether they are reasonable
and are in fact payments purely for services.
I suggested already you look up definition of trade or business.
And don't forget the most relevant part, the jurisdiction of the
IRS and the definition of United States.
Maybe one day you realize the deception.
[No signature, but the e-mail header said the message was from
Dear "Crouching Lesbian,"
Thanks for your message. I always enjoy hearing
from people who have read my web pages, even accidentally.
I'm sorry that you find yourself unable to accept
truthful information about the income tax. Some answers to your
points appear below.
First, you ask what makes me think I can debunk
the myths about income tax. . . . [T]he answer is that . . . I have
the training that allows me to look up the income tax law and understand
what it means. My expertise makes me a better source of correct
tax information that people who have no relevant training and who
don't even sign their real names to their messages.
Seriously, if you wanted a house built, wouldn't
you hire an architect? Suppose some website said, "All the
architects in the country are engaged in a conspiracy of lies! I've
never been to architecture school but I know the truth! You should
build your house out of bubble gum!" Would you do it? I hope
Similarly, if you want to know what the law is,
consult a lawyer, not some nutty website.
Second, you are mistaken about the status of the
Internal Revenue Code. The Internal Revenue Code was passed by the
United States Congress and is the law. It is positive law. For full
details on this point, including the fact that Title 26 is a compilation
of the law as passed by the U.S. Congress, please see here.
Third, as to your definitional point, you have,
like so many tax protestors, seized on an tiny, obscure piece of
tax law and wrongly assumed that it has universal application. I
took the time to check the section of the regulations that you cite,
and if you do the same, you will discover that 26 C.F.R. 1.469-9(b)
provides, "The following definitions apply for purposes of
this section". The phrase "for purposes of this section"
shows that the definition you have seized on applies only in the
limited circumstances covered by the particular regulatory section
involved (which covers only "certain rental real estate activities")
and cannot be applied universally. By contrast, the sections of
the tax code that impose the income tax, which are cited on my website,
most particularly sections 1, 61, and 63, are the basic, fundamental,
universally applicable sections.
Finally, let me point out that virtually everyone
who has any actual training in law agrees with me. This includes
all the judges, all the law professors, and virtually all the lawyers
in the whole country. Please review this
page to understand why this is an area in which you should trust
the universal consensus of knowledgeable experts.
For your own sake, I hope you are not basing your
actions on the wrongful infomation that you appear to have gathered
from absurd Internet sources. You are welcome to believe anything
you want, but I hope you are not actually failing to pay income
taxes you owe because of dumb stuff posted on the Internet. Do yourself
a favor and don't fall for the nonsense. It can land you in considerable
trouble. Did you know that many of the people who created these
ridiculous Internet sites have done long stretches in prison for
their income tax crimes? For information about what actually happens
to tax protestors, possibly including some of the very people who
created the Internet sites that you appear to have been reading,
please see here.
Good luck to you,
As a matter of fact I've
received full refunds from the IRS + interest on every penny illegaly
withheld from my paychecks (including FICA and FUCA) from my pay
and working in the private sector.
So as far as consulting a lawyer and all you guys agreeing to the
'truth', I'm sorry, but no thanks. I've got letters of acknowledgment
from IRS for the last 5-6 years agreeing with my assessment and
following the rule of law in returning my property to me.
As far as the defnition of "personal services", I did
say that is the ONLY definition of it. I didn't say that it applies
to whole of the code, but merely the only instance in which they
actually define it. If that is how you read the text, now i can
see why you don't understand the law.
Also I consider my pay compensation for labor, not services. Again,
services is associated with the performance of trade or business.
I do not participate in any federal franchise as such.
Finally to address your point that virtually every lawyer agrees
with you. Virtually every USA resident has a SS# and is under the
impression that it is required to work. That couldn't be further
from the truth. I actually wrothe commissioner Michael J Astrue
and inquired about that. The letter was very revealing. There is
no law that requires any of us to have a SS# and there is no law
that requires private citizens working in the private sector to
have one to live and work in the USA. So being in agreement doesn't
mean anything except that we're a bunch of sheep.
I am glad you think highly of yourself, but until you get off your
high horse and actually start from scratch and question everything
and everyone, you will not start to understand the 'truth'.
Finally if you really are an expert and know that the IRC is positive
law, please show me. I'll be glad to see that section, where it
tells me that IRC and Social Security Act are positive law. Go ahead.
In the meantime, Prof. Siegel, let a layman explain to you that
not everything 'enacted' by Congress is positive law. In fact consult
to understand that it is not positive law.
Go ahead, find one instance where it says that IRC and Social Security
Act are positive law.
Please do not disregard my question, I would like a honest answer
and proof of the fact that IRC and SSA are positive laws. Can you
provide me with that quote or text please?
Then while you're at it, look at the definition of United States
(not United States of America).
Then come back to IRC and consult section 7701 that defines the
terms for the purpose of the title (irc or title 26) unless re-defined
somewhere else within. How is United States defined? State?
So, do you live in United States as defined in 7701? Do you live
in a State as per 7701?
Finally, your statements about architects and building a house are
insane. By your logic, if my car is broken down I need a mechanic.
God forbid I actually repaired the car or built a couple of walls.
Or READ the law for that matter.
I'll be awaiting for your response and especially the text that
proves the IRC and SSA are positive law.
I just noticed that you actually
probably do live in DC. So as far as question whether you consider
yourself to be a resident of United States or States as defined
in 7701, you can disregard it. You obviously are.
I however am not. I am a resident of the Republic of Arizona, and
am as much a resident to the federal territories of the United States
as I am of Spain.
PS; patiently awaiting proof that IRC and SSA are
indeed positive law.
As you have discovered, the IRS often starts out
by accepting data provided to it by taxpayers. So if you file documents
showing that you owe no tax and are entitled to a refund of everything
that's been withheld from your paychecks, the IRS may well give
it to you. But often, the IRS eventually catches up with people
who try this stunt, and they end up paying it all back plus a lot
extra in interest and penalties, and there's also the possibility
of going to prison. I can't promise you the IRS will catch up with
your particular case -- there are a lot of cases and they can't
catch everybody -- but if you keep trying this, you're going to
have to spend your life on the lam from the IRS. (Perhaps this is
why you're crouching?)
As to your questions, the definition of "positive
law" is "enacted law -- the codes, statutes, and regulations
that are applied and enforced in the courts." (Black's Law
Dictionary) The Internal Revenue Code is positive law because it
was enacted by Congress, as can be seen by looking it up in the
Statutes at Large -- for details see here.
As explained there, you are confused on this point
because you are focusing on the United States Code version of the
Internal Revenue Code. It is true that that version, Title 26 of
the U.S. Code, has not been enacted into positive law. But the Internal
Revenue Code itself was enacted by Congress, it's in the Statutes
at Large, and it is therefore positive law. The U.S. Code version
is just a more convenient source for looking it up.
No, there isn't a section in the Internal Revenue
Code that says "this code is positive law," but that is
irrelevant. Law is law, and positive law is positive law, whether
or not it has a label expressly saying so. The law against murder
does not have a section saying, "this law is positive law"
or even "this law is law," but so what?
With regard to the definition of "United States"
in code section 7701, I presume you are referring to the tedious
tax protestor argument that "United States" is defined
to include "only the States and the District of Columbia,"
and that "State" is then defined in turn "to include
the District of Columbia." You therefore draw the obviously
fallacious conclusion that the United States includes only
the District of Columbia. The conclusion is obviously fallacious
because, as the Code expressly states, the term "includes"
is non-exclusive. This is obvious from any dictionary, but just
in case it isn't, the Code expressly states (section 7701(c)) that
"The terms 'includes' and 'including' when used in a definition
contained in this title shall not be deemed to exclude other things
otherwise within the meaning of the term defined." Therefore,
while the Code defines "state" to include the
District of Columbia, that does not exclude the other things
that are otherwise within the meaning of the term "state"
-- namely, the states! So sorry, but you lose on this one.
Your argument that you are a citizen of only Arizona
and not of the United States is also incorrect. As the 14th Amendment
to the U.S.
