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regarding the income tax page

(Names of correspondents omitted)
 
Note: I try to respond to messages regarding the income tax page, but my law professor work keeps me pretty busy, so please understand that it may take me a while to respond.

2-3-16: Note of thanks to you! (Read more)

12-28-15: . . . I am curious if you can show me the Federal Statute and Implementing Regulation that requires everyone to file a 1040 form? . . . (Read more)

10-2-15: I read your piece on paying federal taxes . . . (Read more)

9-0-14: . . . this is why I'm not buying what you're selling . . . (Read more)

4-9-14: . . . which specific law actually makes the average American liable for the income tax[?] . . . (Read more)

1-24-14: . . . I think that you might need to be re educated . . . (Read more)

10-2-13: . . . Could you please locate for me where in the U.S. Constitution it specifies that the people are required to pay such a tax? . . . (Read more)

6-20-13: . . . someone asked me about Section 1.312-6, which contains the phrase "income not taxable by the Federal Government under the Constitution.". . . (Read more)

6-6-13: . . . We make an unwitting election to become liable. That election may be revoked. . . . (Read more)

5-31-13: . . . why did Former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller says the income tax is "voluntary"? . . . (Read more)

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 more)

10-2-12: . . . [N]one of your arguments in favor of taxes justifies the initiation of force and ultimately violence. . . . (Read more)

9-19-12: Show me the law that states I owe taxes on my wages, PLEASE!! (Read more)

9-11-12: . . . How can you possibly follow a law you have never seen? . . . (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. . . . (Read more)

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 more)

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 more)

12-11-08: . . . I’m curious about the constitutionality (and…the ethical nature) of the Federal Reserve . . . (Read more)

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)

10-12-08 . . . yes I have seen the law that says one should not murder, or steal....it's called the Ten Commandments . . . (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 more)

2-8-08: You drank the kool-aid . . . (Read more)

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 more)

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 more)

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 more)

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 more)

 


February 3, 2016:

Subject: Note of thanks to you!

So recently I was drawn into the tax protesters argument that the income tax is unconstitutional. Luckily, even more recently I found your site! Any tax protesters who read your page on income tax myths and go away still believing their nonsense deserve everything they have coming to them!

I'm most impressed with how you keep your cool while being so put down and insulted! I can't believe how condescending some of these obvious high school dropouts can be towards you, an educated man...just plain rude. To have the nerve to tell a LAW professor he needs to be reeducated when you're lucky if you got your GED? Yeah...I can't even...At this point they are just nitpicking at words!

But I have to admit I was quite entertained and learned a lot on the way. I knew it was just too good to be true or the secret would be out and nobody would be paying anymore! So thank you for laying it out like that. For every mentally challenged protester who refuses to understand there's 5 normal people who do get it, so that makes it worthwhile for you to have done. Hope you are enjoying sabbatical!

Sincerely, ________
Syracuse, NY

Reply:

Thanks for your message. It's always good to hear from people who found the website helpful. The website's main purpose is to steer people away from tax protester arguments, so I'm glad you found it.

Regards,

Jon Siegel

 
 

December 28, 2015:

Mr. Siegel, hello, I am curious if you can show me the Federal Statute and Implementing Regulation that requires everyone to file a 1040 form? Also can you tell me why the 1040 form has an OMB number that applies to form 2555 which is a form for Foreign earned income. I'm confused, hopefully you can clarify this situation with the proper statutes and implementing regulations that have been published in the Federal Register. Thank You for your time, _______.

Reply:

Mr. _____,

Section 6011 of the tax code, 26 U.S.C. § 6011, provides: "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."

IRS regulation 1.6012–1(a)(6) provides: "Form 1040 is prescribed for general use in making the return required under this paragraph." This regulation was published in the Federal Register on November 26, 1960. See 25 F.R. 12109.

Thus, Congress, by statute, authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to promulgate regulations establishing the forms for tax returns, and the Secretary's regulation establishes Form 1040.

