Symposium

By Schulz, Bob; Phelan, Marilyn | Insight on the News, April 23, 2001 | Go to article overview

Symposium


Schulz, Bob, Phelan, Marilyn, Insight on the News


Q: Is the IRS collecting taxes without legal authority?

Yes: There is no amendment or law that requires most Americans to file or pay

income taxes.

Most people file taxes because they have been led to believe that they must do so or are afraid of the IRS.

Individual income tax is a direct tax -- forbidden by Article I, Section 9, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution. Even if Congress had the constitutional authority to lay a direct tax on the people, it has yet to do so -- i.e., there is no statute requiring most Americans to file a tax return or to pay the income tax.

The Constitution prohibits Congress from laying a direct (income) tax on the people unless it is in proportion to the states (the most recent census). The Constitution reads: "No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken."

The U.S. Supreme Court has declared the income tax to be a direct tax: "A proper regard for [the 16th Amendment's] genesis, as well as its very clear language, requires also that this amendment shall not be extended by loose construction, so as to repeal or modify, except as applied to income, those provisions of the Constitution that require an apportionment according to population for direct taxes upon property, real and personal" [Eisner v. Macomber, (1920), 252 U.S. 189, 206; 40 S.Ct. 189]. Note that the courts have held that wages and salaries are property [see Sims v. U.S., (1959), 359 U.S. 108].

Federal appeals courts also declared that the income tax is a direct tax. For example, the 5th, 7th, 8th and 10th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals have declared: "The 16th Amendment merely eliminates the requirement that the direct income tax be apportioned among the states. ... The 16th Amendment was enacted for the express purpose of providing for a direct income tax" [Parker v. Commissioner, 724 F.2d 469, 471 (5th Cir. 1984)].

The 7th Circuit held that an argument that the income tax was an excise (indirect) tax was frivolous on its face. The court declared: "The power thus long predates the 16th Amendment, which did no more than remove the apportionment requirement" [Coleman v. Commissioner, 791 F.2d 68, 70 (7th Cir. 1986)].

"The cases cited by Francisco clearly establish that the income tax is a direct tax" [United States v. Francisco, 614 F.2d 617, 619 (8th Cir. 1980)].

"The 16th Amendment removed any need to apportion income taxes among the states that otherwise would have been required by Article I, Section 9, Clause 4." [United States v. Lawson, 670 F.2d 923, 927 (10th Cir. 1982)]

Is the individual income tax imposed "in proportion to the census"? No! The tax is not tied to the population, state-by-state. Notwithstanding the constitutional prohibition found in Article I, Section 9, Clause 4, the income tax is not apportioned among the states. Congress does not require each state to tax its citizens to collect the money it says it needs over and above what it collects under the taxing authority granted to it under Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution (indirect taxes: excise, tariffs, duties and imposts).

How can there be a direct, unapportioned individual income tax in the United States if the original Constitution prohibits it? The government relies upon the validity of the 16th Amendment as its authority to impose the current, direct, unapportioned, individual income tax. The 16th Amendment reads: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

The IRS says the 16th Amendment gives it the authority to impose the income tax directly on the working people of America. The IRS is on record as saying: "The 16th Amendment to the Constitution states that citizens are required to file tax returns and pay taxes. …

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