Talk:Tax protester statutory arguments

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Former good article nominee Tax protester statutory arguments was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
March 30, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed

Rhetorical question[edit]

How can any discussion of the topic of the income tax qualify as neutral when everyone even questioning the validity and application of the income tax is labeled a "protester." Many people in the "Tax Honesty Movement" have been prosecuted and used as examples by the Justice department as examples to discourage other people from questioning the validity or application of the tax laws just for asking questions. Would an unbiased representation of someone asking questions be labeled a "Protester?" No "Neutral" representation would apply that label. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dtraub (talkcontribs) 12:53, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Dear user Dtraub: I'm not sure exactly what you're driving at, but I'll try to respond.
A Wikipedia article is neutral when it conforms to the Wikipedia rule on Neutral Point of View. The question of the government's treatment of tax protesters -- or people who are called tax protesters -- is a separate issue.
You might be more or less correct that the legal term term "tax protester" -- which indeed has strong negative connotations in the United States when used to describe people who make legally frivolous arguments about the validity of tax law -- is, in that sense, "non-neutral." The term is, however, a legal term, and is used in court in formal legal determinations. For what it's worth, there is no requirement that the legal system use "neutral terms."
I would like to point out that the government does not discourage all people who question the validity or application of the tax laws in the broadest sense. Indeed, we have an entire portion of the legal system devoted to resolving disputes between the Internal Revenue Service and the taxpayer, including disputes over the validity or application of the tax laws. This system is called the court system. Indeed, the label of "tax protester" is applied only in a small minority of court cases. Sometimes the court rules in favor of the tax collector, and other times in favor of the taxpayer. The United States Supreme Court has even unanimously ruled at least one particular tax to be unconstitutional within the past 20 years or so. It was a harbor maintenance tax, not the income tax -- but that's a separate story.
Regarding Wikipedia itself, there is also no requirement that sources of material in Wikipedia be neutral or unbiased. Wikipedia articles can be and are full of statements from sources that are "biased" and "non-neutral." As odd as it may first seem, the rule on Neutral Point of View does not require that Wikipedia articles eliminate biased points of view by reliable, previously published third party sources. What the rule prohibits is Wikipedia editors inserting their own biased opinions (sometimes in the form of unsourced "original research" by the editor) into Wikipedia articles.
Perhaps if you could be a bit more specific, I and other editors can tailor our responses. Specifically, (1) what specific language (if any) in the article do you believe violates a Wikipedia policy or guideline, and (2) what is the policy or guideline involved? Famspear (talk) 15:22, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
By the way, "tax honesty movement" is a neologism coined by tax protesters themselves. It was coined by tax protesters to try to avoid the negative connotation of the legal term "tax protester." From time to time we have had various people sympathetic to tax protesters even try to argue that Wikipedia should not use the term "tax protester," but should instead use "tax honesty movement." That is unacceptable.
"Tax protester" is the formal legal term, and Wikipedia is not going to suppress the use of that term in articles on tax protesters, etc., and replace it with "tax honesty movement". You might want to read up on the history of how the term "tax protester" -- originally a neutral term -- came to have such a negative connotation.
Also, reputable tax practitioners file "protests" on behalf of honest taxpayers all the time. (In Federal income tax law, for example, a "protest" is a formal document filed by a CPA, attorney or other practitioner after the IRS issues what's called a "30 day letter".) The term "protest" in tax law thus retains its separate, non-negative meaning. All this is covered in the applicable article. Yours, Famspear (talk) 15:29, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
By the way, contrary to your assertion, no one in the so-called "tax honesty movement" has ever been been prosecuted as examples to discourage other people from questioning the validity or application of the tax laws -- or just for asking questions. That has never happened. Not even once.
Indeed, there is no law against merely "questioning the validity" of the tax law, and there is no law against merely "asking questions." The Internal Revenue Service even has specific forms (sometimes informally called "red flag" forms) to be included in Federal income tax returns where the taxpayer is taking a position that might be contrary to an official Treasury regulation (Form 8275-R), or where the taxpayer is taking a position where the tax law is uncertain (Form 8275). Including one of these forms in a tax return supposedly increases your likelihood of an audit.
I have prepared literally hundreds and hundreds of these kinds of returns for corporate, partnership, trust, estate, and individual taxpayers -- showing non-frivolous, non-tax protester positions taken by taxpayers (I happen to be preparing such a return today). In some of these cases, the taxpayer's positions are indeed contrary to an official IRS position on the law.
In over 20 years of practice, I have never even once seen the Internal Revenue Service try to impose a penalty for a taxpayer argument or position taken on one of these returns -- much less see the IRS ever label my clients as "tax protesters." Also, after the 1998 law change, the IRS itself no longer formally uses the term "tax protester" -- although the Department of Justice and the courts and everyone else still does. Of course, the IRS can still impose the monetary penalties if you take a legally frivolous position on a tax return -- and the IRS publishes a pretty long list of arguments that are legally frivolous, under section 6702 of the Code.
There is a big difference between taking a position contrary to what the IRS argues the law is and taking a position that is legally frivolous (a tax protester argument). If every position contrary to the IRS position and every "questioning" of the IRS position were a frivolous position, then taxpayers wouldn't need attorneys and CPAs, and I would be out of a job -- which I am not. Yours, Famspear (talk) 17:47, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Request for comment[edit]

