Are Income Taxes Voluntary?

December 18, 2005  ·  Filed under: Education

While publicizing the FairTax Friday carnival on my own blog, someone left me this comment (excerpted):

Please see an excellent site that I am sure you will appreciate:

Click on “Education” and check out the articles listed in the left hand column, particularly those concerning taxation. They are:
Constitutional Taxation
Federal Income Tax
Employment Tax
State Sales Tax


People in the Tax Honesty movement are not tax protesters. They are people who want our tax laws administered honestly and lawfully. However, the truth is that most Americans living, working, and deriving their income from WITHIN the united States, do not make “taxable income” as defined by law. Most Americans have been deceived by their own government into paying an income tax they never owed in the first place.

Time to kick open a big can of worms. I came across this tax argument a year or two ago, and it certainly seems plausible. Found on a number of web sites, you are directed to certain portions of the US Code and the Federal Regulations, as well as a bunch of court decisions. They explain their interpretation of what these various links mean, and why it follows that you don’t owe any income taxes.

The argument (quickly stated) goes like this:

1. All people legally subject to taxation by Congress under the Constitution must pay that tax.
2. The 16th Amendment would allow income taxes Constitutionally.
3. However, income tax law does not require individuals to pay taxes on employment income, except under certain specific clauses.
4. The vast majority of current workers are not covered under the above clauses, and thus do not legally owe any income tax.

For a much more in-depth view, please see here and here.

So here’s what I’m looking for. I’m fairly decent at reading law and figuring out what it means, but this one is a little bit over my head. I need a lawyer (i.e., KJ) completely unrelated to these folks to read up on it, and let us know if it is legit.

Anyone willing to take a crack at this?

Posted by Brad Warbiany  ·  Trackback URL  ·  Link
44 Responses to “Are Income Taxes Voluntary?”
  1. Sorry, but that explanation is load of crap. The argument has been made many times, and unfortunately is most known for being sold by unscrupulous advisors to low-income uneducated taxpayers unequipped to realize how ridiculous it is. The Sixteenth Amendment was ratified legally (and overwhelmingly) and provides that congress can tax income “from whatever source derived” i.e., all income. The Amendment …surprise…amends the constitution so that an income tax need not be classified as either a direct or indirect tax, it is just a specifically permitted tax. To assert that the wool was pulled over our eyes is also disingenous, as congress, as the elected representatives of the people, had twice passed income taxes in the 19th century that were struck down by the Supreme Court as being unconstitutional. The 16th Amendment was a popular amendment to overturn the Court’s finding and embrace the public’s desire for a fair and easily admistered tax on income. The modern tax code has become overwhemingly complex, but it is still based on the proposition that income subject to tax is “all income, from whatever source derived.”

    TaxGuy  ·  Dec 22, 2005 at 3:07 pm  ·  Permalink
  2. Thanks TaxGuy.

    I’ve seen some “underground bunker” types make arguments this way before.

    Nesta  ·  Dec 26, 2005 at 11:59 pm  ·  Permalink
  3. Let’s ask ourselves this: Would the founding fathers, the authors and signers of the Constitution, after having fought a Revolutionary War over taxation among other things, allowed free men to have their money deducted by an employer and sent directly to the government ? Would the states these men hailed from have allowed such an amendment to be proposed and then passed?

    John Newman  ·  Dec 28, 2005 at 4:17 pm  ·  Permalink
  4. Would the Founding Fathers allow it? Of course not. And frankly, I’m still not convinced that withholding is constitutional. I think withholding is one of the most nefarious things ever foisted on this nation. I recommend a book called Dependent on D.C. by Charlotte Twight, which goes in-depth on some of the nastiness of withholding. It also covers the story Boortz relates in the FairTax Book about a lady who chose to try to become a test case for the constitutionality of withholding and was ruined by the IRS (with no formal charges filed).

    Withholding’s biggest problem is that it allows tax rates to rise without being noticed too heavily by taxpayers. If people had to write a check every month, or every quarter, or every year, to cover their income tax burden, we’d see an immediate drop in income tax rates or people reaching for their guns. I think ending withholding (as well as rolling taxes mostly into income taxes rather than corporate or investment taxes) would do more to return the country to where it should be than even enacting the FairTax could possibly do.

    Unfortunately, though, the world the Founding Fathers envisioned was destroyed over the course of the last century, to the point where the current US is only a shell of it’s former classical liberal self. When asking what the Founding Fathers envisioned, it’s such a foreign concept to 95% of the people in this country that I fear it will never come about. I sincerely hope that the FairTax can be a strike at the leviathan our government has become, and an honest assessment of how expensive and damaging our punitive and complicated tax system will be a starting point for reassessing our government’s role in our daily lives.

    Brad Warbiany  ·  Dec 29, 2005 at 10:04 am  ·  Permalink
  5. TaxGuy, Can you provide a source as to what what you base this statement on.
    The 16th Amendment was a popular amendment to overturn the Court’s finding and embrace the public’s desire for a fair and easily admistered tax on income.
    I find that statement to be incredulous at best.

