Conclusion—You Be The Judge

We, the authors of this work offer you no conclusion.  The conclusion is for each of you to reach after reading the authorities and reasons for the THM's positions.  Now that you have walked in their shoes, traveled the path they followed on their expedition in search of the law, ask yourself some simple, straight-forward questions:

Now that you have seen what they have seen, read what they have read and learned what they have learned, are those citizens who comprise the Tax Honesty Movement criminals?  Tax protesters?  Tax defiers?  Do they act, or refuse to act, out of a desire to defeat or violate the law?  Or is their intent to support and defend the law, just as it is for those of us who have solemnly sworn to do?  Are they attempting to avoid their duty?  Or are they embracing their duty as citizens, not only to the law itself, but to the rule of law, not of men, not of agency?  Do they have the requisite criminal intent to knowingly and willfully commit a tax related crime?

We began this examination of the beliefs and the uncompromising tenacity of those in Tax Honesty Movement with the objective of reaching an understanding of why such respectful, law-abiding and ardently patriotic citizens would make such extreme sacrifices of their fortunes, their social and legal positions in life and even their freedom over what had previously been a bearable exaction of a fraction of their earnings for many years.  If they are law-abiding and patriotic, how can they stand so steadfastly, defying our own government?

We wondered at how and why they would risk and unwaveringly lay down their liberty and all they own or could ever hope to own, a sacrifice that dwarfed any possible financial benefit from their refusal to pay the income tax.  Determined to understand their actions and their motives we set out on this expedition on the trail they had blazed for us in their quest for a law that made the typical working American liable for the federal income tax and along the way we saw what they had seen and learned what they had learned.  Every hill we topped and the crest of every ridge revealed new discoveries, new clues to the mystery.

We found the Supreme Court cases they had run across telling us how tax laws are subjected to strict construction, nothing inferred, nothing implied and that when any ambiguity is found in the law it must be resolved most strongly against the government, regardless of what Congress intended or meant to enact.  We learned how important it is for any tax law to identify exactly who is liable, since almost every aspect of the tax structure hinges on knowing who is and who is not liable.  Only those liable must keep records and only those liable must file tax returns.  Regulations apply only to those liable and liens and seizures of property could only be imposed on those the law says are liable.

Pressing on to the next opening we searched through the wilderness of the Code for a liability provision and not too distant into the wilderness we arrived at their base camp where we discovered what they had discovered.  There is, indeed, a liability provision.  But to our collective amazement we realized that liability provision is limited to those required to withhold taxes on non-resident aliens and foreign corporations. 

Was that it?  Is that the reason these patriots have stood so fast by their beliefs?  "We don't have to so you, the government, can't make us?"  Even the realization that their belief was justified, that the IRS is lying about who is liable for the income tax, does that dab of money mean so much to the THM, that they would forego all else to keep it?  Surely, not.  There has to be more to it than that.

Just as those who blazed this trail, we were struck with the same haunting question:  Why?  Not just why those in the THM are so steadfast, but also why did Congress omit such a crucial and indispensible element from the income tax law?  The trail continued deeper into the wilderness and we followed the blazes and soon learned that since the tax is imposed on taxable income, to understand that tax we must first understand what the words "taxable" and "income" mean.  The tax is not on anything that is not taxable, income or not.  Nor is it on anything other than income, taxable or not.  The THM had pushed on in search of answers, leaving a trail of blazed trees, and we followed.

Continuing to retrace the THM's path we were ambushed along the way, attacked by the IRS, slinging arrows and calling the THM names.  They told us the law we were uncovering is frivolous and they told us anyone studying these issues could be prosecuted.  But when we examined the arrows more closely we found they were fake, without point or substance.  We found false blazes and signs made by the IRS, attempting to mislead us away from the path, lying about the words of the Code's definition of gross income, lying about the basis sections and even lying about Supreme Court holdings.  So, the farther down the path we went the less heed we gave the IRS's attempts to dissuade us.  Our fear was replaced with distrust and an ever increasing curiosity about what lay ahead that the IRS so fears our discovering.