A request for comment has been opened on the general topic of tax protester theories, and whether the articles that address them are NPOV. bd2412 T 18:06, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Talk:Tax protester/Request for comment reminder[edit]

Just a reminder that I have proposed to call for a conclusion to this discussion on tax protester rhetoric on February 6. If anyone has anything more to add to the discussion, speak now! bd2412 T 16:57, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Request for comment at Talk:Tax protester statutory arguments[edit]

Dear editors: A user called “Ram2006” has begun inserting material in the article Internal Revenue Code to the effect that the “title 26” version of the Internal Revenue Code (as opposed to the 1954/1986 Internal Revenue Code as amended) is non-positive law. While it is of course technically correct to say that “title 26” itself is “non-positive law,” the effect of the edit appears to me to be the beginnings of another tax protester rant about the Internal Revenue Code itself not being “the law” or not being “positive law” which of course (in the minds of tax protesters) leads to “there’s no law that makes me liable for income tax.” The positive law/non-positive law tax protester argument is already covered at length in Tax protester statutory arguments. I have reverted Ram2006’s material in Internal Revenue Code a couple of times, but he or she has responded with personal attacks, and insists on re-inserting his/her material.

I have now inserted some verbiage in Tax protester statutory arguments that explicitly states what Ram2006 is stating: that “title 26” is indeed “non-positive law” (a true statement, but it doesn’t mean what the tax protesters think it means, of course). I have added this new verbiage right before the verbiage that explains that the “Internal Revenue Code” itself (not the version published as “title 26,” but the actual 1954/1986 Code, as amended, as scattered throughout the many, many volumes of the United States Statutes at Large published since 1954 is “positive law,” and is of course “the law” enacted by actual Acts of Congress.

I have pointed out to Ram2006 that this topic is already covered at Tax protester statutory arguments, to no avail.

I would like to ask fellow editors for clarification on the following points.

1. Are Ram2006’s edits considered to be insertion of tax protester rhetoric for purposes of Talk:Tax protester/Request for comment?

2. If yes, then under the consensus that such edits be “reverted on sight” per Talk:Tax protester/Request for comment, at what point -- if any – could his/her repeated attempts to re-insert the edits be considered vandalism, such that his edits can be disposed of without regard to the three-revert rule? In other words, to what extent, if any, does the three-revert rule apply (or not apply) here?

At any rate, I think that if Ram2006’s edits are allowed to stand, then we are going to have to add balance to Internal Revenue Code article by copying much of the same material shown at Tax protester statutory arguments – defeating the purpose for which the tax protester related articles were created. I would argue that all the material on title 26 as “non-positive law” should go with the related material at Tax protester statutory arguments and not at Internal Revenue Code.