As to the OMB numbers, I don't know the details of how OMB assigns the numbers, but it appears that OMB has assigned a single number, 1545-0074, to many forms and schedules used by the IRS. That number appears, for example, on Form 1040; Form 1040 Schedules A, B, C and D; and on Forms 2106, 2210, 2441, 2555, 4137, 5695, 6251, 8606, 8880, 8889, 8917, 8949, and 8962 -- and that's not even a comprehensive list. These forms and schedules apply to a wide variety of different tax situations. So I don't think there's any special significance to the fact that the same number appears on Form 1040 and Form 2555.

Jon Siegel


August 2, 2015:

I read your piece on paying federal taxes. In 2003 U.S District court judge James c Scott pointed out that the number of states needed to ratify the 16th amendment to impose the tax were never met. Thus making it unconstitutional.
Sad part is that we pay 35% of our salary to the feds which in turn hand it to the federal reserve that is not even federal owned because international banks own it. Its all handed over to pay the interest on money that was barowed. Not .01 cent is used to fund federal programs thats in the U.S.
Go ask the IRS commissioner your self about a legal passed law stateing we must pay taxes. Joe Turner or Sherri Jackson agents of the IRS will tell you as well. Anything saying you do is wrong because it never ratified to start it.

Reply:

Mr. ______,

I'm afraid you have been picking up your information from unreliable sources. You can't believe everything you read on the Internet. There's a lot of false information out there, and it's important to separate reliable information from nonsense.

The 16th Amendment was properly ratified. Even if it wasn't, the income tax on salaries would still be valid. For full details, please see here.

The notion that all income taxes go to the federal reserve is a myth. The amount of money the government receives from federal income taxes each year greatly exceeds the government's annual interest payments. Moreover, the federal reserve owns only a small percentage of the government's debt. For full details, please see here.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Jon Siegel


September 10, 2014:

Subject: United States v. Peter Hendrickson

Dear Professor Jon (Jonathan) R. Siegel,

with all due respect, this is why I'm not buying what you're selling.

Reply:

Dear Mr. ______,

Thanks for your message. The page that you link has many different arguments on it, and I'm not sure which you are referring to. But here are answers to some of the wrong arguments on that page:

* Definition of "taxpayer": Yes, it's true, Title 26, section 7701, defines "taxpayer" as "any person subject to any internal revenue tax." But sections 1, 61, 63, 6012, and 6151 subject ordinary Americans to the income tax. Therefore, ordinary Americans are "taxpayers" as defined in the code.

* Constitutional power to tax: The page you link cites the wrong provision of Article I, section 8 of the Constitution. Congress's power to tax does not derive from the Seat of Government clause, which the page quotes. It derives from the simple provision of Article I, section 8, that says: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes . . ." That power applies everywhere in the United States, not just in the District of Columbia.

* "Includes": This is the wrong argument most associated with Peter Hendrickson. Yes, there is a provision in the tax code that says that the term "employee" includes federal officials. But it doesn't say it includes only federal officials. The word "include" means "to contain as a part." Section 7701 nails this down by stating 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." So while the code makes clear that the term "employee" includes federal officials, that does not exclude its common meaning of ordinary employees of private companies. This has been established in court hundreds of times, including in Peter Hendrickson's own case, where the court said that Hendrickson's argument that the term "employee" is limited to federal officials was "preposterous." This point is explained in detail here.

* One more wrong point on the page you link is that "Federal Reserve Notes" are "NOT money . . . they are 'Debt' paper." If you think that any Federal Reserve Notes you have are not money, but are only "debt" paper, the solution is simple: send them to me. I will be happy to take any Federal Reserve Notes off your hands if you don't think they are valuable.

Jon Siegel



April 9, 2014:

Professor Siegel,

I write in the hope of obtaining your learned opinion concerning a legal memorandum written by an attorney out of Shreveport, LA. Tommy Cryer is his name and he holds a Juris Doctorate from LSU Law School. Mr. Cryer makes a number of assertions with respect to the inapplicability of the income tax laws to the average American. In the course of my research I came across your article on “Income Tax Myths". I thought when I first read your explanation of the law that it made sense, but after reading and comparing with Mr. Cryer’s memorandum now I am confused.