    John Newman  ·  Dec 29, 2005 at 2:00 pm  ·  Permalink
  6. Good point, John. I’m sure it was popular among politicians of the day, but it was initially administered as a very low percentage tax only on very rich people. Sold with class warfare just the way taxes are today.

    I think at best, you can make the argument that it was popular because people never thought it would apply to themselves, but I’d consider that largely against the idea that they thought it was “fair”. They thought it was a way to soak the rich.

    Brad Warbiany  ·  Dec 29, 2005 at 2:03 pm  ·  Permalink
  7. Sorry… won’t fly. As others here have explained.

    The problem with the current tax code is that it violates the Equal Protection Clause. “from whatever source derived” means they can go after any money you make, but the current code falls short of 14th’s “equal protection of the laws”.

    Unfortunately so many people actually don’t pay taxes but get benefits that there will never again be a political majority to reform the tax code. Ain’t gonna happen. And pork isn’t going to be stopped either – it is a good deal for all but the 5% of pay the bills in this country.

    5% paying for 95%…. seems unequal to me. Where are you ACLU?


    NeoKen  ·  Jan 13, 2006 at 10:35 am  ·  Permalink
  8. The original income tax was 1% on income over $3,000. Average annual income in most states was around $1,200 or less, so using class warfare made it easy to get public support for states to go along with the amendment. “Yeah, tax those evil rich. Besides, it won’t ever have any effect on me.” Everyone with that mindframe ended up being “useful idiots” because after only 2 years of passing the 16th Amendment, the $3,000 floor started dropping and the rates started rising.

    Bill Shackleford  ·  Jan 13, 2006 at 11:16 am  ·  Permalink
  9. The tax engine in this country is huge and totally dependent upon what Congress has created. Anyone belonging to that faction will never admit that it’s all a ruse to steal the property from the sheeple and feed it to the state. Most never take the time to understand it anyway. A few facts:

    The IRS has never been enacted by law. Their Secretary of the Treasury is located in San Juan, PR, a federal territoty.
    The IRS are NOT comprised of government employees, but is nothing more than private contractors working directly for the Executive Branch.
    The IRS is paid by the Federal Reserve, the actual owners of the government.
    The money they collect (steal) does not go to our Treasury, but to the shareholders (rich banking consortium) of the Federal Reserve (a private organization) to pay the interest (money from nothing, checks for free) of the national debt.
    The IRC is not law, but just a representation of the law.
    The income tax was repealed 5 times (as unconstitutional) prior to the illegal certification of the 16th Amendment by Philander Knox.
    The 16th Amendment gave Congress no new powers of taxation.
    The IRC is constitutional or else it could not exist.
    The constitution does not apply to the federal democracy; they can do anything they want in their own jurisdiction.
    The constitution does apply to the republic of the 50 state union. However, you will notice with collusion and corruption between the states and the federal monster, you have very little constitutional protections remaining. There is a reason for everything. Think it out.
    The income tax laws within the IRC applies only to those with federally connected income.
    All others voluntarily fork over their $$$ out of ignorance and/or fear, just as Congress designed.
    They voluntarily gave their ’employer’ a witholding form.
    They voluntarily call themselves ’employees’ making ‘wages’.
    These terms are defined in the IRC and they are not used in the same sense as we are accustomed, again, by design. ‘Hoodwinked’ applies.
    Your annual ‘contribution’ is classified as an ‘overpayment’ and the IRS will gladly keep it with not even a thank you or a kiss.
    You can easily get it all back, including FICA and Medicare just for asking for it.
    Ammend your 1040 or 1099, include a Form 4852 and tell them your ’employer’ refused to accept your request to stop witholding, and you know it’s unconstitutional, so you want it all back. You’ll get it back. Until they figure out how to stop this, too.
    I would definitely file and record paperwork in the court hilighting facts pertaining to the income tax fraud first. This becomes evidence that cannot be suppressed in a court, so corrupt judges will not have the opportunity to refuse to have it entered into evidence. Case dismissed because they’ll never admit a state citizen is not liable for the income tax.
    I would also obtain the Individual Master File (IMF) the IRS has created for each taxpayer. Since the IRS is an outlaw organization, they don’t care that they lie on it. You are probably a citizen of Guam and deal in the alcohol business, a legally taxable profession. Unless corrected, this will stand in court and you will be treated as owing the tax. It is up to you to correct it and they make it very hard to do that, again, by design.
    Have fun and enjoy being an Amerikan. We let them get this far. It’s our fault.

    redpill  ·  Jan 17, 2006 at 3:38 am  ·  Permalink
  10. . I have heard many “arguments” about the income tax’s legality. After spending alot of time researching the history and codes behind the income tax I beleive the following to be true;

    1. The Sixteenth Amendment granted the Gov’t “no new taxing power” – that is from the supreme court not me. The 16th (while advertised as a new tax power quite acuratly refered to in here as a “make the rich pay their fair share” amendment) according to SC – see brushaber and citing cases – effectively protected existing taxing power not granted new power. The courts ruled that the 16th amendment protected indirect income taxes from being removed from the class of indirect and placed in the class of direct (and thus being subject to apportionment) based soley upon a consideration of the SOURCE.