Constitution makes clear (just read the first sentence), U.S.
citizens have two citizenships, one federal and one state. Every
citizen of a state is also a citizen of the United States, and a
citizen of the United States is also a citizen of the state in which
he or she is domiciled. (There are also U.S. citizens who are not
citizens of any state, if, for example, they live in D.C. or Puerto
Rico.) You say that you "a resident of the Republic of Arizona,"
but I'm afraid that you actually seem to live in a fantasy world.
The state of Arizona is a state of the United States and not an
independent Republic. (If Arizona were an independent Republic,
its citizen, John McCain, would hardly be eligible to become President
of the United States, would he?)
Crouching Lesbian, I continue to suggest that you
rejoin the world of normal people. As noted above, I can't promise
that the IRS will catch up to you. It is possible that you will
continue to get away with your tax scam, and that you will end up
saving money by doing it your way. But you are taking a big, big
risk. The IRS really does catch up with lots of people who have
tried what you are doing, and it hits those people up for big penalties
and interest that can end up ruining their lives. If you read the
information that proliferates around the Internet on these topics,
you can see sad stories of people who tried what you're doing and
who ended up losing their houses, being forced
into bankruptcy, or having the IRS garnish their wages and seize
their bank accounts and other assets. Some of them also go to prison.
You're saving a few dollars now, but you're running the risk of
having your whole life ruined. It's just not worth it.
Good luck to you,
August 5, 2008:
I just perused your site. I've seen similar information, in the
past. I've personally contacted my elected representatives, as
well as the IRS, CRS, and GAO and nobody has replied regarding
the presentation of a law which requires an individual to file
a 1040, or Federal Income Tax. As I stated, I only perused your
site, but I noticed that you are attempting to present the law
requiring an individual to file the previously mentioned taxes
with the IRS internal codes, themselves!!! It is all U.S.C.!!!
I just snorted. Sorry. I believe that you are either insincere,
or that you are missing the finer point? We are requesting the
very law which permitted the IRS to create their internal statutes
and codes in the first place. Would you be so kind as to provide
that information to me? Nobody else has been able to so. Some
of us still follow Constitutional Law, Jonathan. I eagerly await
The Internal Revenue Code, codified as part of
the United States Code, is the law. It was written by Congress,
not by the IRS. It is not "internal" to the IRS. For a
detailed explanation of this point, please see here.
April 2, 2008:
If you are a legal professor of law, would you tell me this?
Money in the United States is based on debt, not lawful money
based on gold and silver as stipulated in art 1 sec 10 of the
USC.Our money is therefore counterfeit by Constitutioal Law, being
based on debt its worth is actually a negative.How do you construe
that as income?It is already spent, because its based on the fact
that someone borrowed it from a bank and the money is printed.Which
actually makes it a representitive of debt, therefore not liable
to any income tax.
Wouldn't that make our congress guilty of being accessory to counterfeiting
Thanks for your message. Two points:
1. If you read Article 1, section 10 of the Constitution,
you will see that it applies only to the states, not to the federal
government. The states are forbidden from making anything but gold
and silver coin a tender in payment of debt, but the federal government
is not subject to that restriction.
2. If you really believe that the worth of your
money is a negative, the solution is simple: send it to me. I will
be happy to accept all of your money. According to your view of
things (under which money is a negative), you will be better off
if you send your money to me.
If you don't send your money to me (and I am guessing
you won't), that proves that you regard your money as a positive,
not a negative.
February 8, 2008:
Subject: You drank the kool-aid
I read your site. I'm speechless. If your site is correct why
do over 67 million people in this country not pay income taxes
on earned wages and go on about their lives?
It seems to me that since you are a lawyer, you've done your
best to interpret the laws and display them on your site, in the
most clear and concise manner possible. I learned lots from reading
your site, but the most important thing I learned is that you
are defending your profession. I think you feel you have to do
this to prove to yourself that the years you spent training were
not wasted - to prove to yourself that your profession is not
I personally know 3 people who have never filed tax returns and
never will. I of course do, because I have kids and don't want
the IRS' militarized units coming down on me like they can. They
have completed their goal of fearing me into paying, and I will
always pay until the "laws" say otherwise. These other
folks live their lives content and happy that they are not part
of this abomination created by the greedy bankers.
You are so sure of yourself and that is why I don't believe your
writings. You openly mock anyone who does not side with your logic
and interpretation. It is apparent that you think our government
is all fair and square, but let me inform you that you got another
thing coming. I was in the military and have seen it all. I know
what our government is capable of. Being an ex-submariner I've
seen what goes on 100 meters below the surface of the ocean with
cable tapping and spying. The fact is the government has lost
all credibility (especially as of late) and now that I've read
both sides of the story, I'm not drinking the kool-aid.
Best of luck to you, ____.
____, thanks for your message.
First of all, I have the highest respect for your
military service. Thank you for serving our country.
I don't know where you got the figure of 67 million
people not paying taxes, but please remember that many people are
not legally required to file a return or pay taxes. The most common
reason would be that a person does not have enough income to be
required to file. For example, most children up to the age of about
16 would not have enough income to be required to file a return.
So that by itself accounts for tens of millions of Americans not
Please let me assure you that I have not posted
the information on my website in order to defend the legal profession.
I have posted this information because I want people to be able
to see the laws that require most Americans to file income tax returns
and pay taxes. There is a lot of false information out there on
this subject. Many people are claiming that there is no law requiring
Americans to pay taxes and they constantly ask "Where is the
law? Show me the law!" So I am showing the law.
I am not claiming that everything the government
does is fair and square. Far from it. I agree that the government
does some bad things. But lying about the law that requires people
to pay income taxes is not one of them. I know this because I have
personally looked up the law.
I don't know if you had a chance to review this
page on my website, but please take a look at it.
This page explains why you can trust this information
and why I feel confident about it.
January 12, 2008:
Posting quotes from the IRS code is not proof that your position
is Constitutional! Talk about assuming what needs to be proven!
The fact that you cite this agencies code shows you have no Constitutional
support whatsoever. The Tax Protesters are not refuted by citing
an invalid non-authority on the matter. It would be like quoting
from another nation's law-code to prove that whatever you are
quoting is valid HERE. Will you next tell us the Federal Reserve
is Constitutional and that that Private Bankers are allowed to
print money out of thing air and then lend it to our Government
for Interest, forever enslaving the American people to these Money
Thanks for your message. The Internal Revenue
Code is proper authority because it is U.S. law, having been passed
by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. Of course
such law, to be valid, must also be constitutional. I address a
couple of constitutional arguments about the income tax here:
You appear to believe that the income tax laws
are unconstitutional, but you do not say why. Therefore, I can do
no more than refer you to the above pages. You might also check
this web page by Dan Evans, who addresses additional constitutional
October 20, 2007:
Dear Professor Siegel,
I just wanted to thank you profusely for taking the time to put
up your website debunking tax protester myths. A very old friend
of mine (who has no background in law whatsoever), recently befriended
a group of people who exposed her to America: Freedom to Fascism
and dragged her deep into the tax protester smut. I was concerned
and wanted to make it clear to her that the arguments were absurd,
but as a law student I didn't have the time (and probably didn't
have the knowledge) to cohesively show her everything that was
wrong with it. I tried showing her the IRS FAQ, but she disregarded
it as "more lies." Luckily I stumbled upon your page,
which made my job very easy! I'm happy to say she's now off that
track and wholly aware of her legal obligation to pay taxes. So,
in short, I just wanted to thank you for putting up information
that made it easy for me to get her out before she got in too
deep and did something stupid like refuse to file. It's nice to
see someone put up a page like yours to counter all the other
ridiculous pages out there. I can't believe how convincingly these
protesters take in perfectly intelligent people. Now I just have
to find a way to convice her that a return to the gold standard
will not solve all of America's monetary problems.
Thank you again, _____________.
Thanks for your message. It sounds like your friend
is right in the "target market" for my website. I'm glad
it helped keep her away from trouble.
September 25, 2007:
Dear Dr. Siegel,
Thank you for the helpful answers you provide on line to the
arguments made by tax protesters. I am a pastor and some of the
members of my congregation are unduly influened by these protester's
arguments. You web site is a very helpful resource.