I know this is asking a lot, but could you take the time to read his explanation of the law and help me to reconcile these issues.

Briefly, Mr. Cryer asserts that the only persons having any specific assignment of liability for the income tax imposed by § 1 are — partners, certain large partnerships, foreign corporations, withholders of taxes on nonresident aliens and foreign corporations and those employers required by Chapter 24 of Subtitle C to withhold taxes on employees. He gives citations for his conclusions.

He further states that the absence, or near absence, of a statutory provision specifying exactly who is liable for a tax imposed is not customary. For example, he points out that 26 U.S.C. §§ 2032A and 2056A specifically state who is liable for the Estate Tax; 26 U.S.C. § 3102(b) specifically states who is liable for the FICA tax;: 26 U.S.C. § 3202 specifically states who is liable for the Railroad Retirement Tax; 26 U.S.C. § 3505 specifically imposes liability for Employment Taxes; 26 U.S.C. §§ 4002 and 4003 specify not only who is primarily liable, but who is secondarily liable for the Luxury Passenger Automobile Excise Tax. See also: 26 U.S.C. §§ 4051 and 4052 (Heavy Trucks and Trailers Excise Tax); 26 U.S.C. § 4071 (Tire Manufacture Excise Tax); 26 U.S.C. § 4219 (Manufacturers Excise Tax); 26 U.S.C. § 4401 (Tax on Wagers); 26 U.S.C. § 4411 (Wagering Occupational Tax); 26 U.S.C. § 4483 (Vehicle Use Tax); 26 U.S.C. § 4611 (Tax on Petroleum); 26 U.S.C. § 4662 (Tax on Chemicals); 26 U.S.C. § 4972 (Tax on Contributions to Qualified Employer Pension Plans); 26 U.S.C. § 4980B (Excise Tax on Failure to Satisfy Continuation Coverage Requirements of Group Health Plans); 26 U.S.C. § 4980D (Excise Tax on Failure to Meet Certain Group Health Plan Requirements); 26 U.S.C. § 4980F (Excise Tax on Failure of Applicable Plans Reducing Benefit Accruals to Satisfy Notice Requirements); 26 U.S.C. § 5005 (Gallonage Tax on Distilled Spirits); 26 U.S.C. § 5043 (Gallonage Tax on Wines); 26 U.S.C. § 5232 (Storage Tax on Imported Distilled Spirits); 26 U.S.C. § 5364 (Tax on Wine Imported in Bulk); 26 U.S.C. § 5418 (Tax on Beer Imported in Bulk); 26 U.S.C. § 5703 (Excise Tax on Manufacture of Tobacco Products); and 26 U.S.C. § 5751 (Tax on Purchase, Receipt, Possession or Sale of Tobacco Products), to name a few.

Ultimately, he asserts that considering the "standard in the drafting of taxation laws industry", particularly in view of the requirement of strict construction, the limitation of liability to those five instances as mentioned above, the absence of any specific assignment of liability cannot be assumed to have been an oversight in this instance, and that the only persons actually liable are those specifically named as liable, just as in any other tax provision.

This argument resonates with a strong degree of logic and reason and therefore leaves me in a quandry considering your position.

Again I know my request presumes a lot from you, but would you favor me by briefly researching this memorandum and help me in reaching a better understanding of which specific law actually makes the average American liable for the income tax, by possibly pointing out the error in Mr. Cryer’s reasoning. Here is a link to his Memo.

Thank you , ____________.

Reply:

Mr. _______,

Thanks for your message. The answer to Mr. Cryer's argument is discussed on my webpage here.

It is true that the Internal Revenue Code does not use the word "liable" in describing who must pay income tax. But Congress expressed the same point using different words. Section 6151 of the Code states that whoever is required to file an income tax return "shall pay" the tax. That language makes clear that paying the tax is required for anyone who is required to file a return. Section 6012 requires you to file a return if you have more income than the exemption amount plus the basic standard deduction. So if you have more income than that, then section 6012 requires you to file a return, which means that section 6151 requires you to pay the tax.

