by William Conklin
This book is
dedicated to Dick Viti, one of the few brave attorneys in America. Dick took
personal action after he became aware of the issues outlined in this book. Dick
was singled out, prosecuted and convicted for having the temerity to stand up
and tell the public the truth. His only failing was that he had, like others
who had gone before, faith in the legal system. He felt that the system would
see the truth once it was properly presented; he did not foresee that the legal
system would ignore the Constitution and
the many related rulings by the Supreme Court in order to protect the federal
With the Tax System
1. My story: How It All Began
2. The Fifth Amendment
3. The Tax Return and the Privacy Act Notice
4. What the Attorneys Say!
6. My 10th Circuit Case
7. The Tenth Circuit Proves--
We Waive Our Rights When We File Returns
8. The Internal Revenue Code
9. The IRS and Criminal Prosecutions
10. The IRS: A Modern
11. The Summons Power
of the IRS
12. What You Can
Personally Do About the Problem
13. What Will Uncle
14. Empower Yourself
15. Questions and
The Problem With
the Tax System
individuals who file tax returns waive their Fifth Amendment protected rights.
government cannot require individuals to waive their Fifth Amendment protected
The income tax
system of the United States has become absurd. It has become absurd because it
has become complicated beyond belief. The system is so complicated that the
average person must spend hundreds of dollars each year for professional help
or on computer software in order to attempt to comply with the system.
Individuals feel compelled to sign documents, under the penalty of perjury,
that they do not understand. The IRS misleadingly refers to the tax system as
"voluntary." They do so because they know that requiring individuals
to provide information on 1040 returns--information which may be used to
criminally prosecute the provider--would create a severe constitutional
The IRS routinely
prosecutes individuals who choose not to voluntarily file 1040 returns, in order
to keep the pressure on the rest of the public to continue to volunteer.
Criminal prosecutions, unsubstantiated and arbitrary Notices of Deficiency,
garnishments, outrageous penalties and illegal searches and seizures, are all
tools the IRS employs to force "voluntary" compliance with the
present tax laws. The IRS is an agency out of control. It has little respect
for the right to due process, or the many other rights of the citizens of this
country which are protected by the Constitution. It is time for a change and
this book will tell you, in plain and simple language, how you personally can
become a catalyst for making change.
So, sit down in
your favorite chair and give me about two hours of your time. I'll expose for
you the most incredible scam ever perpetrated on the American public: the
federal income tax system.
You will learn in
this book that:
1. There is no
statute that makes a person liable or responsible to pay the income tax.
Individuals only become liable to pay the income tax when they voluntarily file
a tax return, or when the IRS follows its assessment procedures as outlined in
the Internal Revenue Code.
2. If there were
a statute which clearly and unequivocally required the filing of tax returns,
such a statute would be unconstitutional under the present income tax system to
the extent that it would require individuals to give the government information
which could be used against them criminally.
3. The IRS, under
our U.S. Constitution, cannot legally require information on 1040 returns from
individuals--that is why the IRS continually refers to the income tax as
How it All Began for Me
1976 was the two hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of
Independence. During that year, there was a lot of interest in the Constitution
and its influence on modern society. One day in early June of 1976, I was
walking to get a bit of exercise after a hard day spent as an elementary school
teacher, when I noticed a sign on the front of an old building which read:
"National Tax Strike." My generally strong curiosity led me to enter,
and the subsequent meetings and conversations I had with the folks I met inside
that building started me on the twenty year voyage that eventually led to the
writing of this book. Inside the building, I met several gentlemen whose ideas
at first seemed completely loony to me. However, they did get my attention with
their views on the tax laws, and gave me enough incentive to begin my own
research. After several months in a law library, I realized they had some valid
concerns, and I too "went public" with my new-found knowledge. A
local newspaper in the Denver area published an article quoting my comments
about the tax system.
immediately sent me an audit notice and proceeded to do everything they could
to shut me up and destroy me emotionally and financially. During the extensive
litigation that followed over the years, however, I defeated the IRS six times!