    2. The SC has also defined income as GAINS. The current popular deffinition of income is any money that comes into your possession ‘from any source’. The IRC offers no deffinition of the “income” it intends to tax save for a deffinition of “Gross Income” that does not re-define income. For people exchanging their own time and labor for wages and salaries (selling part of their life) there is no Gain unless that person does not own his own life to start with or his life had no value. If there is income (gains) from labor it is what the employer realizes from purchasing the labor and converting it to profit.

    3. Direct or Indirect is not a classification that comes about from the title of a tax, or it’s subject of taxation, but from the function of the tax. If the gov’t Directly assesses a person a tax that they have to pay it out of their own acumulated wealth it is a direct tax. Indirect taxes are placed on goods or services and paid when a person chooses to consume that good or service. Indirect taxes are still subject to the uniformity clause and Direct taxes are still subject to the aportionment clause.

    4. Our current income tax is either unconstitutional, or voluntary.

    5. The popular deffinition of income combined with our existing society and what it takes to live makes all people no more than indentured servants. (ilegalized by another amendment if u recall)

    6. If you try to fight the feds in court, even if u have all of the facts and law nescessary to prove yourself right, the courts will deprive u of a FAIR trial and YOU WILL LOOSE.

    (ps- if u r going to say this is one of the guys full of crap i expect the coment to come with the statute and regulations that make me or you liable to pay “income taxes” on our wages or salries from labor.)

    7. if the fair tax even has a chance to pass we MUST do what we can to pass it. Passing a constitutional indirect tax IMO is a nescessary step to save this country from completely falling apart.

    Independant  ·  Jan 24, 2006 at 3:03 pm  ·  Permalink
  11. I personally have not paid income taxes in 6 years now I believe. The most interesting part is that I was audited for the last year that I filed, but never since. I was audited because the IRS didn’t like me putting a zero in my earned income line, even though the legal definition as stated by our Supreme Court of income “is the same as defined in the Excise Tax Act of 1909,” which calls income “corporate profits.” When I contacted the IRS I was able to speak directly to the secretary of the treasury. I asked her about this definition. She only referred me to the IRC which states that income is any ‘income’ derived from bla de bla. I explained to her that it is a well known fact that in a legal definition we cannot use the term in that we are defining in the definition. From here she took me to the dictionary definition. I told her that since this is a legal matter I would much rather have a legal definition, since they don’t pull out Websters dictionary in court. She took me back to the IRC definition, hoping that I would have forgot in a 2 minute period of time that it didn’t apply.

    Since I realized that we were not getting anywhere, I attempted to correspond to what they wanted and said, “I will gladly pay any money that you say I owe, right now, if you can show me a law that says I have to pay income taxes. She first took me to a code number, seemingly a bit more nervously since her last attempt at that failed with a copy of it in front of me. I explained that the code that she referred me to says nothing about income taxes. It only was referring to taxes as a whole. I made sure then that she knew I wanted to see something about income taxes. She told me that they could indirectly tax me persuent to the constitution. I asked how that applied to me, since she was attempting to directly tax me. She had no answer once again.

    She hung up on me after about 40 minutes of asking questions the first time. I immediately called back and asked why she abruptly hung up on me. She replied that I was just attempting to get out of my obligation of paying taxes, and that the conversation was getting nowhere. I reminded her that I was happy to pay any money that they say I owe if they could offer me a law that says I have to pay. She told me that the code book is so long that I couldn’t possibly understand it all. I agreed. I then asked since that’s true, and since she said it was true why it’s not “void for vagueness.” She couldn’t answer me. I then stated that it didn’t appear as if there were more than 100 pages on income taxes in the entire code book, and that I’ve studied them thoroughly. I told her that I didn’t notice in any point where it made any reference to me needing to pay them, since I’m not a corporate profit. If I missed a code I’d be happy to study that one, but that she would have to let me know where it is.

    She couldn’t.

    After hanging up on me again, I realized that the IRS is one of the only businesses in the world that can never answer your question, hang up on you and still attempt to get money out of you for an unapparent reason. In fact, they were so sick of not telling me the law that tells me I have to pay that they started hanging up on me just when they found out who I was.

    They started to finally leave me alone. Then the Colorado Department of Revenue started hounding me. You see, line 1 of the paperwork you are suppose to fill out is supposed to be what you put in your paperwork for the federal “taxable income.” Abiding by their guidelines, I put a big zero in line 1. They didn’t like that either, and decided to attempt to get some money out of me. They gave me a 500 dollar fine with accrued interest for incorrect filing, which boggled my mind. I asked them the same questions, which no agent seemed to be able to even comprehend what I was saying except one.

