One of my goals with this website is to warn people against scams, or worse, dedicated suicidal nonsense, that can destroy their lives.
One of these high-risk sinkholes of futility is the tax protest movement. These people do not simply protest income taxes; they adopt weird strategies to justify the refusal to pay the IRS. They think they can find obscure interpretations of words in the IRS code, and thereby escape the obligation of paying taxes.
Lawyers and accountants of the super-rich find ways of avoiding payment, but they file income tax forms. They minimize their clients’ payments, but they do not subject their clients to the risk of jail.
In contrast is the tax protest movement, which used to call itself the patriot movement. It is made up of people who do not have much money. They pretend that they can successfully serve as their own lawyers. They pretend they don’t have to pay the IRS. They pretend that simple people using convoluted arguments that nobody can follow can escape the IRS. They pretend that they can persuade a jury of their peers.
The jury is always made up of people who pay their taxes, and who basically resent the idea that anybody else can avoid paying the taxes that they have to pay. In any case, a protester has to pay his taxes for him get in front of a jury. Before this, his case will be decided by someone called an administrative law judge, who in fact is an employee of the IRS. After he pays what he owes, he is then entitled to a jury trial to get it back.
The case laws of the IRS are not governed by common law. They are governed by Napoleonic law. You are guilty until proven innocent. The IRS can assess whatever it says you owe, and then you have to prove through your records that you do not owe it. If you do not prove it, you must pay.
THE GURU AS WITCH DOCTOR
From time to time, I get a letter from some well-meaning future victim who says that he has discovered a guru who has found a secret way out of paying federal taxes. The guru has adopted some arcane interpretation of words in the IRS code. This is basically a form of word magic. These people are not gurus; they are witch doctors. If you want to understand how they operate, think of being in a jungle. You wander through the jungle, lost, and stumble upon an open area, where a man dressed in peculiar garb is dancing wildly around a fire. Around him are natives dressed in loincloths.
Would you trust your financial future to this witch doctor?
There is a website devoted to detailed exposés of these tax-protesting gurus. The articles on the site provide summaries of the legal cases against them. You can find out how many of them served jail time. A lot of them have. The site is here: http://tpgurus.wikidot.com. You can look up any “don’t file” guru.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)