Thanks very much for your message. If my website
can help members of your congregation avoid getting into trouble
with tax protestor arguments, then it will have served its purpose.
August 26, 2007:
I came upon your site after sitting through half of Aaron Russo's
rather dodgy "America: Freedom to Fascism" and, not
being one to believe something simply because one person says
that it is the case (I AM a grad student in philosophy, after
all), I decided to do some of my own research.
I just wanted to say that, for better or worse, your page has
given me more than sufficient reason to trust that there is a
law requiring all non-exempt American citizens to pay income taxes.
I feel I should let it be known for posterity's sake that I am
no fan of this law (or any form of government in general), but
your citations made me think twice before becoming a tax evader
myself, if only because I do not want to go to jail. I say with
no small amount of shame that I am that coward who chooses to
hand the fruits of his labor over to the thief in exchange for
Perhaps one day I will become courageous enough to cease funding
a nation I've grown to despise. But as for now, I will pay for
the ability to live comfortably because you have eradicated any
doubts I had as to what can---under existing and enforceable laws---happen
to me were I to attempt to evade the IRS.
Thank you, ______.
Thanks for your message. I am glad the web pages
were useful to you.
Given your views, perhaps you should join those
who are agitating for repeal of the income tax? It's a big task,
to be sure, but there's already a movement for it. Perhaps you know
that Ron Paul, who is running for President, supports repeal.
Thanks for your reply, sir. It's very honorable and kind of you
to go out of your way to get back to those who write to you (especially
the disrespectful playground-bully types) and offer helpful suggestions;
this is the mark of a true teacher.
Unfortunately, given that I am what many would call an "anarchist,"
I refuse to vote or partake in the democratic process out of principle.
A good argument can be made that I'm simply complacent or, at
the very least, unproductive in regards to our republican style
of government, but to use an all-too-cliche and oft-exaggerated
analogy, I wouldn't have fought the National Socialist system
by participating in it---nor would I have achieved anything by
Thanks once again for all your help, and I hope you have a great
June 14, 2007:
Thank you for contributing to the other side of this debate.
I look forward to studying both sides as this issue has just come
to my attention recently, first in the form of Mr. Russo's film
and secondly in the form of your website.
I wanted to pose one simple question to you, as a matter of principle:
do you believe it to be morally just to imprison someone who fails
to pay taxes? If indeed it turns out that you are correct on the
matter of the personal income tax, would it not be more just to
pursue those who don't pay as civil matters?
Thanks for your time, ______.
_____, Thanks for your message. Yes, I do think
jail is an appropriate penalty for failure to pay taxes in some
cases. Here are some reasons:
1. The vast majority of tax cases are
pursued as civil or administrative matters. There are literally
millions of civil tax penalties every year, and hundreds of thousands
of tax liens and levies, but only two or three thousand criminal
tax prosecutions. You can see the statistics here.
This is because, as a matter of policy, the government
reserves criminal prosecution for serious cases. I'm not claiming
that the IRS implements this policy perfectly -- I'm sure it makes
inappropriate decisions sometimes -- but that is the general rule.
2. Criminal prosecution requires the government
to show that the defendant knew he or she was required
to pay taxes and wilfully failed to do so. So we're not talking
about people who just made an honest mistake on their tax return.
Again, this means that criminal tax prosecutions are for serious
3. Millions of taxpayers (including myself) honestly
pay the taxes they owe every year. If people deliberately fail to
pay their taxes, it hurts honest taxpayers. That is wrong.
4. There has to be some serious deterrent to failing
to pay income tax. The IRS has to enforce the tax laws with regard
to hundreds of millions of people. The odds that the IRS will catch
those who cheat are often low in an individual case, particularly
with regard to income that is not independently reported (such as
the income of the self-employed). If people were only subject to
paying the taxes owed plus interest and penalties, I don't think
that would be a sufficient deterrent and there would be a lot more
noncompliance than there is. The possibility of a jail sentence
is needed to give people a real incentive to pay their taxes.
So yes, I think jail is appropriate in some cases.
Thanks for the reply, you've
given me much to consider.
I just wonder about the deterrence issue. Again, if indeed the
federal income tax does apply to the wages most of us earn, I
definitely support punitive punishment over and above the tax
owed and any interest payment for those who fail to comply.
However, if a person honestly believes the tax does not apply
to him (i.e. Ed Brown, Joe Bannister, Sherry Brown, Irwin Schiff,
etc.), and a jury of his peers determines that the tax does in
fact apply to that individual, I really have a moral problem with
putting someone in jail for an offense that has caused no other
person any physical harm, especially when it was not a deliberate
attempt to evade law in willful violation.
Oh, and one more thing. Do you believe that there is such a thing
as jury nullification which includes the power of a jury to judge
both the facts of a case and the law itself that is in question?
Thanks again, _____.
Remember, it is up to the government to prove to
the jury that the defendant did believe that he had an
obligation to pay income tax. If the defendant truly doesn't believe
he has to pay, failure to pay is not a crime. The defendant still
owes the money (including interest and penalties), but is not subject
to criminal punishment.
So how can people such as Ed Brown and Irwin Schiff
be convicted, when they believe there is no income tax law? The
answer is that the government proved, to the jury's satisfaction,
beyond a reasonable doubt, that Brown and Schiff know that there
is a law requiring them to pay taxes. The jury must have
concluded that Brown and Schiff and similar people are lying when
they say they believe they don't have to pay taxes.
I have no idea what really goes on inside the heads
of Brown, Schiff, and like-minded others. I wasn't at their trials
and I don't know what evidence the government presented. But, under
the law, that evidence must have been sufficient to convince the
jury that the defendants in fact knew they had to pay income taxes,
and that their claims that they believe that they don't have to
>> Oh, and one more thing. Do you believe that there
>> is such a thing as jury nullification which includes
>> the power of a jury to judge both the facts of a
>> case and the law itself that is in question?
In a criminal case, there is no doubt that the
jury has the power to engage in nullification by returning a not
guilty verdict. Whether juries should do so is a more complex
For a jury to determine what
a defendant *believed* to be true regarding a particular subject,
members would have to at least be aware of the information upon
which that person reached his alleged conclusion, and have access
to said documents, codes, statutes, etc. Surely this is covered
under almost every clause in the 5th and 6th amendments, particularly
the right to call witnesses on your own behalf. In these cases,
the "witnesses" are the documents and the law itself.
This is indeed the crux of the matter, is it not?
Are you aware of a case or cases where the jury
has been presented the evidence that people claim to have about
the ratification of the 16th amendment, the so-called 861 evidence,
and all other theories a man wishes to present? (Surely only a tyrant
would determine a given defense "frivolous" if it had
never yet been heard by a jury.)
This is what I am most interested in finding out.
Has the law actually been put on trial, or is it really like Mr.
Russo, Mr. Brown, Mr. Shiff et al allege, where the judges systematically
deny these defendants their rights to put the law on trial for judgment
by a jury of their peers?
Thanks again, you've been very helpful.
Your point is well taken, and I don't really know
the full answer. But I can say this:
1. It is not up to the jury to decide what the
law is. The judge decides whether the law requires people
to pay taxes, and of course all the judges decide that it does,
because that is the correct answer. So in this sense "the law"
is never put on trial.
2. The jury does decide whether the defendant in
a criminal tax case believed that he was obliged to pay
taxes. As you say, in order for the jury to make this decision,
it would need to have an understanding of the defendant's thinking
and so would need some opportunity to hear the defendant's explanation
of why he claims he believed there was no such obligation.
3. Tax protestor defendants frequently complain
that the judge in their trial excluded all the evidence that would
allow them to prove what they believed. I don't really know what
happens. I heard from someone who claimed to be personally present
at the trial of Larken Rose that Rose was "allowed to go through
the entire 861 presentation, with all of the statutes and regulations
he wanted." On the other hand, I have heard directly from Rose
that Rose feels that the judge excluded all his evidence. So you
see there are conflicting stories.
My best guess, based on my assessment of the reliability
of the people involved, is that Rose was allowed to make a reasonably
full presentation of his 861 argument, but he wasn't allowed to
show his video version and wasn't allowed to put in every chart,
diagram, and exhibit he wanted, and he has magnified this in his
own mind into "the judge excluded everything."