There is no rule that says that Congress must use a particular word in passing a statute. The English language provides many synonyms and many different ways of saying the same thing. Congress chose to express the point that individuals have to pay income taxes by saying that anyone who is required to file a return "shall pay" the tax. That expresses the point perfectly clearly. There is no requirement that Congress use the particular word "liable" to tell people to pay income taxes. Mr. Cryer just made that up.

Mr. Cryer died in 2012. At the time of his death, he was in litigation with the IRS over his own income tax liability. After his death, the IRS won the case. You can see the decision here. The decision makes clear that Mr. Cryer was "liable," not only for income tax, but for additional penalties for not paying when he was supposed to.

Jon Siegel

 
 

January 24, 2014:

I am just a regular joe and i came across you're web site.... I think that you might need to be re educated on the simple fact of the matter. It is simple. The 16th amendment states that there are two types of taxes... Direct and indirect. A Direct tax must be apportioned.. The income tax is a direct tax that is not apportioned as the constitution demands. Does this mean that the IRS can just make up a third type of tax? Ok so you're website states that the reason you must pay income tax is because of the IRS tax code... Does the IRS tax code supersede the United States Constitution? Also after 8 supreme court rulings where the defendant vs IRS was proven innocent, does this mean that the IRS can supercede the law of the land and the Supreme Court? No it does not and if you would like me to provide you with more examples I will be glad!

Reply:

Thanks for your message. Actually, the 16th Amendment says nothing about "direct" v. "indirect" taxes. You are thinking of the original Constitution, which does draw a distinction between "direct" and other taxes, and which does require that direct taxes be apportioned.

However, (1) the 16th Amendment provides that income taxes can be imposed without apportionment, so after the 16th Amendment it no longer matters whether income taxes are direct or not, and (2) in any event, the Supreme Court has held that the only taxes that are "direct" taxes are real estate taxes and capitation taxes (i.e. taxes where every person has to pay a fixed amount regardless of income or wealth). The Supreme Court has held that income taxes are not direct taxes, but rather an "excise" or "duty." So income taxes do not have to be apportioned. For more details, see here and here.

Jon Siegel

I am sorry, yes i was speaking in regards to the Constitution, the one and only Constitution! There is no law that states you must file a 1040! When the IRS is presented with this same question... Show the law that states you must file and pay income tax.... They dance around the question and can not present any evidence of any such law. Where does the money that we pay in income taxes go? To pay for education and roads and things like that? NOPE!!! That money goes to pay off the interest of the National debt. In conclusion... There is no law that requires the average American worker in the private sector to pay a direct unapportioned tax on their labor in compensation for services. END OF STORY
Actually, there is a law that requires the average American worker to pay income taxes on their wages. You can see that law on my webpage here. The law that requires people to use the official forms such as Form 1040 is explained on my webpage here. The IRS does not dance around on this topic -- it displays the law requiring people to file and pay taxes on its own website here. And it is not at all true that income taxes go only to pay interest on the national debt. The income tax takes in far more money than the federal government pays in interest on the national debt, as is explained here.

I suspect that you have been getting your information from unreliable Internet sources. Unfortunately, the Internet contains a great deal of utterly wrong information about the income tax. You should trust the universal consensus of expert opinion on this topic. For details on why you should trust the experts on this topic, please see here.

Jon Siegel


October 2, 2013:

Hello,
My name is ______ and I have recently been researching the matters of Income Tax Returns. Could you please locate for me where in the U.S. Constitution it specifies that the people are required to pay such a tax? The 16th Amendment perhaps? However, wasn't that amendment passed illegitimately? Please specify... Thank you. -______

Reply:

_______, Thanks for your message. The Constitution does not, by itself, require anyone to pay income tax. However, the Constitution does empower the U.S. Congress to pass a law that requires people to pay income tax. Article I, section 8 of the Constitution provides that Congress has the power to "lay and collect taxes." The 16th Amendment later made clear that Congress can impose an income tax without having to satisfy the "apportionment" requirement that, under the Constitution, applies to "direct" taxes.

