Next, they cheat death.
November 18, 2000 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Next, they cheat death. Looks like those spam emails about US income taxes being illegal are actually getting results. [NYTimes: blah registration blah]
posted by holgate (15 comments total)
The two most believable counters to the Individual Income Tax Liability that I have seen hinge on two arcane bits of law (but, doesn't everything?):

1) Authority to levy and summons come from the Secretary of the Treasury, consequent to a 1948 law that removed those authorities from the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and required that they be delegated back to him to be redelegated to the agents.

That delegation was done in Treasury Delegation Order 150-10.

Which was never *published* in the Federal Register as is required for administrative law to take effect.

So, that IRS agent who's breathing down your neck? He's an impostor. He cannot prove delegation of authority to himself from someone granted the authority in question by statute. Because he's impersonating a federal agent, he's subject to a $1000/day civil penalty.

2) The 1040 individual income tax return has finally started carrying an OMB number, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1974... but that number is still not *included in the authorizing regulations* as also required by that act; therefore, the government cannot compel you to file the form. That was true as of a couple years ago, the last time I checked.

The beautiful part of these things is that they are all factual, all provable, and none of them depend on such silly flights of fancy as "the 16th amendment dodge".
posted by baylink at 3:21 PM on November 18, 2000

I doubt that they will get away with this. Usually, when such things get attention from national media, the IRS goes to work. Does anyone remember that group that was selling "information kits" on how one can legally stop paying most taxes? It made the front page of NYT and within 3/4 weeks, the whole organization was shut down by the IRS, all their records confiscated.

This said, I have to commend these guys for having the balls to say no to the IRS the outlandish amount of taxes we are all forced to pay.
posted by Witold at 5:17 PM on November 18, 2000

Americans who bitch about their tax load should go talk to someone like a resident of Sweden or the Netherlands.

Folks, it could be a lot worse.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:47 PM on November 18, 2000

It's well known that the system can't handle a large scale tax revolt. So what would happen if we all stopped paying our taxes? The government would just look for other means of getting cash from us. National sales tax, anyone?
posted by Jart at 8:15 PM on November 18, 2000

Yes, actually. A 23% federal sales tax at retail point of purchase would make the entire IRS completely redundant.

Is that


Yep, it is.

Really; seriously read the site and see what it has to say. These guys aren't kidding, they're not dilettantes, and they certainly appear to *me* to have done their homework.
posted by baylink at 9:01 PM on November 18, 2000

Yes, our taxes could be worse. And the next time someone saws off your left hand, remind yourself they could take the right one as well. Be grateful!

The fastest way to ensure our taxes get slightly higher is to console ourselves that they could be much higher.
posted by lileks at 10:15 PM on November 18, 2000

Yeah, let's all quit paying our taxes--and quit using public highways and national parks and funding any sort of public safety programs, while we're at it. Oh, and to hell with the poor - they don't need Medicare or Social Security. Who does the government think they are, anyway? Like we elected them or something? Because, as everyone knows, it's us vs. the government. We don't get anything out of them. We should just keep all the money we make due purely to our own hard work and perseverance. Just like Steve Forbes...pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.

Redistribution? What's that?

Obviously everybody on MetaFilter is going without basic necessities due to such terribly burdensome taxes. Those bastards in Washington...keeping you from upgrading your Palm Pilot. How dare they?
posted by Annabel.Gill at 11:44 PM on November 18, 2000

The fastest way to ensure our taxes get slightly higher is to console ourselves that they could be much higher.

Actually, the fastest way to ensure that our taxes get slightly higher is to stand aside while these folks refused to pay taxes at all.
posted by grimmelm at 12:12 AM on November 19, 2000

Vigilantes! Assemble Now!
posted by baylink at 1:06 PM on November 19, 2000

Well, I really don't care if the US has one of the lowest tax rates among industrial nations: to me, it's still too damn high. I can hardly do anything with my money without being taxed.

You think Social Security or Medicare are great? I think getting hardly any return on all the money you pay in over the years is not great at all. I would rather have the option of saving that money up my self. I don't need the govt to treat me like a little kid that can't manage his/her own money.

posted by Witold at 2:09 PM on November 19, 2000

As any first-year Economics student would tell you, a national sales tax would increase national income inequality unless a significant portion were redistributed Welfare-style, which would kill productivity by lessening incentive to work, unless the EITC was increased, which would cause the tax to go up, etc.

Suffice to say, Sales Taxes are not good for the economy. We *want* people to buy stuff, we don't want to discourage them from doing so.

A better tax would be things such as Tobin Taxes, Green Taxes, or a proportional and lower income tax with the corporate tax removed. These types of taxes would *encourage* productivity and *discourage* activities which are not in the public interest, such as short-term currency speculation, pollution, etc.

posted by Kevs at 3:10 PM on November 19, 2000

Witold: it's not your money. That money has value because of the existence of a stable polity, with a reliable physical and social infrastructure and well-defended markets (using an agreed-uponand govenmentally-assured) medium of exchange.

If you could just take your ball and go home, you wouldn't have a ball in the first place.
posted by grimmelm at 5:09 PM on November 19, 2000

Well, Kevs, you do hit on the one problem with *all* alternative tax proposals, and the one which is almost never mentioned, if even thought about. Taxation has *two* major purposes:

1) Revenue collection

2) Behavior control

It's almost impossible to maintain the second characteristic in any flat taxation proposal, by their very nature.

Such is life. Libertarians aren't real worried about the latter. Browne 2004!
posted by baylink at 8:41 PM on November 19, 2000

Sales Taxes are not good for the economy.

So why do so many state and local governments use them? Just curious, I'm no economist.

That said, what kind of taxes are good for an economy? Progressive income tax? Property tax? Capital gains tax? Surely these are all bad for the economy in that they discourage making money, owning property, and investing in businesses. So how is a sales tax worse?
posted by daveadams at 9:21 PM on November 19, 2000

daveadams: a sales tax discourages transactions that are only marginally gainful. That is, if I could make a 5% profit by using certain goods I could buy, but my local sales tax is 6%, I'm not going to bother. This effect gets especially bad when it comes to brokers (in a general sense) who may make only a tiny amount on each transaction but rely on really high volume to survive. If an item changes hands 20 times in one year with a 6% sales tax, the total taxes paid on it will exceed the item's price.

In essence, all the other taxes you mention are taxes on the net, rather than on the gross (except for a property tax, that is, which is a tax on value, independent of transactions). A sales tax inhibits trade out of proportion to the revenue it generates.
posted by grimmelm at 11:34 PM on November 19, 2000

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