My wins in the federal Tenth Circuit Court of
Appeals are published in the Federal Reporters found in the law
visit a law library, you may obtain photocopies of the published court
decisions in the cases that I have won. There is no doubt that in over twenty
years of litigation involving these cases, the IRS has spent hundreds of
thousands, if not millions of dollars fighting me, a little guy! It is a shame
that the IRS wasted so much money with their frivolous litigation--not just
once, but six times!
If you were
to raise similar challenges against the IRS, you could have published wins in
the lawbooks, too. The challenges I've made are not difficult to make, nor do
you have to have formal legal training to understand. However, the implications
of repeated losses for the IRS are significant. If more of us forced such
losses, the laws would have to be changed by Congress. The only reason the
present tax system continues to exist is because not enough people take time to
challenge it. In fact, they continue to voluntarily waive their rights (rights
which the Fifth Amendment was designed to protect) every time they file 1040
returns; they do everything they can to avoid litigation with the IRS when the
agency challenges them.
just a few of the details of some of the challenges I've made to the IRS. In
1977, I set up a church to promote my religious beliefs, and take advantage of
the tax laws relative to churches. (I also started exercising my First
Amendment protected rights by telling others about my beliefs, and sharing with
them the concepts for setting up their own church. The IRS became extremely
upset with me because in establishing these churches I made sure that all of
the rules set out in the law were strictly followed and thereby forced the IRS
to let the small churches take advantage of the tax breaks which the law allows
all churches.) When followed to the letter, the laws passed by Congress
pertaining to all churches, large and small, allow literally billions of
dollars of church assets and income to escape taxation--church organizations
are exempted from the tax laws by the IRS. Of course, if there were true
separation of church and state, churches would actually be immune from
government regulation and taxation and thus wouldn't even have to ask the IRS
for exemption, but I won't sidetrack on that issue here.
effort to discourage my activities, the IRS attacked my church and told me they
would pull the exempt status of the Church if I didn't answer some additional
questions to their satisfaction. We went to court over their efforts to force
my answers. In my first case, Church of World Peace, Inc. v. IRS, 715 F.2d 492,
the Tenth Circuit ruled that the IRS couldn't pull the tax exempt status they
had previously granted me, without following all the procedures to the letter,
including first issuing me a summons.
I was going to dig in my heels and not be quickly intimidated, the IRS
backtracked a bit and issued a summons, as instructed. I filed a court action
challenging the summons, but the district court ordered it enforced, so in
order not to be held in contempt of court, I had to appear and answer some of
the IRS' questions. I wasn't done, though. I appealed. In my appeal, United
States v. Church of World Peace, 775 F.2d 265, the Tenth Circuit Court of
Appeals essentially ruled in favor of my argument, and quashed the lower
court's enforcement order! Even though I won this round, I wasn't refunded any
court filing fees or granted any monetary relief for the costs I had incurred.
However, in reading over the rules and the law, I noticed that since this was a
summons issue, I could at least apply for a small witness fee, which I did.
Their own code says they must pay it since I appeared in answer to the summons.
However, the IRS refused to pay me (probably because they didn't get all the
answers they had wanted), so I sued them again, this time in order to collect
the meager witness fee! Again, the lower court seemed only too anxious to help
the government--they sanctioned me $1,000 for filing what they called a
frivolous lawsuit. But again I stuck to my guns, and again I prevailed. In the
case of Conklin v. United States, 812 F.2d 1318, the Tenth Circuit reversed the
lower court. (Additionally, they chastised the Department of Justice for
misrepresenting the facts in their responses to my lawsuit!)
summons enforcement order had ultimately been quashed, I filed a motion to
suppress the information that the IRS had obtained from my forced response.