So the Constitution does not itself impose an income tax, but it empowers Congress to impose one. Congress exercised this power by passing a law requiring people to pay income tax. That law can be found in Title 26 of the United States Code. Key provisions of the law can be found on my website here.

With regard to whether the 16th Amendment was properly adopted, please see here.

Jon Siegel


June 20, 2013:

Professor Siegel,

I'm a big fan of your tax site and have done some writing to debunk the tax-denial lobby. Last night someone asked me about Section 1.312-6, which contains the phrase "income not taxable by the Federal Government under the Constitution." I'm unable to find a discussion online about its meaning or what falls into that category. Can you point me to something?

Thanks very much

Regards, ________

Reply:

Thanks for your message -- always nice to hear from a fan.

Was this person Larken Rose, by any chance? I had a long debate with him on this topic.

This phrase, which appears in the tax regulations (not the statute) has a history. As far as I have been able to verify, the first precursor of this phrase appeared in Treasury regulations in 1919. (Larken Rose says it appeared as early as 1916, which would make some difference, but he's never verified that for me.) In 1919, the regulation said "Gross income excludes the items of income specifically exempted by the statute and also certain other kinds of income by statute or fundamental law free from tax." The wording was changed later and "fundamental law" was replaced by "the Constitution."

So what does it mean? There are a few possibilities:

* It could be a reference to the holding in Eisner v. Macomber, 252 U.S. 189 (1920), that "stock dividends" (i.e., dividends that take the form of additional stock, not cash) are not "income" within the meaning of the Constitution, because they just slice up the same corporate pie into more slices, and each stockholder ends up owning the same percentage of the corporation as before the dividend. The Supreme Court didn't decide the case until 1920, but the district court decided it in early 1919, so the regulation could have been inspired by it, assuming the regulation first appeared in 1919, as I believe. (Rose pointed out that the Court held that stock dividends are not income at all, rather than that they are income, but not constitutionally taxable. That's true. But one could imagine that the regulation elided this distinction.)

* It could be a reference to the old doctrine of "intergovernmental tax immunity," under which the federal government could not constitutionally tax certain income derived from states.

* It could be an anticipation of the holding in Evans v. Gore, 253 U.S. 245 (1920), that the income of federal judges is not constitutionally taxable. (This case was later overruled.) This case wasn't decided, even by a district court, until December 1919, but the Treasury Department would have known that it was pending.

It's hard to tell from this distance in time exactly what the phrase referred to. The Federal Register, which provides some more information about regulations, didn't get started until 1936. The first Federal Register notice in which the regulation appears, 1 Fed. Reg. 1802 (1936), contains references to the first two points listed above. See id. at 1815, 1842.

So my best guess is that the regulation got started because of one or more of the reasons listed above and today persists because there's no reason to change it, even though some of the points listed above aren't good law today. It certainly remains true that if a form of income is exempt from taxation by virtue of the Constitution, then Congress can't tax it. So there's no harm in saying so, even though there is hardly anything (if there is anything at all) to which that statement might apply.

Best regards,

Jon

Jon,

This is very helpful. When you write,

"It certainly remains true that if a form of income is exempt from taxation by virtue of the Constitution, then Congress can't tax it. So there's no harm in saying so, even though there is hardly anything (if there is anything at all) to which that statement might apply."

you echo my thoughts. I couldn't recall there being income specified as tax-exempt in the Constitution, unless we count income from exports, which may not be subject to duties. (But I don't think income is what the framers had in mind here.)

It's amazing that the tax-deniers want to read something significant into that phrase.

By the way, it wasn't Larken Rose or any other famous denier who asked me about the section.

Thanks, also, for clarifying that the phrase is in the regs, not the code. I wondered why I couldn't find it in the code.

Best regards, _______


June 6, 2013:

Hello there-
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:

http://stopfedtaxliens.com/revoke.html

I only send you this because I think more people need to rely h sees fans the mechanism by which one become liable.

Regards,________
GWU Class of 2007

[The writer is a painter who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from George Washington University.]

