HOW NOT TO NOT PAY TAXES

Not long ago, our mailbox contained an odd little orange booklet entitled “The Income Tax Strike: How Millions Have Legally Stopped Paying.” Since many of our mailboxes have also recently been graced by 1040’s and the spectre of April 15, we thought this little booklet bore a closer look.

The 36-page booklet, being pushed by an Oklahoma City public relations man named Al Fiegel, is a step-by-step outline of how to become a modern day patriot: be a “tax re-sister” and join the nationwide “income tax strike.” The basic premise is this: Because we are earning wages in dollars that are actually Federal Reserve Notes, notes which are no longer redeemable in silver or gold, we aren’t earning real money. Instead, the thesis goes, we are being paid in unredeemable I.O.U.’s, backed by nothing tangible. Thus we are not really paid at all. Thus, no income.

So, this year, the booklet suggests, when you’re filling out your 1040. you should answer the question about wages earned by filling in the blank with a zero. Since you weren’t paid in real money, see. you weren’t the recipient of any real wages. The booklet advises us that the “IRS is 90 percent bluff,” and intimates that the tax courts are reeling in the face of this shrewd and impenetrable argument.

Before plunging, we thought it might be a good idea to check the local tax courts and find out how well the IOU argument was holding up here. It seems that a Dallas woman named Lou Hatfield earned $7,000 as a fashion company employee, but declared to the IRS that she had received no income because her wages were in Federal Reserve Notes. When her case came up in court recently, the judge was apparently not impressed. He found her argument “frivolous,” and ruled that cases such as hers were entirely without “legal justification.” The judge also pointed out that when such cases are filed to delay payment of taxes, the court can assess damages against the tax resister for wasting the court’s time. In this instance he did not, but said that with any more such cases he’d give it serious consideration.

Call us unpatriotic if you like, but we decided we’d hold off and let the tax strike build up a little more momentum before we filled our blanks with zeros.

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