But as I say, I don't really know.
June 2, 2007:
interesting analysis. you had me until you argued that my labor
had no value until i traded it, making the gain in assets taxable.
and you teach? i know i won't be hiring any accountants (or logicians)
from George Washington anytime soon.
Thanks for your message. I never said your labor
had no value. What I said is that, for tax purposes, the value is
irrelevant. Please review this page:
As the page explains, when you sell something,
you normally have taxable income if the sale price exceeds your
"basis" in the thing sold. But your basis has nothing
to do with the value of the thing sold. It has to do with
the cost to you of the thing sold.
If we were to apply this concept to the sale of
labor (which the tax code isn't really set up to do), we would conclude
that you should be able to deduct, from your wages or salary, the
cost to you of your labor. But what is that? Did you ever pay anyone
anything to own your labor? I certainly didn't and I expect that
you didn't either. Therefore, your basis in your labor is zero.
That doesn't mean your labor has no value. It has
value, but value is not the relevant figure.
it still sounds like your
argument re the tax code is that if it doesn't cost you anything,
it isn't worth anything.
sorry, i must be a strict constructionist or a
semanticist - because i'm not still not buying it. and of course
the anti-elitist in me resents being devalued.
You're really not being devalued. Value is just
not the relevant figure. Let me put it this way:
If you bought a diamond for $10,000 and sold it
some years later for $15,000, your income would be $5,000. That's
the $15,000 sale price minus your basis (cost) of $10,000.
But what if you found a diamond in the street and
sold it for $15,000? How much income would you have? You didn't
pay anything for the diamond. It had no cost to you. So your basis
is zero. Therefore, the whole $15,000 sale price would be income,
because you have no basis to deduct from it.
That doesn't mean the diamond is valueless! Obviously
it is very valuable. But your basis is determined by cost, not value.
The value of the thing sold is irrelevant.
The sale of labor is the same. You didn't pay anything
to own your labor. Therefore your basis in it is zero. That doesn't
mean it has no value. Like the diamond found in the street, it is
valuable. But basis is determined by cost, not value.
It really has to be this way. If you deducted the
value of the thing sold, you would never have any income from anything!
In any normal, free market transaction, on the day you sell something,
its value is equal to the sale price. So if you could deduct the
value, your income would be zero. That can't be how it works. You
deduct the cost, not the value.
May 3, 2007:
I just copied part of the opinion from the Brushaber Supreme court
case, and it seems to me that it only confirmed that direct and
indirect (excise) taxes must remain as they were before the 16th
amendment! I could find nothing that overturned the Pollock Case!
“Second, that the contention that the Amendment treats a
tax on income as a direct tax although it is relieved from apportionment
and is necessarily therefore not subject to the rule of uniformity
as such rule only applies to taxes which are not direct, thus
destroying the two great classifications which have been recognized
and enforced from the beginning, is also wholly without foundation
since the command of the Amendment that all income taxes shall
not be subject to apportionment by a consideration of the sources
from which the taxed income may be derived [240 U.S. 1, 19forbids
the application to such taxes of the rule applied in the Pollock
Case by which alone such taxes were removed from the great class
of excises, duties, and imposts subject to the rule of uniformity,
and were placed under the other or direct class. This must be
unless it can be said that although the Constitution, as a result
of the Amendment, in express terms excludes the criterion of source
of income, that criterion yet remains for the purpose of destroying
the classifications of the Constitution by taking an excise out
of the class to which it belongs and transferring it to a class
in which it cannot be placed consistently with the requirements
of the Constitution. Indeed, from]another point of view, the Amendment
demonstrates that no such purpose was intended, and on the contrary
shows that it was drawn with the object of maintaining the limitations
of the Constitution and harmonizing their operation. We say this
because it is to be observed that although from the date of the
Hylton Case, because of statements made in the opinions in that
case, it had come to be accepted that direct taxes in the constitutional
sense were confined to taxes levied directly on real estate because
of its ownership, the Amendment contains nothing repudiation or
challenging the ruling in the Pollock Case that the word 'direct'
had a broader significance, since it embraced also taxes levied
directly on personal property because of its ownership, and therefore
the Amendment at least impliedly makes such wider significance
a part of the Constitution,-a condition which clearly demonstrates
that the purpose was not to change the existing interpretation
except to the extent necessary to accomplish the result intended;
that is, the prevention of the resort to the sources from which
a taxed income was derived in order to cause a direct tax on the
income to be a direct tax on the source itself, and thereby to
take an income tax out of the class of excises, duties, and imposts,
and place it in the class of direct taxes. [240 U.S. 1, 20] We
come, then, to ascertain the merits of the many contentions made
in the light of the Constitution as it now stands; that is to
say, including within its terms the provisions of the 16th Amendment
as correctly interpreted. We first dispose of two propositions
assailing the validity of the statute on the one hand because
of its repugnancy to the Constitution in other respects, and especially
because its enactment was not authorized by the 16th Amendment.”
If, as you say that Pollock was overturned please send me the
Supreme Court Case that indicates your position so I can better
understand the law. It is very difficult for me to understand
your position when I can find nothing to support it.
I barely got through high school so I have a great deal of respect
for people such as yourself that have achieved the degree of education
you have. I hope my correspondence doesn’t sound disrespectful;
it would seem when I study other court cases that they conflict
with what you believe.
As I read history I think the founding fathers be discussed with
how we have let this Republic become a Democracy because we as
a people are lazy and don’t make our employees obey the
constitution as written.
Thank you, _____.
Mr. _____, the very case you cite, Brushaber, says:
"the [Sixteenth] Amendment was drawn for the purpose of doing
away for the future with the principle upon which the Pollock Case
thus showing that Pollock is no longer good law. (p. 18)
The case also says, on the same page:
"the whole purpose of the Amendment was to relieve all income
taxes when imposed from apportionment from a consideration of the
source whence the income was derived. . . . in express terms the
Amendment provides that income taxes, from whatever source the income
may be derived, shall not be subject to the regulation of apportionment."
So Congress may impose an income tax and the income tax is not
subject to the requirement of apportionment.
April 14, 2007:
YOU are a genius. All this time people in the truth in taxation
movement have been asking for someone, anyone, to show them the
law that requires them to file a federal income tax return, and
to pay the federal income tax. Up to this point, all that has
been achieved is for those that propose there is such a law, is
countless name calling, declaring people’s arguments that
there is no law to be frivolous and that these people are obviously
anti-government. But now you come along and make it look so easy!
Are you going to pay taxes on the money and property you will
collect as a result of finally showing all of these doubters that
there really is a law? Just one other question, can you say legalese?
Thank you for finally putting this whole mess to rest.
________, Iowa City, IA.
Thanks for your message. I only wish I was collecting
money from showing people the law! I'd be happy to pay tax on it.
Maybe I could charge the IRS a cut of the tax it gets from people
who pay up after reading my website . . . hmmm, unfortunately, not
Anyway, thanks again.
In actuality, you CAN cash
in whether there is a law or not, simply by becoming an IRS informant.
Just turn in your fellow Americans that know there is no law and
follow the Constitution by refusing to be extorted by the government.
Pretty good deal huh? God bless Amerika. But because you can show
there IS a law, you can cash in by collecting all of the offers
being made to anyone that can show just that. Beginning with Ed
and Elaine Brown, whose story you linked to (Fox news no less, the
most trustworthy source of no spin news in Amerika) on your website.
They're offering a million dollars in property for anyone that can
show them the law. There are others that have offered large sums
of cash, that have been unclaimed to date, for anyone that can show
the law. Unfortunately all of this still goes unclaimed because
the only misguided reference anyone can site is the same that you
do. I guess there are just too many people out there that just have
all the money they need and therefore can't be bothered with taking
a couple of minutes and just showing the "real" law.
Just remember, the federal income tax is legal
and backed by the Constitution. It's how it's being, and has been
misapplied, by the IRS. I'm only sorry that you wasted a good education
to become part of the matrix. I suppose you also believe that the
Federal Reserve System is Constitutional also?