Reply:

_______, 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 nonsense.

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 probably is.

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.

Jon Siegel


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, _____.

Reply:

Yes, that's a little confusing, I agree. For a detailed explanation, please see here.

Jon Siegel

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.

Jon Siegel


April 18, 2013:

Hello,

I've never done anything like this so I'll try to be as clear as possible.

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 website. 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?

Honest?

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 grateful.

Reply:

_____, 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 live.

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 is.

Jon Siegel


October 22, 2012:

Hi Jonathan,

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;
(4) Interest;
(5) Rents;
(6) Royalties
(7) Dividends;

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 labor.

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!

Best, ___________.

Reply:

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 explanations.

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 from labor.

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!

Jon Siegel


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, _________.

Reply:

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 otherwise.

Jon Siegel


September 19, 2012:

Show me the law that states I owe taxes on my wages, PLEASE!!

 

Reply:

Sure, here you go:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/JustNoLaw.htm

For more info, see here:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/wages.htm

Jon Siegel

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:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/JustNoLaw.htm
http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/wages.htm

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:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/cases.htm . . .

Jon Siegel

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 about.

Jon Siegel

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.
You're welcome!

September 11, 2012:

I will not argue whether income taxes are legal or not. I do not care. The constitution does not have my signature on it and it is void for vagueness, so the 16th amendment does not matter. That's a different debate, however, I would love to have that debate with a law professor.

I am going to dissect a number of your comments. Most people would get quite irritated with me, but you're a law professor so I expect that you have the capacity for precise language.

. . . [This correspondent commented on several points made on my website, concluding with this one:]

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 lives.

How can you possibly follow a law you have never seen? I recently got a ticket for an "unsafe lane change". I of course had never seen the law. Would it not be safer for me to never leave my house? Any time I drive my car, don't I reduce the safety of all others driving?

Reply:

Sorry, I'm kind of busy right now so I don't have time to go through your message point by point, but let me address your question, "How can you possibly follow a law you have never seen?"

People constantly follow laws they have never seen. I'm sure you do this all the time. Have you looked up the arson law for the state in which you live? Probably not. But you don't burn down buildings, do you? You are following a law you have never seen.

There are two ways to follow a law you have never seen:

1. Rely on general social understandings. Even though the vast majority of people have never seen any statutory law, they know that it is illegal to steal, kill people, or burn down buildings. Society transmits this information to people in numerous ways. Most people rely on the general social understanding of what is legal and what is not.

2. Rely on expert advice. If you haven't seen a law, you can still follow it by relying on an expert's account of what the law says. This is how people obey the tax law. The vast majority of people have never seen the law, but many experts have seen it, including experts at the IRS. The experts explain the law in tax forms and publications, privately published books and websites, and in software such as Turbo Tax. People follow the law, even though they haven't seen it, by relying on the experts' advice.

So that's how you can follow a law you have never seen.

Jon Siegel

 

July12, 2012:

Dear Professor Siegel,

http://www.suethefed.com/why-sue-the-federal-reserve

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.
Sincerely, _________

Reply:

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 U.S. Treasury.

* 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 it.

Here are some useful links:

http://www.federalreserve.gov/pf/pdf/pf_complete.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve_System
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/biggest-holders-of-us-gov-t-debt.html

Jon Siegel


May 10, 2012:

Jon,

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 with…

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 abetting" agents…

Reply:

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.

Jon Siegel


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:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/JustNoLaw.htm

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.

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.).

Jon Siegel


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.

Reply:

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 and 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 and 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.

Jon Siegel

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:

Mr. Siegel,

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 here.]

Reply:

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 later.

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 later.

Jon Siegel


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 influence?


I'm anxiously awaiting for your reply!

Reply:

Thanks for your message. Answers below.

> Please answer me these simple questions.
> 1. Define for me the terms authoritarianism and
> democracy?

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
> authoritarian?

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.

Jon Siegel


September 23, 2009:

Dr. Siegel,

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 hobby.

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).