Thoughts? Yours, Famspear (talk) 02:02, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Ram2006 needs to explain what he is trying to convey with the inserted information. If this is a statutory argument (which I see as the only point of including such a statement), then it would seem to belong in the statutory argument article, which it already is. I'm also troubled by the attacks. It does appear that #1 is what is being included, but further explanation would be nice (although by the language presented in the talk, it certainly sounds like it). I'd say for now that we should try to follow 3rr (since enough people are watching it). If there is no discussion by Ram2006 to properly work through the dispute and abide by the consensus, then we can move to the next level and consider it vandalism. Morphh (talk) 3:25, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
I made the following response to Ram 2006 on the IRC page:
The statement that "some one has something to hide and that gives me a hint that the Title 26 is indeed illegal and the IRS cannot collect income taxes base on that" is crazy talk, and is exactly the sort of nonsense that we do not allow in Wikipedia articles, any more than we would entertain an argument that bigfoot shot JFK. Allow me to set your mind at ease about the status of the law, because the distinction you raise is meaningless. See United States Code: List of Positive Law Titles With Enacting Cites and Location to Revision Notes, Compiled by Richard J. McKinney, Assistant Law Librarian, Federal Reserve Board, Prepared for a November 9, 2004, program of the Legislative Research Special Interest Section of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C., Inc.; Last revised in October 2006:

Positive law titles of the United States Code, indicated by an asterisk, are legal evidence of the law and need no further authoritative citation as prior acts concerning those titles have been repealed. Other titles to the U.S. Code are "prima facie" evidence of the law (1 USC §204), and are presumed to be the law, but are rebuttable by production of prior unrepealed acts of Congress at variance with the Code. About half the titles of the Code have been revised, codified and enacted into positive law. The enacting terms used in this list under each positive law title are taken from the enacting clauses themselves. Historical and revision notes which explain derivations to each revised section, as well as editorial and non-substantive changes to them, are frequently set out after each section of a positive law title and are taken from committee reports (usually from the House Judiciary Committee) which accompany the legislation. The committee report number and where else it can be found is also set out.
Title 26 Internal Revenue Code; and Appendix.

Although Title 26 has not been enacted, the Internal Revenue Code has been (in 1939 and 1954) and is laid out exactly like Title 26. See act of Feb. 10, 1939, ch. 2, 53 Stat. 1; and act of Aug. 16, 1954, ch. 736, 68A Stat. 3. The Tax Reform Act of 1986, Pub. L. 99-514, §2, renamed the Code as the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, but did not make wholesale changes to it. There are no historical and revision notes and amendment notes only go back to 1954 as if it were a positive law title. The Appendix to title 26 consists of the rules and procedures of the U.S. Tax Court.

    • In other words, there is no conspiracy, no enforcement of "illegal law". What we have is a set of laws individually enacted by Congress, but (like most laws in this country) not enacted all at once as an entire title. That's fine, since there is no requirement in the U.S. Constitution (or in any statute) that says that only entire titles are enforceable as laws. As it turns out, Congress enacted the Internal Revenue Code, and then the book-keepers who arrange enacted laws into a searchable index added the title number (a common practice). But "Title 26" reflects exactly the law which a majority of the House of Representatives and a majority of the U.S. Senate voted in favor of, and which the President signed into law, both in 1939 and in 1954. bd2412 T 05:43, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Break out the 861 argument[edit]

Given the size of this page, I think now is the time to break out the information on the 861 argument into a separate article. Any thoughts on that? bd2412 T 06:30, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. Famspear (talk) 18:16, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Or, should we made the PRA/OMB control number argument section a separate article, and keep the 861 stuff here for now????? Famspear (talk) 18:45, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Maybe make both separate - this article is very long right now, and frankly I think the 861 argument is independently a very interesting topic (and probably can be expanded more). Cheers! bd2412 T 20:44, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I like that idea (making two new articles). Famspear (talk) 21:29, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Tax protester text dumps removed[edit]

Dear user at IP69.181.208.167: You may not have realized it, but the material you added is tax protester rhetoric. As explained below, it is blatantly false, it was copied from elsewhere on the internet, it has already been pasted into Wikipedia before (and exposed as being false), and it was removed.