    I may have opened that man’s eyes that day as I explained how the founding fathers of this country ran from a big government that wouldn’t let them even decide how they worshiped. Then I asked if it made sense that they would set up the constitution making sure our government never had that kind of power. I mentioned how we didn’t even have our wage tax until world war II, and they illegally kept it in fear that they wouldn’t have enough money volunteers. I mentioned how the IRS changed the term voluntary to voluntary compliance in the 70’s in an attempt to confuse people into thinking it meant something other than voluntary. And mentioned how we could live fruitfully, which a much less corrupt government if everyone only paid indirect taxes. You show me a program the government needs I’ll show you 5 it doesn’t need. It would also give more money to people to strengthen the economy, since people would have more to spend. I then explained all of the laws in the IRC and showed him how there is no law that says we have to pay. I didn’t hear from them for 6 months after that conversation.

    I then had something horrible happen to me, that only an illegal, unethical entity would do to someone. I found one day that all of my money was taken out of my bank account. I rushed over to my bank and asked what happened. They said that someone walked in with a notification that they could take my money out, signed that I received a registered, certified mailing stating that this would happen. They said that I signed for it 5 days prior. I never received any such letter, and never signed for any mail that month, let alone week. The bank was surprised that I hadn’t received anything, stating that it would be illegal for them to do that if what I was saying was true. I demanded that I get that money back. They said it was gone.

    I called the Colorado Department of Revenue to find that they had no knowledge of this transaction. They threatened for the longest time a levy of my wages, in which I told them I would sue them if they did so (even though I’ve been self employed for some time now). I didn’t hear from them for years after this.

    I wanted to sue them for taking my money, but at the same time just wanted to let it go, since they don’t seem to care that I exist now that I don’t file at all. That is until this month. I received a letter from a Collection Agency stating that I owe the Colorado Department of Revenue this money still, and that they will assume it’s a real debt if I don’t reply within 30 days.

    This is how it seems to me. They can tell anyone that that individual owes them money, and they have to pay or else, without having to give reasons why this individual has to pay. That’s poor business practice if you ask me. If I made things this confusing to my clients I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t do business with me.

    refusetopaymafia  ·  Jan 13, 2007 at 1:57 am  ·  Permalink
  12. I have to respectfully disagree with you that you aren’t obligated to pay taxes. I wish you well in defending yourself from the government onslaught that will likely come from not filing or paying as you say you have done.

    However, there are several sites online that cover this, like this one.

    Even the IRS has one, here.

    James Kidd  ·  Jan 15, 2007 at 4:29 pm  ·  Permalink
  13. Sounds great in theory but in practice they’ll toss you in jail. The latest…
    Tax Fugitive Barricaded in House: ‘Show Us the Law, and We’ll Pay’

    Morphh  ·  Jan 20, 2007 at 11:22 pm  ·  Permalink
  14. I always accept the notion that I’m obligated, but when asked no one can show me the liability. And don’t say that the sixteenth amendment does since that was covered previously in this discussion how it doesn’t based on the supreme courts. I love hearing the argument that tax fugitives are put in jail too. First, just because they do doesn’t mean it was right or constitutional. It could just mean that the specific individual did one thing incorrectly and was slammed because of it. Or it could mean that the government would like to protect their ability to rob from this nation as much as possible, and are willing to propagate an illegal imprisonment. This doesn’t change the fact that there is not a statute or law that gives the liability of the individual a mandatory direct taxation without apportionment.

    It’s usually the knowledge that there isn’t a law, but the lack of knowledge about how to prove that which leads people to jail. I personally ticked off numerous IRS agents with my long drawn out conversations where they refused to show me where the liability was. I also don’t make a small amount of money. So why would they just all of the sudden stop bothering me? Did my counter threats get to them? I would like to entertain some ideas on how I was never thrown in jail or challenged in court.

    I would also like to offer to show any whom would like to see the exchanges that the Colorado Department of Revenue and I are making.

    refusetopaymafia  ·  Jan 30, 2007 at 12:55 am  ·  Permalink
  15. Good luck with that.

    Morphh  ·  Jan 30, 2007 at 8:59 am  ·  Permalink
  16. I’ve been shot at and missed in two wars, doing my duty to protect and defend our republic. I have zero tolerance for citizens who shirk their responsibilities as members of our society. I’ve tried to ignore the posts of the gentleman who refuses to pay his taxes, citing the lack of a law requiring him to do so. But as this thread continues, and the misstatements continue to be published, I want to add my two cents worth.

    All of the arguments about not having to pay one’s taxes stem from activities in the mid 1980’s and all have been found to have no merit by the Supreme Court. In dozens of cases, the Courts ruled that the claims, such as being made here, were frivolous, and the originators jailed and/or fined. The IRS site referenced above by James Kidd says it all.