 

Reply:

Mr. ______,

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:

http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/3616/FedReserveFacts.html

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:

http://www.federalreserve.gov/pf/pf.htm

It's very good, but not exactly a quick read!

Thanks again,

Jon Siegel


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 classroom.

_________
Burbank, CA

[A copy of this message was sent to GWU's Assistant Vice President for Faculty Recruitment & Personnel Relations.]

Reply:

Mr. ______,

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 theories.

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 issue.

For a detailed discussion of why wages are income for income tax purposes, please see this page.

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 page.

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 page.

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 page.

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.

Jon Siegel


July 1, 2009:

Dr. Siegel,

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, _________.

Reply:

Mr. __________,

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 provides:

"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 your return.

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).

Jon Siegel

 
 

June 19, 2009:

Professor Siegel

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, __________

Reply:

Mr. _______,

Thanks for your message. It's always good to hear from someone who liked the web pages, and I particularly appreciate your kind remarks.

Jon Siegel


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!

Reply:

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 and here.

Jon Siegel


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.

Reply:

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 you work?

Look, no one is required to like the income tax, but it is a waste of time to pretend that it doesn't exist.

Jon Siegel

 

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.

Reply:

_____,

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
> voluntary.

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 (second point):

> 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 penalties.

> I thank you for your time and hope to hear back from
> you. I look forward to you responce.

Jon Siegel

 

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 to me.

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.

Reply:

Mr. ______,

Thanks for your message and for your kind words. Some comments:

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 and companies.

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,

Jon Siegel


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?

Reply:

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.

Jon Siegel

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

Reply:

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 benefits.

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 controls.

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.

Jon Siegel


October 12, 2008:

[Note: The following message responds to my commentary on Aaron Russo's movie, "America: From Freedom to Fascism," which can be found here.]

I do not intend to hire Mr. Russo as an attorney anytime soon, however, I don't think I would hire you either....

What You wrote:

In an introductory segment, 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 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 lives.

Have you ever seen the actual, written laws that prohibit murder, robbery, or arson? I bet if you asked 100 random people whether they have ever seen these laws, at least 99 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. All that matters is whether the statutes exist, and the tax statutes do:

To answer your question, yes I have seen the law that says one should not murder, or steal....it's called the Ten Commandments. It has been around much longer than the so called "laws of the United States of America". I do believe regardless of one's beliefs, it was Christianity to which this country was based upon when the founding fathers wrote the precious documents to which this country is supposed to adhere to today.....obviously we do not.

Is it so common for people to relate such laws as murder or robbery, to that of tax laws...? One would think that as a simple human being, it is common sense as a humanitarian not to murder or steal....I don't see anything humanitarian about taxes.

Reply:

Thanks for your message. I'm afraid you are mistaken. The Ten Commandments are not laws within the U.S. legal system. The U.S. legal system distinguishes between religious and secular law. Religious commandments such as the Ten Commandments are not enforceable laws. If they were, it would, for example, be illegal to worship idols or to covet your neighbor's possessions. But these things are not illegal. Indeed, worshipping idols is a constitutionally protected right for someone who does it out of religious faith.

So the fact that something is forbidden in the Ten Commandments does not show whether it is actually illegal. Murder and theft are illegal, not because of the Ten Commandments, but because state legislatures have passed laws prohibiting them.

Mr. Russo was trying to prove that income tax laws do not exist by showing that most Americans have not seen the written laws that require payment of income taxes. This argument is fallacious, because in fact most Americans have not seen the written laws about anything, including basic laws such as the law against murder, theft, or arson. Your suggestion that you have seen these laws because you have read the Ten Commandments merely confirms that you have not seen the written, enforceable laws that actual prohibit murder, theft, or arson in the place where you live. Yet I presume you believe that these laws exist and that you obey these laws.

The point, therefore, is that one does not have to see the actual, written laws about anything in order to believe the laws exist and to obey these laws. Most people do not look up actual laws. Instead, they trust experts to read the actual laws and to provide the public with proper information about what the laws say. If you would like to look up the tax laws yourself, go right ahead; they are on my web pages. But if you are content to believe the experts who tell you that it is illegal to murder, steal, or exceed the speed limit, you should equally trust the experts who have determined that the laws require you to pay your taxes.