Since the information had already been obtained by the IRS, the court held that
my motion issue was "moot." (See U.S. vs. Church of World Peace, 878
F.2d 1281.) However, some years later, the Church of Scientology took the exact
same concern up to the U.S. Supreme Court. (See Church of Scientology of
California v. United States of America 113 S.Ct, 447; 121 L.Ed.2d 313.) In the
Scientology case, the Supreme Court reversed the earlier ruling that the Tenth
Circuit had made in my case, and even pointed to my case as an example of "bad"
law. They ruled that my issue had not been moot and that relief should have
been granted. With this encouragement, I subsequently re-litigated my case and
I won that case, too!
was not over though. After defeating them on this initial church issue, the IRS
decided to lay on me a statutory Notice of Deficiency for tens of thousands of
dollars that I didn't owe. In this personal attack on me, their true colors and
incipient tyrannical tendencies showed up. Without going into the details of this
case, suffice it to say that the Tenth Circuit ultimately reversed everything
the IRS argued. (See Conklin v. C.I.R., 897 F.2d 1032 and Tavery v. United
States, 897 F.2d 1027.) For those readers who may wish to check all this out in
the law library, you'll note that the IRS finally settled the financial part of
this battle in a case titled Tavery v. United States, Civ. No. 87-Z-180, USDC
Colorado. I think they did so because they knew they would otherwise have to
defend their outrageous actions to a jury, if the case were to have gone to
in 1995, the IRS got their way. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Tax
Court judge's opinion revoking the tax exempt status of the Church of World
Peace--for doing the same things that other churches do. The Tenth Circuit
ignored its previous rulings (where they had decided in my favor), and they
ignored the decision by the Supremes in the Scientology case. Interestingly,
they chose to mark the last Church of World Peace case, "not for publication."
finally lost the battle, I feel that I won the war, because I learned so much
about the IRS and the courts in the process. I have learned that knowledge of
the law is only one small part of the issue. The "big picture" issue
is realizing and understanding how the courts and the government bend the law
if it is in their best interest, that is, if they feel it necessary in order to
defeat a perceived threat to the sacrosanct tax system. I'm not saying such
things because I'm a poor loser, but because that's just the reality of it. I
certainly have no regrets about the final outcome, because I have gained
invaluable insights into the methods and madness of the courts and the
government in general. I have learned how to litigate and obtain justice in
spite of that terrible reality.
next-to-last case to date argued before the Tenth Circuit was Tavery v. United
States, 32 F.3d 1423 (10th Cir., 1994). Although the IRS thinks they won this
case, they don't really understand the implications of the Tenth Circuit
decision. The Tenth Circuit ruled that information may be entered from tax
returns into criminal cases involving third parties if the individual who filed
the return is either a friend, spouse or relative of the defendant. That means
that if the IRS is prosecuting a friend of yours they can, according to the
Tenth Circuit, use information in that friend's case which came from your
personal finances, if they think that you might have been able to provide
financial help for the friend. If the courts take the position that information
from your return may be inserted into third party cases, it becomes clear that
every time you file a return, you waive not only your rights to privacy
(protected by the Fourth Amendment) but also your rights to not witness against
yourself (protected by the Fifth Amendment). If that doesn't bother you, you
may as well put this book down now; I'm wasting your time. The IRS insists that
you waive many of your rights when they insist that you file a tax return; they
deceitfully tell you that you are voluntarily filing because they and the
courts both know that the government simply cannot require you to waive any
rights protected by the Constitution. They're worse than sneaky; they know that
as long as you voluntarily provide information, you haven't a legal leg to
object on if they later decide to use the volunteered information against you.
As I learned more and more about my rights,
the constitutional protections of my rights, and the intricacies of IRS procedures
and the federal court system, I eventually realized that I was on to something
big. I saw the IRS' use of return information in criminal cases directly
colliding with the Fifth Amendment. I realized that the Achilles heel of the
federal income tax code was in the Bill of Rights to the United States
Constitution, specifically the Fifth Amendment.
additional case studying and research in the law library convinced me that the
Fifth Amendment was the reason I had never been able to find a specific statute
requiring me to file an income tax return! I began publishing an offer for a
reward of $50,000.00 to anyone who could satisfactorily answer the following
1. How may I file
a tax return without waiving my Fifth Amendment protected rights?