    The basic law of the land, our Constitution, gives the government the right to collect revenue through income taxes. I doubt that anyone can show me a “law” that establishes the Presidency, or the Army or Navy. These are examples of Constitutional powers granted to the government and no additional laws are needed. Same with the income tax. The government has always had the power to impose an income tax, it just wasn’t practical until the passage of the 16th Amendment removed some restrictions.

    If refusetopaymafia wants to provide his name, address, telephone, and SSN, perhaps a meeting could be arranged with his District IRS manager. Heretofore, the IRS has generally prosecuted individuals who are selling this tax avoidance scheme, leaving the little fish alone. But if there is enough tax revenue at stake, perhaps they would be interested?

    Good luck!

    Hank Van Gieson  ·  Jan 31, 2007 at 9:44 am  ·  Permalink
  17. Hank oh Hank. I will forgive the ignorance of your accusations and hope to open an eye on what I believe, which from what I found separates me from anyone you may be talking about.

    First I never claimed that I avoided any taxes, for I haven’t. I also never claimed that I don’t believe we need revenue, for I fully support our legal taxation system. I am not saying that the tax laws are illegal, or that no one is liable for paying. I’m not making the claims that income taxes are voluntary or unconstitutional. Most income taxes were set up to be voluntary with the nature that you don’t have to partake in whatever makes you income (i.e. owning a corporation, having employees, etc) In fact, when I tell people about what I do I tell them most often to not do what I’m doing, as I believe if you have little knowledge of it you will end up showing half the story to the judge, ending in a frivolous argument. I encourage them to read for themselves and find the facts.

    I point to these cases in which you are talking about where the individuals had part of the story right, but not all of it (in every case that I have personally read) which does technically constitute as frivolous, even if they were on the right track.

    All I’m saying is that the way the tax laws are written is completely different than the way that the public, and most of the government views them. I’m also saying that the government seems to be holding onto their wallets more than our rights by implementing the laws incorrectly. Taxes were set up as the foundation for what it sounds like you do Hank, which I am greatly appreciated. I don’t know the last time you looked at how much of the so called national budget goes to military, but it’s a pretty measly percentage. The fact that a lot of government and programs run by the government are put together and implemented in the least efficient method possible, makes for the need for all the money they generate pointless (note: I said all meaning total, never pointing at the fact that it’s necessary). God only asks for 10%, why does our government need more?

    The way the founding fathers intended for this country to be set up with our federal governments small, our state governments controlling everything the federal does, with the people controlling what the states do seams a bit off from where we’ve ended up with. Since they came from a place where they had a big government that attempted to run every aspect of their lives, they didn’t think that having a big power would ever be a good idea, hence why they set it up the way they did. Just as you are defending our lives, I’m attempting to defend the original meaning of our constitution.

    Now the fact that there are many tricky lawyers that use common meaning of words (i.e. income, labor, etc), instead of the legal meanings changes the entire point of emphasis of the constitution.

    I have personally talked to the Secretary of the Treasury so many times that when I call they know from my voice who I am. All I’ve attempted to do for 10 years is attempt to get some straight answers out of them, which they don’t seem willing to do.

    Did you know that Congress doesn’t have the power to define income? Did you know that labor in the sense that the supreme court meant it when defining “taxable income” doesn’t mean selling yourself for money, or being an employee?
    Did you know that Thomas Jefferson in his Inaugural Address, to speak critically of the government: “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.” Of course they were hoping that the laws as they wrote them would never make the government such a powerful entity ruling above the people.
    Did you know that in 2003 someone just beat a charge of tax evasion and tax fraud based on some of the same topics that I’m brining up? She also made almost a million dollars per year which debunks any theory of small fish.

    In reference to what I was talking about above about how our government is not what the founding fathers wanted, in 1821 Jefferson also wrote,”…the Federal Judiciary; an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow), working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing it’s noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one… when all government…in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”

    I’m not against any law in our Constitution, and I love and want to protect this country more than most. My fight isn’t with guns but with knowledge of the truth.

    refusetopaymafia  ·  Feb 4, 2007 at 1:50 am  ·  Permalink
  18. RTPM,

    Amazing epifany over the last three weeks. On Jan 13th you wrote “I personally have not paid income taxes in six years”. Now you say that you “never avoided any taxes” I guess the question is, did you ever owe any income taxes? After all, almost half of Americans don’t have to pay any income tax. Are you one of those? In which case I certainly apologise for questioning your civic responsibility.

    The $600 billion defense budget for 2008 is almost 40% of the discretionary spending total amount in the budget. That isn’t a measly percentage by anyone’s measure. Let me add that it is about the same amount that the Fairtax prebate will impact on the entitlement share of the budget. And therein lies a big Congressional objection to HR25, the prebate. At a time when more and more of the budget is protected as entitlements, thus squeezing out discretionary spending, adding $600 billion more in entitlements could eventually cripple the economy.

    It’s nice to know that God would approve of the amount of income taxes I pay. As a retiree, my effective tax rate on pension income of approximately $90,000 is just at 10%. I have no quarrel with the IRC.