The trail brought us to the realization that "income" in the vernacular sense is not the same as the legal meaning of the word.  We soon discovered that what comes in is not income, but rather only the profit or gain that can be identified and separated from what comes in is income.  We meandered through the Code, learning that gain alone is income and that in order to have gain the basis, or capital investment, must first be deducted.  On applying our new discoveries to our personal earnings we realized that it is impossible to determine what part, if any, of one's personal earnings, received in exchange for time and effort, his labor, is profit.  And we saw what the THM had seen, that according to the Supreme Court unless and until profit can be determined and separated from capital, "derived—from—capital", there is no income.

Deeper into the wilderness, higher into the mountains of laws and Supreme Court holdings, we found the limits of the federal government's taxing power, both insofar as how it is allowed to tax and what it is entitled to tax.  We came across the true subject of the income tax and were surprised to discover that it is not income, but rather privileged activities, income being merely the measure of the tax.  At still another THM encampment we discovered that the typical working American, who labored for a living was not engaging in any activity over which the federal government has authority to tax, either under its general taxing authority or under its excise taxing authority.  

Along the way we noticed how Congress and the IRS are fond of saying "all", "every" and "any", as in "all" distilled spirits and "all" citizens, when they were really talking about all of a far more limited range, as in "all" citizens (but only "all" those subject to federal jurisdiction).  We began to see how Congress may have realized when they enacted the income tax that the only group of people that were "all", "every" and "any" within that authority were those outside the country doing business in the country.  In virtually every other case, particularly where people's activities were concerned, there would always be exceptions, so "all" could not be used. 

Our pace quickened—anxious to see where the THM's trail culminated.  What was the final and ultimate discovery?  And suddenly we found ourselves standing at the end of the trail on the rim of the Grand Canyon of chasms between the law and the IRS's distorted version of the law.  And just as suddenly it was no longer about money.  Money ceases to mean anything in comparison to what this struggle is really all about.  It is no longer about personal interests or self.  It is about our fundamental, God-given, inalienable, Constitutionally protected RIGHTS!  

On learning that we have a fundamental, tax exempt right, not privilege, to labor for a living, the words of Chief Justice Marshall echoed across the canyon—the power to tax is the power to destroy! 

If our rights can be taxed they can be destroyed.  If one right can be taxed then what right is next?  How many rights will satisfy the appetite of the government?  Can we afford to cede even one precious right, hoping to appease, without jeopardizing all? 

There is so much more at stake here than a portion of our paychecks.  Is the sanctity and preservation of our inalienable, God-given rights as free men and women in a free society worth walking the coals those in the Tax Honesty Movement have been forced to walk?  They do so, one after another, all without hesitation and without regret, so it is clearly worth it to them. 

Now, looking at the final revelation the THM had already experienced, we can see why Congress did not impose any liability on the working American.  We can see why the IRS is lying and attempting to thwart our expedition.  The IRS, with Congress and the courts sitting idly by, is not merely violating the law, not merely misapplying a tax to those who are not liable, it is taxing our fundamental right to earn a living through our own labor.  Do the seemingly "senseless" sacrifices so readily and bravely borne by those in the THM still seem so senseless? 

Are those in the Tax Honesty Movement villains?  Tax cheats?  Evading and violating their legal duty?  Or are they patriots?  Are they acting with criminal intent, bent on violating the law?  Or are they in fact intent on the future and security of the founding principles of our nation and its children's liberty? 

Those who explored and marked the trail we have traveled have risked and continue to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.  Does that sound familiar?  It should, because the final words of the Declaration of Independence were "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." 

Just as those in the Tax Honesty Movement are called "tax protesters", "tax cheats", "tax defiers" and, Heaven forbid, "Constitutionalists" by the IRS, those signing the Declaration of Independence were called "traitors", "rebels" and "insurrectionists" by the king.  And just as those in the Tax Honesty Movement have laid down their freedom and their fortunes, many of those signing the Declaration suffered the loss of their lives and their fortunes.  But death, imprisonment, destruction and deprivation notwithstanding, they have both preserved their Sacred Honor.

You be the judge. 

Villainous?  Or virtuous?  What is your verdict?