2. What statute
in the Internal Revenue Code makes me liable to pay the income tax?
published my reward offer for several years now, and although several famous
attorneys have applied for it, none of their answers have really qualified them
In 1986 I
decided to file an unsigned tax return. I submitted the unsigned return with a
cover letter pointing out that I had discussed with several attorneys my
perceptions of the Fifth Amendment conflict with the requirement of filing
returns, and none of them had been able to show me how I could file a return
without waiving my rights. I enclosed photocopies of their written opinions to
that effect. I gave the IRS the power of attorney to sign the return for me if
they could do so without waiving the Fifth Amendment protections of my rights.
fined me $500 for my concern! They told me that without a signature I was
filing a frivolous tax return and was thus subject to their $500 penalty for
filing a frivolous return. Far from giving up my habits of challenging their
rulings, I filed a suit to argue the issue. During five years of wrestling with
the issue, Judge Nottingham, a federal judge in Denver, Colorado told me that
if he were to rule in my favor, he was afraid that he would overturn the
federal tax system. Finally he ruled against me, but he took the position that
the Fifth Amendment does not apply to the federal tax system because the Fifth
Amendment only applies to "compelled testimony." I appealed the case
and the Court of Appeals (the Tenth Circuit again, in Denver) upheld Judge
Nottingham's contention that tax returns are not the compelled testimony spoken
of in the Fifth Amendment, and that therefore the Fifth Amendment does not
apply to the income tax system. (See more on this case in Chapter Six.)
This was an
incredible ruling. In other words, the court ruled that filing tax returns is
not required, or compelled. Said yet another way, the courts had just ruled
that filing returns was truly voluntary! Perhaps the government realized that
significance of the ruling, too, because they lost no time in trying to put a
damper on my celebration of what the ruling truly signified; they immediately
asked the court to order me to pay them $6,000 for the valuable time it had
taken their attorneys to prepare arguments and motions to defend against my
"frivolous" contention. Permit me to also state this another way: the
government wanted the court to fine me for taking the position that the filing
of income tax returns was compelled or required!
confused yet?! I hope not, in fact, I hope you feel the same elation I felt
about the outcome. I thought it was great! As the judge had mused out loud
earlier during one of our hearings, either way he ruled, I win! For example, if
he were to have ruled that the $500 fine be abated, he would have had to decide
that the unsigned return and my concerns were not frivolous. But he couldn't do
that, because then other folks might start submitting unsigned returns. That
would pull the IRS' teeth--they could no longer fine folks for submitting a
"frivolous" return, but more importantly, how then could the IRS use
anyone's return information against them criminally if they hadn't signed it
"...under the pains and penalties of perjury"?
other hand, his upholding the $500 fine would mean that he was ruling against
the written, professional opinions of six attorneys whom I was relying on, and
would underscore the uncomfortable fact that their opinions brought into sharp
focus; namely, that the IRS could use the club of a fine to force me to sign
and submit a return, forcing me to waive my God-given rights not to be a
witness against myself.
Fifth Amendment applies because filing returns is compelled, or the Fifth
Amendment does not apply because filing returns is voluntary. Of course, if the
Fifth Amendment applies, then my argument is far from frivolous, and if the
Fifth Amendment doesn't apply, I have proven my point that filing is not
required. In any event, the only way that justice can prevail, in the face of a
judicial system that will declare words to mean their opposites in true
Orwellian fashion (or Alice in Wonderland, whichever prose you prefer), is for
the American public as a whole to become aware of the terrible deceit that has
been perpetrated on them regarding the federal income tax, and to make their
own challenges. The IRS, in an obvious attempt to deal with the problem,
continually refers to the income tax system as voluntary. This book will tell
you that I believe the IRS is right; as long as we have the Fifth Amendment to
protect our rights, filing returns must indeed be voluntary. And I believe we
can shove such words right back down their throats until they, too, go with us
to the Congress and demand that the law be changed!