First, the losthorizons web site that you mentioned is run by someone named Peter E. Hendrickson. He is neither a lawyer nor a CPA. He is an ex-con who served time in federal prison several years ago for failure to file a federal tax return, and for conspiracy to place a firebomb at a U.S. postal facility in an incident where a postal worker was injured. I study postings to Hendrickson's losthorizons web site almost every day. Hendrickson apparently developed his Cracking the Code tax protester nonsense after being released from prison. Hendrickson's Cracking the Code theory (which involves the filing of false tax refund claims) didn't even work for him; he lost his own tax case last year, when the federal court ruled that the tax refunds or credits he received using the Cracking the Code theory had been issued to him erroneously.

Further, he is under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. He went to court to block IRS administrative summonses issued in the investigation, and failed in that attempt. His tax protester theory has never worked for anyone else in court either. Not even once. The courts have rejected his theory every single time. I can give you a list of the court rulings if you like. Hendrickson is under a court order that prohibits him from ever using his own theory on his own tax return again.

The "assetpro" web site and the related site, "," are also notorious tax protester web sites that are well known to law enforcement. (I myself am not in law enforcement and I don't work for the government, but I have studied tax protesters for years.)

The material on the Lawrence case that you inserted has already been inserted and removed many times in Wikipedia. It's fake -- something that you copied and pasted from elsewhere on the internet. I have access to the actual court docket in the case. The PRA defense, or OMB control number defense, did not work for Mr. Lawrence (see below), and it has never worked for anyone else.

Also, Oscar Stilley, the lawyer you mentioned in the Lawrence case (and I realize it wasn't your own words, but rather just material you copied and pasted), is notorious among people who study tax protesters. I don't know what his current legal status is, but at one point his attorney's license was suspended for six months by the Arkansas Supreme Court. See [1]. The claim that Oscar Stilley's PRA defense for Robert Lawrence "checkmated" the government is false.

All you have to do is review the actual court record. The IRS agents who had calculated Mr. Lawrence's tax liability discovered errors they themselves had made -- based on information obtained from Lawrence's own tax returns, regarding the taxpayer's tax basis in certain property Lawrence had sold. (Tax basis is basically the amount that you paid for something, subject to certain adjustments. The amount realized on a sale less your tax basis amount equals your gain. If the tax basis amount exceeds the amount realized, then you have a loss.) With respect to certain properties the taxpayer had sold, the IRS agents discovered that he had more tax basis than they had originally calculated -- therefore, lower gains or even losses, and thus lower taxes. The IRS agents themselves brought their errors to the attention of the government lawyers, who then asked that the charges be dropped (and they were). The IRS employees recognized that their calculations had incorrectly Lawrence's tax liability.

Now, Mr. Lawrence subsequently tried unsuccessfully to raise the same OMB control number argument when he appealed the case after it was dismissed. Now, you may ask, why did he appeal, when the charges had been dropped?

Well, after the criminal prosecution was dropped (at the request of the government), Lawrence asked the court to order the government to reimburse him for his legal fees. The court ruled against him on that.

He then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit -- to try to obtain a reversal of the trial court's refusal to order the government to compensate him for the legal fees he had incurred. At the Court of Appeals, Lawrence contended that he should be reimbursed because the government's conduct against him had been "vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith." Part of his argument on appeal implicated his use of the PRA/OMB control number argument -- the argument that tax protesters falsely imply he somehow "won" in his case.