    Finally, I would really like to know if your “million dollar baby” beat the charges in 2003 in a Supreme Court decision? Can’t find any such case.

    Now, enough nit picks. I find myself in violent agreement with you about what has happened to our country over the last 217 years. Tom Jefferson was correct- the Federal government, with help from the Supreme Court, has grown into an 800 pound gorilla. And the states have let it happen without a murmer.
    In this day and age of increasing federal government interference in our lives, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the USA was founded as a republic. Two sovereign entities, state and federal, operating on the same people in the same territory but with different functions. And it has been the difficult job of the Courts to maintain a proper balance. And the Courts have failed.
    With encouragement from some Yale constitutional lawyers and scholars, I have read almost every decision of the Supreme Court, looking for justification for the section in HR25 that treats governments at all levels as consumers, and taxes government operations accordingly. I can assure you that back in our early history, such a proposal would never have succeeded. As Justice Marshall wrote, “the power to tax is the power to destroy” The Court has generally upheld the doctrine of “intergovernmental tax immunity”, but in recent years, more and more limitations on State immunity have been supported by the Court.
    It is still my view that a constitutional challenge to portions of HR25 will succeed, but we won’t know until the deed is done. Personally, I’d rather raise the sales tax rate a few percentage points and avoid the whole issue. But fear of government encroachment on the private sector seems to be the reason that Fairtax advocates give in favor of taxing governments. It seems odd to me that government enterprises on the other hand are not taxed in HR25. These include Amtrak, CCS, Exim, FDIC, the Fed, NSF, OPIC, PBGC, TVA, and USPS. Talk about infringing on the private sector!?
    Never mind that the federal portion of the sales tax is simply a shell game wherein the Treasury Secretary pays the tax with one hand and puts it back in the treasury with the other hand. The States on the other hand will have to come up with almost $300 billion in revenue to pay the net added tax. Which means your state and local taxes will rise significantly. On balance, taxing governments at all levels is a lousy concept and will probably lead straight to the courts!

    Stay tuned!

    Hank Van Gieson  ·  Feb 4, 2007 at 11:07 am  ·  Permalink
  19. The word “voluntary” has absolutely no meaning if we’re REQUIRED to do anything. The phrase “voluntary compliance” is an oxymoron. In addition, no other agency uses this phrase. How’d it come across if the FBI used the phrase “voluntary compliance” in connection with drug laws? Is murder and rape based on “voluntary compliance?” In fact, WHY DOESN’T THE IRS USE THIS PHRASE IN CONNECTION WITH OTHER TAXES, SUCH AS LIQUOR AND TOBACCO TAXES? They use phrases like “you are liable for” and “required.” Why does only the IRS use this phrase in connection only with income tax?

    Kimo  ·  Feb 16, 2007 at 8:54 pm  ·  Permalink
  20. “Voluntary”, as used in various IRS Publications, refers to our system of allowing taxpayers to determine the correct amount of the tax and complete the appropriate returns rather than having the government determine the tax for them.

    The requirement to file is not voluntary; nor is the requirement to pay the tax voluntary.

    The Supreme Court has fined and jailed individuals who try to avoid filing or paying on the grounds that it is “voluntary”. The Courts held that such arguments were frivolous and without merit.

    Hank Van Gieson  ·  Feb 17, 2007 at 11:01 pm  ·  Permalink
  21. Hank- “Frivolous” means having no basis in law. If someone agrees that they are a “taxpayer” who had “income” and then states that it is “voluntary” for them to pay a tax on that “taxable income”, then their argument is truly frivolous. This is the crux of the whole thing- that “income” and “employee” have very specific meanings when used in tax code and Federal code. You can’t claim to have had income and not owe tax on it. If you are aware that your money earned does NOT represent “income” as defined in Federal code, but was earned in a fair trade of your labor for money, you will NOT say that “x” amount was your income. The way we volunteer our money is to say that the money we made was “income”. Thus we classify ourselves, or rather the transaction of earning, as taxable. That is why it is called voluntary. I know it sounds odd for there to be a different definition of income than the commonly accepted one we normally use, but that’s legalese for ya.

    Brian O’Hamill  ·  Jan 8, 2008 at 3:32 pm  ·  Permalink
  22. We don’t need a “fair” tax. We need to get rid of direct taxation and income taxes all together.

    American’s need to rise up in opposition of the income tax and the 16th amendment. If we have to bring it to courts to win, we can. Everyone can stop paying income tax, and when they go to court the jury can exercise their RIGHT for jury nullification and find the defendant not guilty of tax evasion. This happened a lot during prohibition. Juries have the right to find a defendant not guilty of whatever they want (even if the defendant is “guilty”). A judge cannot overturn an innocent verdict.

    American’s need to take their country back… say enough is enough, and take control of their lives away from the government.