I'm currently listening your conversation with
Larken Rose on Soapbox Radio. I can tell that you've been doing
all of your research on the IRS website. You even copy and paste
their section on Tax Protestor Myths into your website. This shows
how little research you've done on your own account. Not sure if
you're aware of the current situation with Tom Cryer, so I thought
I'd supply this link for your educational enrichment.
I'm sure that even someone taking your position
will agree that this is not just some tax evading kook. I would
submit that he is far more qualified to address this issue than
You're also quite naïve to believe that just
because people like Larken have been put into prison, amounst others,
that that in itself proves that there is a law. All this proves
is that the notion that American's rights are being taken from them,
and corruption in the government is destroying the Constitution,
is a reality. If you truly believe that our government, especially
our current administration, has never lied to the American people,
you are in denial.
One other comment. I couldn't help notice in your
discussion with Larken, you sounded quite condescending. As a person
dedicated to education, I ask that you think outside of the conventional
wisdom and use your OWN mind instead of relying on IRS propaganda,
as well as what you've been taught in public schools since you started
going to school. Just don't believe that slavery is a thing of the
past, as it's still alive and well today.
Rats, you fooled me. When I saw your first message I had some
suspicion as to its genuineness, particularly based on the sentence,
"Just one other question, can you say legalese?" But
I decided to do you the courtesy of assuming that you were being
sincere in the rest of your message, such as when you said, "Thank
you for finally putting this whole mess to rest." Now I see
that the whole thing was just an exercise in sarcasm.
Too bad. As to your other messages:
* There are many people who claim to be offering
money for proving that the law requires people to pay income tax.
But on close examination, these offers usually turn out to be bogus.
Often they say that to win, you have to disprove something that
is obviously true, such as that "under the Constitution, Congress
passes the laws." With particular regard to Mr.
Brown's offer, there are two problems -- first, you have to
the first to show him the law, and I presume someone else has
already done so, and second, he says that the law can't be Title
26. Well, that is the law, so it is impossible to collect on his
* I have not cut and pasted from the IRS website.
Everything on my website is based on my original research. I have
looked directly at the tax law itself and at the accompanying regulations.
Thanks again for your messages. I'm sorry that
you couldn't just have been an honest person from the beginning
and said what you actually believed, instead of starting off with
sarcastic statements that are the opposite of what you believe.
April 10, 2007:
Great website regarding the income tax.
Everything you say on it is correct. If one makes "income"
he certainly must pay an "income tax" on it.
And there certainly ARE laws which make one liable. Take this
from someone who has been in the tax honesty movement for 20 years.
I however do not make much "income". Last year it was
only $60.00 in fact.
I am a highly paid professional and I do have quite a bit "withheld"
as the companies I work for have common misunderstandings in this
regard. However that is ok, I am non privileged private sector
worker, and I have recieved back everything I have paid in to
the IRS and state taxing agencies including Medicare, FICA and
other Federal taxes, for the past few years now as I now KNOW
the law too. Luckily, the IRS also knows the law, and has been
quietly refunding everything paid in by many private sector workers
for years, but only if you know the law. You can read about it
All the best,
Thanks for your message. If, as you say, everything
I say on my website is correct, then you do have income:
The statement on your website that income "is the exercise
of federal privilege, which is measured, for purposes of determining
the tax, by the receipts brought in by that exercise" is contrary
to section 61.
March 8, 2007:
Are you really a law professor or an ex-IRS person. Your fraudulent
website is so full of holes you can drive a semi through it. no
wonder I can beat your lawschool buddies in court. they were probably
trained by you. I would stick to ambulance chasing. That is why
you are called an attorney instead of a lawyer and I will bet
you do not even know what I am talking about.
Let me just say this without wasting more of my valuble time.
26 U.S.C IS NOT LAW but simply code which congress can pass into
law given the passing of statutes. Secondarily, most of 26 U.S.C.
is found in 27 CFR section 70 et. seq. I f you do not know what
I am saying CFR statnds for Code of Federal Regulations and the
27 part, that is for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as well as
Federal Employees and non-resident aliens. You should read the
code and do some research before making the same assertions the
IRS uses in their propaganda before some Lawschool 101 freshman
knows more than you do. Another thing you may want to go and look
up in the Federal Register and see if Congress has enacted the
IRS as a government agency, and also research the IRM Internal
Revenue Manual and look under OMB numbers, thets Office of Management
and Budget and see what is says about a 1040, which TD 2313 in
the Brushaber Supreme Court case stated it was for non-resident
aliens. Get into politics or be a DOJ patsy, because you do not
know what you are talking about. Put this on your website.
Thanks for your message. I really am a law professor and I never
worked for the I.R.S., although I did work at the U.S. Department
of Justice before I went into teaching.
Title 26 of the U.S. Code is law. The U.S. Code is a compilation
of statutes passed by the United States Congress. Every section
in Title 26 was passed by Congress as law.
Guess what you are not up
to date the 1986 code was not passed into law and I know that what
I told you about the CFR's are true as I have the regulations from
the law. I noticed that you do what you do because of your background
which explains why it is a copy of the IRS flyer that they send
out to con people into paying that which Article I section 8 says
has to be done first in order to tax our earnings. If they want
us to follow the law they first must first follow it. That is why
people keep asking for the law, there isn't one and again research
the Supreme Court caselaw that is what you should be telling your
students, not perforce giving them your biased opinion like a lot
of the judges do today. Look it up we have. The Constitution is
the law for us not what the government thinks.
The Internal Revenue Code of 1986 became law on
October 22, 1986, by Congress's passage of Public Law 99-514. Some
more information is available here.
The code has been amended many times since then, each time by law
passed by Congress.
So the code really is law.
Read what Jeff said. it is
not law without the statutes at large. You are arguing for something
that does not exist and is verified by several Supreme Court cases
from 1895 to the present. You cannot tax private citizens on their
earnings period. I have studying this long and hard for 13 years
and have every pertinent case on this. That is why the IRS just
lost another case. They are being caught up with with their lies
and fraud. If you pay me enough I will teach your class on the real
But it's in the Statutes at Large. Volume
100, starting at page 2085. I'm looking at it right now. Public
Law 99-514, "An Act To reform the internal revenue laws of
the United States." Check it out for yourself.
Look, I'm sorry, but Congress really did pass this
and it really is law. Why don't you try a different argument? There's
no point arguing that Congress didn't pass something when it obviously
did, as anyone can check by looking it up in the books.
This is my last comment on
this. I am too busy suing the IRS. 80,000,000 non payers cannot
be wrong and Federal Workers who owe $2,799,950,195 are wrong. Go
to: www.wtop.com/?nid-428&sid=1034585. Stop defending these
crooks You do not even know where this stolen money goes.
February 23, 2007:
When I browsed your page critiquing Aaron Russo's film, America:
From Freedom to Fascism, I was hoping to find some direct answers
that would contradict the revelations brought forth in the film.
However, the nonsense on your webpage seems to only give greater
credibility to Russo. On the page, "Comments on Aaron Russo's
America: Freedom to Fascism", you descredit your own argument
by using, again, the tax code to prove that one is required to
pay income tax. However, being a professor of law at a major university,
you yourself would know that no such code can legally be enforced
without a statute authorizing that code. It seems to be the case
that no such statute exists! As well, you well know that any decision
handed down by the Supreme Court is infallible and that any court
lower does not have the authority to question or revise its verdict;
this means with regards to the length of its enforcibility, forever,
as there is not a statute of limitations on a Supreme Court verdict.
You use the argument that interviewing someone convicted of tax
fraud somehow brings incredibility to the documentary; again,
you're starting with fallacious presuppositons, instead of allowing
the evidence being presented by the person(s) to speak for itself.
It sounds as if the same whitewashed arguments I hear most "scientists"
propogating are being presented here. In most instances, I find,
evidence is used to validate a presupposition; what is not usually
questioned is whether the presupposition is inherently false.
So, if you want to prove to me (or any other intelligent reader)
the validity of your argument, provide some real evidence to back
up your assertation. Deception is any easy beast to fall prey
to... _________, TN
Thanks for your message. The tax code is
a statute, or to be more precise, a set of statutes. The statutes
were passed by the United States Congress. Congress chose the name
"Internal Revenue Code of 1986" as the name for the set
of statutes. So there is no distinction between the code and statutes.
