Tax Tips

Leona Helmsley
Leona Helmsley

“We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” – Leona Helmsley, tax defier.

In 2008 the Department of Justice revitalized their efforts to track down and prosecute tax evaders and those formerly known as tax protesters. The new “TAXDEF” program expands coordination between the US Attorney’s office, Department of Justice Tax Division, and IRS, shuts down illegal tax shelter promotion and fraudulent preparers, and brings new technology to bear with a nationwide focus.

As part of the expanded effort, the IRS has published a helpful guide of frivolous tax arguments — such as “payment for personal services is not income,” or “a taxpayer is not a ‘person’ as defined by the Internal Revenue Code.” Some of the arguments are laughable, yet have been put forth by perfectly serious people in front of a judge. Message:  don’t try these at home!

For those of you getting hot right now about your constitutional rights — yes, I understand. The government taking your money makes you angry as hell. But understand that these various designs in support of the evasion of taxes have consistently failed since the sixteenth amendment in 1913.

These battles are repeatedly waged by doomed and misguided non-taxpayers, and all of them are lost. The government has all the power in this war, and the individual has none. The tax evader loses his property and liberty, and wears the badge “convicted felon” for the rest of his life. There are better ways to live than focused on fraud. A criminal conviction will do nothing to change the system, as I’m sure these fine folks found out:

DC Police Detective sentenced to prison for tax evasion — he stopped taxes from being withheld from his paycheck and lived high on the hog instead.  Lawman not above the law.

Former IRS employee and professional tax preparer makes loads of loot but fails to file, claiming she did not know what the term “individual” meant in tax laws. Judge doubtful.

New-age Numerologist runs a scheme to “decode” IRS tax transcripts to delude taxpayers into thinking they owed no taxes.  No mystery here — it doesn’t work.

(This is part 3 of a Tax Tips series I am doing for Asymptotic Life.)