    Jeremy  ·  Apr 23, 2008 at 2:46 pm  ·  Permalink
  23. I have studied this for years. Yes it is a government scam. I have only found 1 site so far that has cracked the code and has added the missing link. Because very few do not know the one step that must be completed to keep them out of trouble when they elect to not volunteer to pay the tax they don’t owe. The W2 is for federal workers not the citizens of the 50 states. The scam the government is pulling started many years ago when the sent out a publication nation wide saying what employers must do with money “stolen” from employees. We think we know what employer and employee is – we don’t- read this alert –

    The site that cracked the code is
    His book “Cracking the Code the facinating truth about taxation in America” reveals that the IRS relies on third party to improperly report your wages as income and if “YOU” do not deny it using form 4852 with in the allowed time then you have agreed that the information reported is correct and thus you become legally liable for the taxes.

    Mitch  ·  Jan 19, 2009 at 11:01 am  ·  Permalink
  24. I might add the the previous post that the IRS and DOJ has tried to shut the site down and restrict the selling of his books but neither has been able to prove any facts wrong. Not to say the IRS and DOJ haven’t given up but Pete Hendrickson continues to shut them down

    Mitch  ·  Jan 19, 2009 at 11:11 am  ·  Permalink
  25. Contrary to the contentions of many in the Tax Honesty Movement (THM) there is nothing illegal or wrong with the federal government’s current system of taxation, except for that fact that it is being misapplied through public ignorance. The fact of the matter is that the government should not be taxing the subsistence of the common laborer, e.g. the capital [or remuneration] earned through the act of working, except through the form of direct taxation, period.

    To further note taxes are to be laid ONLY for three primary purposes: (1) to pay the debts, (2) to provide for the common defense of the United States, and (3) to provide for the general welfare of the United States. Taxation is not meant to operate in the form of a blanket, slung over the heads of the populous, blinding them from the reality of what is really going on. Remember, we are Republican Nation! Our current form of taxation was devised to replace mass dependency on tariffs (taxes imposed upon importation of foreign merchandise and articles).

    To gain a better understanding on federal taxation please read here:

    Weston White  ·  Jul 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm  ·  Permalink
  26. Weston,

    Agreed, also the original income tax did not fall on incomes under $700/yr, which untaxed 97% of American households. If that amount were adjusted for inflation, it would work out to around $72,000 in 2009 dollars. Setting the required filing to above that amount would go along way to correcting the injustice of the current system.

    RMForbes  ·  Jul 8, 2009 at 11:12 am  ·  Permalink
  27. If we are going to revert back to the original income tax system, then I think we should also go back to government spending as it was during that time. If that were to happen, we would not have a tax problem in this country.

    John Bailey  ·  Jul 8, 2009 at 6:34 pm  ·  Permalink
  28. RMForbes — Michael Graetz of Yale University has proposed a tax plan somewhat along the lines of what you are saying.

    It is a combination of a consumption tax, wth an income tax component for incomes over $100,000. He says that would eliminate the need for the vast majority of Americans to file tax returns.

    Hayden Kepner  ·  Jul 9, 2009 at 7:46 am  ·  Permalink
  29. Wikipedia article on Graetz’s Competitive Tax Plan.

    Morphh  ·  Jul 9, 2009 at 8:31 am  ·  Permalink
  30. RMForbes,

    I’m just curious about where you got the amount of $700 as the original threshold for the income tax. In reading over the 1913 legislation as passed, it looks to me as though net income of $3000 is the magic number, because after calculating net income, a $3000 exemption is applied. So, if net income was $3000 or over, the income tax would apply. And the exemption amount was $4000 for a married couple. Please explain the $700 number you used, and would you also be able to determine what the $3000 would be in today’s dollars?

    By the way, Michael Graetz is the Yale professor who cleaned Neal Boortz’s clock in one of the very few public debates about the Fairtax a number of years ago. Boortz had no idea that government employees services would be taxed, including the services of a soldier on the front lines, and Boortz was also clinging to the “free lunch” myth at that time. (“Get 100% of your pay and prices remain the same”). Graetz’s book is worth reading, imho.

    Hank Van Gieson  ·  Jul 9, 2009 at 8:37 am  ·  Permalink
  31. Hank,

    Not the exemption, but the maximum annual income before submitting income tax forms to the IRS is required. Under $700/yr no tax forms are required to be submitted (W-2’s, W-4’s, 1099’s, 1040’s, etc). Even by 1920 97% of American households were not required to file because very few wage earners earned more than that amount. Almost all wage earners made much less the $50/mo in 1920.

    RMForbes  ·  Jul 9, 2009 at 2:06 pm  ·  Permalink
  32. Rick,

    I still don’t get it. There is no mention of $700 in the 1913 law. The law defines what is income, what can be deducted, and finally a $3000 ($4000 married) exemption. All of which means that the 1% income tax would kick in if the net income was $3000 or more. What is the source for your $700 claim? Thanks.

    Hank Van Gieson  ·  Jul 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm  ·  Permalink
  33. Hayden,

    It only makes sense, but I still think if the retail markets are to be taxed, so should the capital, bond, and commodity markets. Increasing the transaction tax to pre-1966 levels would not only raise more revenues but would show taxpayers that all are contributing to federal revenues in a truly fair and balanced way.