Please see this
page for the particular statutes that require payment of income
I hope that helps. I can't comment on your argument
regarding Supreme Court decisions because you don't specify which
decision you have in mind.
February 12, 2007:
Thank you for publishing your page on tax law. Up here in New
Hampshire ("Live Free or Die"), we have lots of people
who really believe all of the myths that you debunk. You may have
heard of the standoff with Ed Brown in Plainfield. Some of my
friends almost had me believing them and Ed when they say there
is no law requiring the payment of income tax. You have done a
service by explaining this in simple terms. Thank you! _________,
Thanks for your kind message. If you had friends
trying to convince you that there is no law requiring payment of
income taxes, you are right in the "target market" for
my web page. I'm glad you found it to be helpful.
February 1, 2007:
Dear Mr. Siegel,
If I asked you to tell me how you liked the movie, The Grinch that
Stole Christmas," and you told me it had a great ending. The
Grinch turned nice and everybody was singing. That would not tell
me very much and I would wonder if you really understood the meaning
of the story.
That's about how your criticism of Aaron Russo's Freedom From Fascism
sounded. I was sincerely looking for some good advice about what
was claimed in that film, and to tell you the truth, after reading
your criticism of it, and the page you made in regard to IRS tax
code, I can only surmise that Aaron Russo is right on target. I
noticed that you are a professor of law. I am wondering if you are
differentiating between what is a code and what is a law. I am only
a grandmother with a high school education, so I expect my email
will probably mean even less than 25 minutes of that film, but I
would really like to know if you have had a chance to watch the
entire film yet. After examining the information you have laid out,
I feel like you have really missed some major stuff.
I would appreciate seeing the actual law, not the "policies"
or "codes" of an entity called the IRS. If you have the
number of the law, I would like to see it, but only after you have
viewed that incredibly important film at least twice... one time
through the eyes of a skeptic, and a second time, through the eyes
of an optimist... someone who might be thankful that we might actually
be free of the bondage of the income tax after all. How wonderful
that would be. Would it not? Whose side are you on?
Thanks for your message. I'm sorry I don't have
time to view the whole film right now -- I have a lot of deadlines
in my work. Perhaps I'll have time to get to it in a month or so
and if I do I'll post a fuller review.
But in the meanwhile, you asked for "the number
of the law." I presume you mean the law requiring payment of
income taxes. The relevant laws, complete with numbers, can be found
on my web page here:
These really are laws -- they were passed by the
Congress of the United States. They are not creations of the IRS.
They are part of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, because that's
the name chosen by Congress for this set of laws.
Please take a look and see what you think. And
congratulations on your grandchildren -- I'm sure they're wonderful.
Dear Mr. Siegel,
Thank you very much for your prompt response. I
certainly understand you must be very busy and appreciate that you
have taken the time to respond to me. I will check back with you
one of these days to see if you had had a chance to post another
message on this after viewing the film. I will double check the
site you referred me to as well. I am not sure if I am understanding
you correctly, but it appears that you are saying that the code
was created in 1986. I'll tell you I had been paying income taxes
many years prior to that.
Well, I don't mean to open a can of worms when
you are busy, so I will say I will get in touch with you one day
in the future, and if you get any time to work on this, it would
be appreciated as I am very interested in making sure I have my
facts straight when I talk to people about such things.
Thank you, ________.
Thanks for your follow up. The Internal Revenue Code of 1986
replaced the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, which replaced the
Internal Revenue Code of 1939, which replaced earlier tax laws.
These were all statutes passed by the U.S. Congress. So there
have been tax laws in effect for a long time.
And I'll see what I can do about that film. Maybe
check back April 15! That would be an appropriate day.
[Note: a full review of the film is now posted.]
Back to top
January 25, 2007:
Greetings: I was searching the web looking for information about
the claims that some people make that there is no law saying you
must pay federal income tax. I found the stuff on your web page
to be very informative but I need one more piece of information
to validate it. You have all of those statutes, codes and provisions
laid out so a layman like myself can understand it easily. Now
I just need the names and publishers of the law books to authenticate
it and where I can find the books themselves for my proof positive.
In other words where's the source? It looks authentic but I want
to see it first hand in a book in a law library. I want to go
to the UMKC Law Library and have the librarian there take me to
the books so I can make photo copies of it. I couldn't find reference
to where you got this at. I'm not saying that you are wrong and
I'm not doubting your integrity but I want to see this first hand
so I can tell 2 friends of mine that they are indeed wrong. I'm
just asking you to tell me where I can find the law book with
those laws in it so I can read it for myself out of the real books
rather than relying on a website. You don't list the law books
here on the website where you got this out of. I have yet to have
any lawyer, college professor or government official be able to
tell me where I can find proof of federal income tax laws in a
law library. I do believe that there are federal income tax laws
but why are Federal court judges trying to hide them or won't
tell us where they are? Also in this current case with Ed Brown
up in New Hampshire I find it absolutely appallling the Judge
McCaulliffe won't show MR. Brown where the law is written. Doesn't
Judge McCaulliffe know his Law? Or do we have a complete moron
sitting on the federal bench? Even when I have gone to something
as insignificant as local traffic court they will recite you chapter
and verse and the code/statute numbers of traffic law and other
infractions you are being charged with; so why can't the Feds
do the same thing? Why can't a Federal court judge just simply
have the respect and decency to show us the law instead of treating
people disrespectfully like they do? But you yourself SIR do seem
to know this law that everyone doubts. If you would be kind enough
to tell me the name of the law book that contains it so I can
go to the UMKC Law Library here in Kansas City Missouri then I
can make myself some photocopies and blow these doubters out of
the water. I will be the biggest proponent of your website if
you can give me ROCK SOLID PROOF of what you have put on this
site. thank you for your time. ________-Grain Valley, Missouri
Thanks for your message. I think looking up the
laws yourself is an excellent idea. One problem, though, is that
looking up legal information can require some specialized training.
It's not always so easy to find everything. But the laws themselves
are the easiest part. If you have access to a law library, you should
be able to find the laws themselves without too much trouble.
The laws themselves are part of the UNITED STATES
CODE. It's published by the U.S. Government Printing Office. Just
ask a librarian where the library keeps the United States Code,
or, alternatively, a version called the "United States Code
Annotated," which has the laws plus additional information
such as notes of court decisions (that's published by West Group,
a major legal publisher). Either version is a large, multi-volume
set. The tax laws are in Title 26, which is basically the same as
Volume 26. Within the volume, the laws are arranged by section number,
so you can look up individual sections that are cited on my web
page by number.
If you want to get really ambitious and look up
cases cited on my web page, you can ask where the library keeps
the "Federal Reporter." This is a little harder to use.
Cases are cited by volume number and page. For example, my citation
to "United States v. Benson, 941 F.2d 598 (7th Cir. 1991),"
means you need to find volume 941 and look for page 598 within that
volume. But just to make it more complicated, note that "F.2d"
means the Second Series of the Federal Reporter (there are three
series of the Federal Reporter so far), so you need to find volume
941 in the Second Series.
Good luck. Please let me know whether you are able
to find the tax laws and convince your friends -- I'd be interested
And by the way, I agree that government officials
should courteously show the tax laws to anyone who asks to see them.
I was reading your Income Tax page and I'm confused
about one issue. On your page you said that the tax law says you're
only required to pay federal income taxes if you're required to
file a tax return, right? Well I heard that you don't have to file
a tax return because it's a violation of the "paperwork reduction
act". So if you're not required to file a tax return as per
the paperwork reduction act, wouldn't that mean you don't have to
pay federal income taxes as well?
Thanks for your message. The problem with this
theory is that the tax return requirement does not violate the Paperwork
Reduction Act. I have to admit I've never investigated this argument
in detail, because it seems too silly, but here's my understanding:
the PRA provides that government forms that request information
must bear a "control number" assigned by the Office of
Management and Budget. If there's no OMB number, then you don't
have to fill out the form. But Form 1040 does have an OMB number!