Here's what actually happened. In March of 2007 the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected the OMB argument made by Lawrence. The Court also rejected his request for reimbursement for the legal fees he incurred. The following is an excerpt from the Court's decision:

According to Lawrence, the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) required the Internal Revenue Service to display valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) numbers on its Form 1040 [ . . . ]. Lawrence argues that the PRA by its terms prohibits the government from imposing a criminal penalty upon a citizen for the failure to complete a form where the information request at issue does not comply with the PRA. Lawrence never explains how this argument is even relevant to the three counts involving tax evasion, but even as to the other three counts, it must fail [ . . . ] Lawrence's brief represents an attempt to prove that the PRA could present a valid defense to the criminal charges. Yet Lawrence conceded at oral argument that no case from this circuit establishes such a proposition, and in fact Lawrence cites no caselaw from any jurisdiction that so holds. In contrast, the government referenced numerous cases supporting its position that the PRA does not present a defense to a criminal action for failure to file income taxes [ . . . ] Lawrence provides no explanation of how government conduct can be vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith when there is no law contrary to it."

--from page 2 of the Judgment, March 26, 2007, United States v. Lawrence, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, No. 06-3205, docket entry 39 (bolding added).

In other words, the trial court did NOT rule in favor of Lawrence on the PRA/OMB control number argument, and when Mr. Lawrence was dumb enough to appeal that issue, the Court of Appeals SPECIFICALLY REJECTED the PRA/OMB control number argument. He should have left well enough alone.

The material you inserted in the article was false, and was copied and pasted from other places on the internet. This material began showing up on the internet not long after the Lawrence case was decided, and was copied into Wikipedia, exposed as phony, and removed. You may not have realized that the material was false, though. Famspear (talk) 18:09, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

OK, since the Lawrence stuff has been posted so many times at various places in Wikipedia, and on the internet in general, I went ahead and incorporated the Lawrence case into this article. But the material reflects what actually happened. Too bad for the tax protesters. This is in a Wikipedia article now, not just in talk pages. Tax protesters will not be happy campers when they find out what the court actually ruled in Lawrence. Famspear (talk) 18:51, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

IP69.109.114.82 writes: I take offense to the beginings of this diatribe. The fact something is "copied and pasted" from "elsewhere on the internet" is a SILLY reason to dismiss a post to wikipedia. By that logic, he cannot copy and paste relevant parts of the internal revenue code because is is "elsewhere on the internet"

Famspear wrote: First, the losthorizons web site that you mentioned is run by someone named Peter E. Hendrickson.

IP69.109.114.82 writes: Just HOW is this relevant to whether or not the INFORMATION is correct? This is an ad nauseum attack, and a discredit to logic and common sense. He is neither a lawyer nor CPA. John Marshall was NOT a "lawyer", either.

"ho served time in federal prison several years ago for failure to file a federal tax return". Jesus Christ, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela ALL "served time". Get real, we're all adults here, please. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) on 28 April 2008.