    RMForbes  ·  Jul 9, 2009 at 5:03 pm  ·  Permalink
  34. I did the whole pay no taxes for 8yrs. Now in 2009 I am paying the IRS $1000.00 A month. Whoever is thinking about this DON’T DO IT! Those that helped me with letters and such, were not doing it themselves. So if your product works why arent you using it? Like I said anyone who thinks of doing this DON’T DO IT! my life is no longer mine it’s Uncle sams.

    joe  ·  Jan 4, 2010 at 4:49 am  ·  Permalink
  35. Joe,
    If someone put you up to that, they did you a grave disservice. I work for a unit of the New Jersey Attorney General’s office that assists the Division of Taxation. I can tell you that, with interest at 3 points over prime compounded annually, tax debt mounts. Many people get themselves into a hole from which they cannot climb out. And some tax debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    You are wise to be proactive in addressing your tax problems.

    I must end this post, of course, with a plug for the FairTax. Under the FairTax this problem would never happen to consumers. Businesses would be well advised, however, to remit tax promptly to state taxing authorities.

    Good luck with solving your tax problem.

    ~Jim Bennett

    Jim Bennett  ·  Jan 7, 2010 at 8:22 am  ·  Permalink
  36. Jim,

    I listened to your radio interview this morning, and you did a great/good job. I was particularly pleased with your discussion about prices, but wonder just who the New Jersey economists were that claimed that costs would fall 10% and retail prices rise by 17%. Sounds familiar!!

    My major criticism is the repeated misstatement that there are 75 sponsors of the Fairtax. According to Thomas and the AFFT site, there are 59 House Cosponsors and four Senate cosponsors. for a total of 65 sponsors for both House and Senate.

    As I recall, I have a $10.00 bet with you that the House cosponsors in the 111th Congress will not come up to the 72 cosponsors in the 110th Congress. What kind of smoke and mirrors are you using to win that bet???I want a recount!!! :)


    Hank Van Gieson  ·  Jan 13, 2010 at 7:56 am  ·  Permalink
  37. Hi Hank,
    Thanks for the kudos. You must have been listening over the web, since NJ 101.5 FM is not heard far outside of New Jersey. The 10% comes from Florida economist, Karen Walby on the theory that Florida embedded costs are much like New Jersey’s.

    Oope. Looks as if I’m the culprit. Jim Gearhart got the 75-sponsor figure from me. I need to update my “two-page piece.” Didn’t realize that part of it was wrong until I reviewed it just now. I didn’t correct Jim because I did not think it was material for an audience that, for the most part, knows nothing about the FairTax anyway. We don’t have Neal Boortz on the radio up here.

    I don’t recall that I took your bet on, but I will if you will agree to extend it to the 112th Congress!


    Jim Bennett  ·  Jan 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm  ·  Permalink
  38. Jim, is this webcast still available or was it only a live show? I wouldn’t mind giving it a listen.

    Morphh  ·  Jan 14, 2010 at 4:26 pm  ·  Permalink
  39. Morph,
    I don’t see it up on the web site of NJ 101.5. However a friend of mine recorded it (I’m not sure how much of it he got), but he has been having trouble sending it to me because the file is over 14mb. Should I have him try to send it to you or send it here?

    Jim Bennett  ·  Jan 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm  ·  Permalink
  40. He could probably e-mail it to me.. but I don’t have the ability to upload it to the site. If you want to post it somewhere.. youtube? I could link to it.

    Morphh  ·  Jan 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm  ·  Permalink
  41. This subject is very interesting to me, although i do not fully understand it. I did just read though that Peter Hendrickson, author of Cracking the Code, started a jail sentence for tax evasion. And I thought he had it all figured out… I think the key to changing taxation is to do it all together. I feel like it has to be a huge movement. Maybe I’m wrong I do not know. Any thoughts?

    Tori  ·  Feb 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm  ·  Permalink
  42. What I don’t understand is why a SELF EMPLOYED person with a 0 Taxable Income … still has to pay taxes, when someone employed does not and they get a refund. If your taxable income is 0 … NO ONE should have to pay taxes! Please correct me if I’m wrong. THANKS!

    Peggytoes  ·  Apr 13, 2014 at 2:38 am  ·  Permalink
  43. I understand why they get a refund, I just don’t understand why self employed have to pay …. when employed can get everything they paid back (plus some many times).

    Peggytoes  ·  Apr 13, 2014 at 2:48 am  ·  Permalink
  44. Peggytoes, there is no distinction between self-employed and employed. You both get the same tax “prebate” – it’s not based on income. If you’re paying no taxes now (legitimately), then you’ll likely not pay taxes under the FairTax as the prebate untaxes spending up to the poverty level.

    Morph  ·  Jul 10, 2014 at 7:33 pm  ·  Permalink