It's right there in the upper-right-hand corner of Form 1040. Same
for Form 1040-EZ and other IRS forms. So there's no violation of
January 24, 2007:
In your correspondences about the income tax you stated...."Have
you ever seen the actual laws that prohibit murder, robbery, or
I can say that YES I have seen these laws and are often cited in
prosecution of these types of criminals.
I can also say that I have researched the tax code and cannot find
the statute that puts the wages of any human being subject to a
Your arguments are vague and convoluted to the point of not making
any sense. There are several ex-IRS agents who are knowledgable
of the law and they all state that there is no law.
There have been several court cases that have won by defendants
who ask the question...show me the law. According to the US Supreme
court, the 16th ammendment does not give the
government any new taxing authority.
All we as US citizens want is to be shown the law.
Thanks for your message.
>In your correspondences about the income tax you stated...."Have
>ever seen the actual laws that prohibit murder, robbery, or
>I can say that YES I have seen these laws and are often cited
>prosecution of these types of criminals.
Really? What state are you from? Perhaps you could quote me the
statutes the prohibit murder, robbery, and arson in your state.
I would be interested to learn whether you have seen the actual
statutes. If so, good for you, but I think you are in a very small
>I can also say that I have researched the tax code and cannot
>statute that puts the wages of any human being subject to a
Well, the statutes are right on my web page:
Please take a look.
>Your arguments are vague and convoluted to the point of not
>There are several ex-IRS agents who are knowledgable of the
law and they
>all state that there is no law.
>There have been several court cases that have won by defendants
>the question...show me the law.
>According to the US Supreme court, the 16th ammendment does
not give the
>government any new taxing authority.
The 16th amendment did not give a new taxing authority, but it
allowed the existing authority to be used to tax incomes, without
regard to the previous requirement of apportionment.
>All we as US citizens want is to be shown the law.
Again, it's on my web page. See the link above.
[Note: No further word received yet from this correspondent.]
Back to top
January 20, 2007:
I was just directed to your income tax law page where you have
presented the obvious case for the legality of the income tax
and filing. I'm sure it couldn't have escaped your attention
that everyone making the claim that "there is no law"
has certainly been through this same information, and nonetheless
have a quite contrary viewpoint.
Now, my first question is... if this is so "obvious"
to you, then why have you not been awarded the $50,000 prize?
Or did you not realize the offer existed? I would assume that
your presentation of fact should qualify you -- and, naturally,
the probable thousands of individuals who responded to the challenge
with the same material. None of them won, I guess.
My second question is, have you pursued the other
(more rational, I think) arguments against the income tax as per
its supposed un-Constitutionality? I am fully aware that Congress
can essentially pass any law they wish regardless of the law of
the land (apparently, at least), but do these Supreme Court decisions
barring taxation rights of Congress (I'm sure you know of them)
truly exist? And so what?
I'm just looking into this matter for the first
time, and only because I have seen the "evidence" provided
from other sources; this is an attempt on my part to find out
if there is any substance to any of them. Unfortunately, it is
difficult to entertain the notion of a legal income tax when it
has been refuted by former IRS professionals. Also, I am concerned
about the Marcy Brooks account, which -- on her word -- seems
to invoke the compelling idea that presenting Article 26 does
not prove what you think it does. Again, I am quite new to this
subject, and I just find it fascinating... especially for the
lack of reasoned evidence on either side of the argument.
If you have not heard the Marcy Brooks accounting
(a truncated version is presented in America: Freedom to Fascism),
here is the link to a 2-part radio interview:
The only thing that is obvious to be so far is
that there is a whole lot of salesmanship on one side and a near-complete
lack of proof on the other.
With Regards, _____________.
Thanks for your message. I'm afraid your questions are a little
vague, but here goes:
>Now, my first question is... if this is so "obvious"
to you, then why have
>you not been awarded the $50,000 prize? Or did you not realize
>existed? I would assume that your presentation of fact should
>-- and, naturally, the probable thousands of individuals who
>the challenge with the same material. None of them won, I
I don't know what $50,000 prize you refer to.
If you could provide me with a link to it, I'll take a look. But
based on my previous web browsing in this area, I'm guessing the
answer is this: there's a page that claims that there's no law
requiring people to pay income taxes, and it mentions a $50,000
prize, but, if you look closely, you'll see that the prize is
not for showing that there is a law that requires people to pay
income taxes. Instead, the prize is directed to something different,
which would be impossible to do, such as disproving true but irrelevant
statements on the order of "The Constitution limits the powers
>My second question is, have you pursued the
other (more rational, I think)
>arguments against the income tax as per its supposed un-Constitutionality?
>I am fully aware that Congress can essentially pass any law
>regardless of the law of the land (apparently, at least),
but do these
>Supreme Court decisions barring taxation rights of Congress
(I'm sure you
>know of them) truly exist? And so what?
Again, it is impossible to respond to this without
knowing what arguments or cases you're referring to. I respond
to one constitutional argument on my web page: the argument that
the 16th Amendment was never ratified. You can read my response
on my web page.
>I'm just looking into this matter for the first time, and
only because I
>have seen the "evidence" provided from other sources;
this is an attempt on
>my part to find out if there is any substance to any of them.
>Unfortunately, it is difficult to entertain the notion of
a legal income tax
>when it has been refuted by former IRS professionals.
Any large organization, such as the IRS, that
has tens of thousands of employees, will hire a few foolish individuals
who endorse absurd ideas.
>Also, I am concerned
>about the Marcy Brooks account, which -- on her word -- seems
to invoke the
>compelling idea that presenting Article 26 does not prove
what you think it
>does. Again, I am quite new to this subject, and I just find
>fascinating... especially for the lack of reasoned evidence
on either side
>of the argument.
>If you have not heard the Marcy Brooks accounting (a truncated
>presented in America: Freedom to Fascism), here is the link
to a 2-part
I'm sorry, but I don't have time to listen to
Ms. Brooks's account. I tried about 5 minutes of it and she didn't
get to anything of interest.
>The only thing that is obvious to be so far
is that there is a whole lot of
>salesmanship on one side and a near-complete lack of proof
on the other.
I'm not sure which side is which in your last
sentence above, but you might consider these questions: which
side has been upheld in hundreds of court decisions? Which side's
proponents have gone to prison? Take a look at the part of my
web page that responds to the argument "nothing bad ever
happens to tax protestors" for some examples.
What would you accept as proof? If I say that
there is a law requiring the payment of income taxes, and I show
you the law on my web page, and I show that people have gone to
prison for not obeying that law, is that not proof?
Back to top
Hi, I just read your tax page and I am curious of your opinion.
Have you seen Aaron Russo's film America,
Freedom to Fascism? If so what are your thoughts? Are you still
holding to what you state on that page?
Thanks for your message -- it's always nice to hear from people
who have read my web page.
I haven't had time to view the full Russo film that you called
to my attention -- it's nearly two hours -- but I did watch the
first 25 minutes or so, and here are my thoughts.
This film appears to consist of the usual wholly mistaken arguments.
Most of the arguments I saw are already covered on my web page.
The film opens with a brief reference to the 16th Amendment argument.
This is covered
on my web page.
Then, in the part of the film I watched, Russo interviews ordinary
people on the street and asks them if they have ever seen the actual
law that requires them to pay taxes. They all say no (or don't answer).
Well, of course they haven't seen the income tax law. Most people
are not lawyers. Most people have never seen any actual
law. Most people wouldn't know where to look for any actual law
even if they wanted to. And even most lawyers don't spend their
time looking up the actual statutes that we all obey in our everyday
Have you ever seen the actual laws that prohibit murder, robbery,
or arson? I bet if you asked 100 random people whether they have
ever seen these laws, at least 98 of them would say no. Does that
mean that these laws don't exist? Does that mean it's a fraud to
tell people that they can't murder each other or burn down buildings?
Of course not. Whether ordinary people have seen the actual statutes
about anything is irrelevant.
Russo interviews some former IRS agents who have joined the tax
protestor movement. Any big government agency with tens of thousands
of employees will at some point employ some foolish people. The
fact that some former IRS agents are tax protestors is not persuasive.
Some of these former agents say that the IRS has "refused"
to say which laws require people to pay taxes. Russo pursues this
point at length, but it's false. The IRS has specified the relevant
laws in its publication "The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments."