Jon Siegel


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 is liable?

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 that.

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 activities.

(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.

Good luck.

[No signature, but the e-mail header said the message was from "Crouching Lesbian"]

Reply:

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 not.

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,

Jon Siegel

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 1 U.S.C. §204 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.

Without prejudice,
D.
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.

Regards,
D

PS; patiently awaiting proof that IRC and SSA are indeed positive law.

Crouching Lesbian,

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,

Jon Siegel


August 5, 2008:

Jonathan,

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 your reply.

Sincerely, ____________

Reply:

Mr. ____________,

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.

Jon Siegel

 

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 and extortion?

Reply:

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

Wow.

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 a sham.

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, ____.

Reply:

____, 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 filing returns.

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.

Jon Siegel


January 12, 2008:

Dear Sir:

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 barons???

Reply:

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:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/16th.htm
http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/16thb.htm

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 arguments:

http://evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.html

Jon Siegel


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, _____________.

Reply:

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.

Jon Siegel

 

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.

Sincerely, _________

Reply:

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:

Greetings,

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 life.

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, ______.

Reply:

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.

Jon Siegel

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 doing so.

Thanks once again for all your help, and I hope you have a great school year!


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, ______.

Reply:

_____, 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 cases.

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.

Jon Siegel

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, _____.

Reply:

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 are lies.

>> 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 question.

Jon Siegel

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.

Reply:

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.

Jon Siegel


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.

Reply:

Mr. _____,

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:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/wages.htm

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.

Jon Siegel

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.

fyi

Reply:

Mr. ______,

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.

Jon Siegel


May 3, 2007:

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!
“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, _____.

Reply:

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 was decided"

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:

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. 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.

Reply:

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 very likely.

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.

http://www.gcstation.net/liefreezone/#stake

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 even you.

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.

Reply:

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 be 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 offer.

* 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 here...
www.losthorizons.com
All the best,
_______

Reply:

Thanks for your message. If, as you say, everything I say on my website is correct, then you do have income:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/wages.htm

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.

Jon Siegel


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.

Reply:

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.

Reply:

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 tax law.

Reply:

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

Reply:

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 taxes.

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! _________, Franconia, NH

Reply:

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?

Sincerely, ___________.

Reply:

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:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/JustNoLaw.htm

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, ________.

Reply:

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.]

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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

Reply:

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 to hear.

And by the way, I agree that government officials should courteously show the tax laws to anyone who asks to see them.


January 24, 2007:

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?

Reply:

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 the PRA.


January 24, 2007:

In your correspondences about the income tax you stated...."Have you ever seen the actual laws that prohibit murder, robbery, or arson?"

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 tax.

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.

Reply:

Thanks for your message.

>In your correspondences about the income tax you stated...."Have you
>ever seen the actual laws that prohibit murder, robbery, or arson?"
>
>I can say that YES I have seen these laws and are often cited in
>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 minority.

>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 tax.

Well, the statutes are right on my web page:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/JustNoLaw.htm

Please take a look.

>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.

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.]

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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:

http://www.petermacshow.com/content/view/165/34/

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, _____________.

Reply:

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 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.

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 of Congress."

>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?

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 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:
>
>http://www.petermacshow.com/content/view/165/34/

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?

Regards,

Jon Siegel

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Nov. 21, 2006:

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?

Sincerely, _____.

Reply:

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 lives.

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:

http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/article/0,,id=159932,00.html#_Toc139431515

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 taxes.

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.

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Sept. 15, 2006:

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!

Reply:

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.

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Sept. 6, 2006:

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. 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 them:

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 concerning ratification.

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 anything.

Thanks very much in advance for your time,

_____ _____.

Reply:

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):

http://evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.html

Reply 2:

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 below:

...................................

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 or not.

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,

_____

Reply:

Thanks for your question. My best answer to it is found on my website, see here:

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/861.htm

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.