Dear user at IP69.109.114.82: I think you missed the point. Copying and pasting text from a tax protester web site in the way that IP69.181.208.167 did violates Wikipedia rules and guidelines. Please read the rules. Copying and pasting an excerpt from the text of a U.S. federal statute does not violate the rules.
Sorry, you are wrong. John Marshall was indeed a lawyer. I believe it's correct to say that Marshall did not attend a law school (which might be what you're thinking about), but Marshall was indeed a lawyer (in addition to a Supreme Court justice). He was licensed as a lawyer, and he practiced law. You used a bad example. By the way, Abraham Lincoln also did not attend law school. Nevertheless, he was licensed as a lawyer and he practiced law -- fairly successfully. At the time those guys were admitted to the bar most American lawyers did not attend a law school. Let's keep our facts straight.
I don't know what you mean by an "ad nauseum attack." Perhaps you meant something else. For purposes of Wikipedia, Peter Hendrickson is not a reliable source on the issue of federal income tax. He is a self-published ex-con (federal tax conviction). Obviously, Hendrickson's personal history and qualifications are both legally and logically relevant to whether the information Hendrickson spews is correct. More to the point, Hendrickson's personal history and qualifications are relevant to whether he is a reliable source under the Wikipedia rules. And the main issue is not whether the information is correct, but rather whether the source is a reliable source under the Wikipedia rules.
So, you are saying that because Jesus Christ, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela all "served time", that means that (1) Peter Hendrickson's tax conviction, (2) his utter lack of any legal or accounting expertise, and (3) his latest defeat in federal court on his own federal income taxes, under the very Cracking the Code theory that he claimed was legally correct are not logically relevant to whether Hendrickson is a reliable source on the subject of tax law in a Wikpedia article on taxation?
Get real. Famspear (talk) 15:58, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
By the way, the "lost horizons" web site (the Peter Hendrickson "Cracking the Code" web site) that was referenced is a blacklisted hyperlink in Wikipedia. Notice that I did not write out the full URL of the web site; if I tried to do so, the post would be blocked. The lost horizons web site was blocked by a Wikipedia spam filter a long time ago (not by me, but by an administrator). That should tell you something. Also, the web site has been specifically named by a federal court as being a tax evasion web site. I can give you the citation to the court case if you like. Famspear (talk) 16:05, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
OK, at the expense of appearing to beat a dead horse, I'll note one of the federal court cases Hendrickson lost: Hendrickson v. United States, No. 06-56129, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In that case, the Court of Appeals threw out Hendrickson's appeal of a federal district court order denying Hendrickson's attempt to quash an administrative summons issued by the Internal Revenue Service to obtain information about Hendrickson's activity from "the EBAY/PayPal fraud investigation team in connection with an investigation into Hendrickson's internet tax evasion business, Lost Horizons." Memorandum, Aug. 13, 2007, p. 1, Hendrickson v. United States, No. 06-56129, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Those are the Court's words, not mine. Famspear (talk) 16:16, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
A clarification on the copying and pasting issue. For the benefit of the IP editor, material that is generally found on the internet, having been put there by a private author, is presumed to be covered by copyright (U.S. copyright law creates this presumption). The same law expressly holds that the text from statutes, court decisions, and federal agency reports, being a product of the government, is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Cheers! bd2412 T 19:56, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
This illustrates that editor BD2412 is an intellectual property (copyright, etc.) lawyer and I am just a tax lawyer! But tax law is more fun! Yes? No? Famspear (talk) 20:06, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Someone Won[edit]

I don't contribute here ever so forgive me if I'm doing this wrong. Someone won their case, and I was reading this article here after finding it interesting. Here is the source if anyone wants to document it or do more research: (talk) 22:02, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

here i found more on it: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:10, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

All of those citations have something in common - they refer to the findings made by the jury. The judge determines the law, the jury determines the facts - such as whether Cryer had an honest misunderstanding of the law. This is the same argument that led to the partial acquittal of Wesley Snipes. However, the jury could not (and therefore did not) determine whether the income tax itself is legal. In short, Cryer was unable to convince the judge of the law, but was able to convince the jury of his ignorance of the law. bd2412 T 23:23, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposed move of section from Gross Income to this article[edit]

I propose to move the section of the Gross income article on tax protester arguments on gold coins to this article as part of the overhaul of that article. You may view the section at Gross income#Federal income tax implications of receipt of gold or silver coins. I will also propose on the discussion page for Gross income. Comments? Oldtaxguy (talk) 03:54, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Length, again.[edit]

This article has continued to grow well beyond typically recommended bounds. I propose, therefore, breaking out all the purely administrative materials into a separate article, Tax protester administrative arguments. Cheers! bd2412 T 15:58, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Looks like a good section to pull out - maybe the legal obligation section in it's own article Tax protestor legal obligation arguments? Just thinking a bit ahead. Ravensfire (talk) 16:15, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
That is also a good one to stand on its own, since it is premised on ignorance of the statutes rather than interpretation of them. This seems like a noncontroversial proposal, I'm going to go ahead and execute it. bd2412 T 19:39, 27 August 2010 (UTC)