This publication can be viewed on the IRS website. Here's the URL:
If anyone wants more info on this point, it's available on numerous
web pages, including mine.
It may be true that the IRS doesn't do as good a job as it should
of responding to inquiries about this point. If I were in charge
of the IRS I would certainly have a standard form answer that I
sent to everyone who asked to see the laws that require payment
of income taxes. Apparently, if the tax protestors are to be believed,
the IRS doesn't do this. But the answer is on the agency's website
for anyone to see.
Russo also shows some people making arguments that the income tax
is a bad and unnecessary way for the government to raise money.
These are policy arguments that have nothing to do with the legal
question of whether current statutes require the payment of income
Finally, Russo shows interviews with people he refers to as the
"tax experts." I didn't recognize everyone he showed,
but he included Larken Rose and Irwin Schiff. Considering that they
have both been criminally convicted of tax evasion, I think it's
fair to say that they -- and by implication they other people that
Russo interviews -- are not "tax experts." If Russo wants
to interview some people who actually know something about the income
tax code, there are professors available at every law school who
would be happy to speak to him on camera -- heck, I'd be happy to
do it myself.
That's as much of the film as I watched. Judging from the part
I saw, the film appears to be a collection of the usual claptrap.
If there's some specific argument later in the film that you think
is compelling and is not covered on my web page, let me know.
Back to top
Good day Prof. Siegel. My name is ____ _____. I
am a 2L at St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Fl. and
I am taking the time to write you concerning your website (http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/IncomeTax.htm)
I would like to thank you for taking the time to explain this topic
to the general public, as well as to a very grateful law school
student. We have recently read Cheek v. United States in our Crim
Law I section and I had serious questions about the authenticity
about the requirments to pay income tax. As you point out, many
websites and films (most notably Aaron Russo's America: Freedom
to Fascism), make it appear as if our income tax system and the
I.R.S. in general are a fraud committed upon the American people.
As a law student, I felt it my obligation not to take the Prof's
word for it and do my own research into the topic. At first, I must
admit I bought into these arguments, since I was unable to locate
a court decision stating that American's must pay an unapportioned
tax on their labor (income tax.) Similarly, the arguments made by
the 'anti-tax' crowd play upon the language of some Supreme Court
decisions to make it appear as if the Court ruled that the 16th
Amendment granted no new powers upon the Congress to tax the people.
In a way, and please correct me if I am wrong, they are right. Those
ruling did not per se grant Congress a new power to tax, but rather
removed the requirement of apportionment, thereby allowing Congress
to institute the 'income tax'. I wonder Prof., why these ex-IRS
agents and the like have risked their careers and personal reputations
whilst making these actively false and misleading statements to
an otherwise unsuspecting population. In any event sir, please keep
up the outstanding job, and thank you again. P.S. please forgive
the informal nature of this communication. . . . my Legal Writing
Prof. would KILL ME if she saw this thing!
Thanks for your message -- it's always good to
hear from people who have read the material on the website. I'm
glad it was helpful. And you're right about the 16th Amendment --
as you say, it just removed the requirement of apportionment.
Back to top
I'm a Clemson University economics student who
recently stumbled into the Internet's vast resource of "income
tax hoax/fraud" web sites while conducting research for a public
sector class. Allow me to say first that I believe any proper form
of protest would involve first paying my taxes, and then pursuing
any questions of fact. I am dubious of all claims of any factual
nature on the Internet. Nonetheless, I am curious as to the truth
of two claims in particular, and I am hoping you can help clarify
1. The first is that the 16th amendment was falsely
ratified. A gentlemen by the name of Bill Benson claims that he
has investigated the records of state congresses and can show that
the necessary 36 states (of 48 at the time) did not properly ratify
the amendment. I would complete dismiss such a claim if it were
not for the briefs on his site (http://www.thelawthatneverwas.com)
that he claims to have filed in an attempt to establish the facts
2. The second claim is that no agency, including
the IRS, can coerce individuals to file information collection papers
(such as the 1040) because the Paper Reduction Act requires all
government forms to be issued a valid control number by the OMB.
Apparently the IRS 1040 displays an invalid control number. (The
source of this claim was a press release from http://www.givemeliberty.org/RTP2/UPDATES/Update2006-06-09.htm)
I apologize if these requests for clarification
are redundant. I did my best to diligently look through your web
site for any information on these claims but was not able to find
Thanks very much in advance for your time,
Thanks for your message. I will answer the question
about the 16th Amendment on my webpage. It will take a week or so
to prepare the answer. I'll let you know when it's posted.
The other question, I think, is not worth adding to the website.
I haven't investigated the point thoroughly, but I believe the answer
is simply that Form 1040 does have an OMB control number.
You might check out Dan Evans' income tax website, which addresses
the question (although I can't vouch for his answers):
The answer to your 16th Amendment question is now posted.
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Aug. 27, 2006:
Hi Mr. Siegel,
My name is ____ _____ and I am a high school English teacher. Perhaps
it would have been better if I was an social studies teacher. Please
forgive me writing you, but I am very confused about the income tax
myth--because people on both sides seem so adamant and sure of themselves.
If and when you have the time, can you comment on the few paragraphs
The income tax is imposed on the "taxable income"
of individuals in Subchapter A, NOT all income. Only income derived from
taxable activities is what becomes "taxable income" (taxable
"gross income" minus allowable deductions). Therefore, federal
income taxes may be owed on such income. And if you owe federal income
taxes, you are required to pay them whether you like it or not. Required
means that it is mandatory.
But the list of taxable "activities" are located
in the Subchapter N, Section 861 regulations, thousands of pages away
from where the tax is imposed in Subchapter A. ALL individuals with domestic
income (the incomes of most Americans) must go to the Section 861 regulations
to determine if the activities that generate their income are taxable
Section 861 ("Income from sources within the United
States") contains the critical regulation 1.861-8, entitled "Computation
of taxable income from sources within the United States..." It is
in a subsection of this critical regulation (1.861-8(f)(1)) that ALL the
taxable activities are found.
But they are ALL related to international and possessions
commerce (including the domestic income of foreigners, since this is part
of "commerce with foreign nations" or international commerce).
The domestic incomes of residents of the United States (US citizens AND
resident aliens) are NOT shown to be taxable under the Section 861 regulations
(or anywhere else in the law), because Congress cannot tax them. [Foreigners
that live and work in the United States are called "resident aliens."]
Therefore, according to the written law, the domestic
activities of residents of the United States (Americans and resident aliens)
are NOT shown to be taxable, so the domestic income derived from such
activities does not become taxable "gross income."
_____ Comments: People are telling me that this means
that most working Americans don't have to pay federal income taxes. People
like you tell me this is a myth--and of course we have to pay taxes. Is
there any way you can respond to the above paragraphs or explain to me
how & why they are incorrect? I'd appreciate it whenever or if ever
you can find the time to get around to it.
Thanks in advance in any case, and be well & happy,
Thanks for your question. My best answer to it is found
on my website, see here:
Briefly, the point is this: yes, section 861 of the tax
code determines what part of your income is considered to be U.S.-source
income. But if you are a U.S. citizen, then, by virtue of section 61 of
the tax code, you are taxed on all your income regardless of source. Therefore,
for most U.S. citizens, section 861 doesn't matter, because it doesn't
matter whether your income is U.S-source or foreign-source.
The regulation referred to in the paragraphs you quote
just specifies the portions of the tax code for which it *does* matter
what source your income is from. For example, if you claim the foreign
tax credit, then section 861 does matter for you. But most Americans don't
have occasion to claim the foreign tax credit.
I know it can be hard to make out the truth given all
the false information that's out there on the web. But ask yourself this:
if it were really true that most Americans don't owe the income tax, wouldn't
rich people hire lawyers to make that argument? They would save billions!
And even if there is a vast government conspiracy to hide the truth about
the tax code (which is absurd enough already), the conspiracy could never
reach the whole private bar. There are many lawyers who spend their whole
lives exposing government wrongdoing. If they could expose the government
and get rich by proving that people don't have to pay taxes, you can bet
they'd be doing it.
I hope that helps.