The Fifth Amendment
Article V: United
shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on
the presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the
land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War
or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be
twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal
case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for
public use without just compensation. (emphasis added)
proposed Constitution was being discussed prior to adoption, many people
expressed concern that it gave too much power to a central government. To calm
such concerns, eventually a Bill of Rights was proposed and adopted which
listed several prohibitions to the new government--certain individual rights
which the government was to understand from the beginning that they could not
infringe upon. The Fifth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights and it holds
that individuals cannot be required to give the government information which
may be used against them in criminal cases. Subsequent case law has applied the
Fifth Amendment in civil cases, too, when there is the possibility that the
information in question may be used criminally. (Of course, there is always the
possibility that information may be used for criminal prosecution in a system
like our present tax system--where civil enforcement is used by an agency to
gather information that the very same agency may utilize for criminal
question an individual for information that may be used against that individual
in a criminal case, they are supposed to first read him a "Miranda"
warning to advise him of many of his rights (from Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 U.S.
436; 1966). After such warning, every time that individual does answer a
question, he is voluntarily waiving the Fifth Amendment protection of his
rights; he cannot later object when the answers he volunteered are used in his
individual is indicted and taken to trial by the government, he cannot be
required to testify against himself. The government must have enough
information before the indictment to convict the individual without his own
testimony. The Fifth Amendment protections we all enjoy are thus extremely
important to protect us against government prosecution and persecution, but as
you will see from the rest of the information in this book, the government
cynically ignores the Fifth Amendment in the collection of income taxes. Since
the population is generally ignorant as to the nature of their rights and their
constitutional protections, the federal government continues to get away with
the biggest scam in United States history; they've done so for over eighty
years. The government of the United States of America, through its agency the
Internal Revenue Service, supported by a court system that deliberately ignores
the law in tax cases, is cynically requiring individuals to waive their Fifth
Amendment protected rights to provide information on April 15, that may be used
against the individual criminally. Such a situation makes a complete mockery of
the Fifth Amendment. Through the IRS and the Department of Justice the
government, by carefully orchestrated trials and outrageous fines and criminal
penalties, instills fear and thus perpetuates a tax system which is not only
un-American in that it taxes an individual's industriousness and productivity,
but un-constitutional in that Americans must waive their constitutionally
protected rights in order to comply with it. In this manner, they essentially
beat confessions out of 100 million Americans each year, and make a mockery of
our Bill of Rights. It is time for us to wake up, assert our God-given rights
again, and reveal the truth to others.
The Tax Return and the
Privacy Act Notice
government agencies are required to tell the public the law and the penalties
for not obeying the law under the Privacy Act. The following statement is the
IRS' Privacy Act Notice as it appears in the 1040 Instruction Booklet.
says that when we ask you for information we must tell you our legal right to
ask for the information, why we are asking for it, and how it will be used. We
must also tell you what could happen if we do not receive the information and
whether your response is voluntary, needed for a benefit, or mandatory under
applies to all papers you file with us, including this tax return. It also
applies to any questions we need to ask you so we can complete, correct, or
process your return; figure your tax; and collect the tax, interest, or
penalties. Internal Revenue Code Sections 6001, 6011, and 6012(a) say that you
must file a return for any tax for which you are liable. Your response is
mandatory under these sections. Code section 6109 says that you must show your
social security number on what you file, so we know who you are and can process
your return and other papers. You must fill in all parts of the tax form that
apply to you. However, you do not have to check the boxes for the Presidential
We may give
the information to the Department of Justice and to other Federal agencies, as
provided by law. We may also give it to cities, states, the District of
Columbia, U. S. Commonwealths or possessions, and certain foreign governments
to carry out their tax laws.
If you do
not file a return, do not give the information asked for, or give false
information, you may be charged penalties and you may be subject to criminal
prosecution. We may also have to disallow the exemptions, exclusions, credits,
deductions, or adjustments shown on your tax return. This could make the tax
higher or delay any refund. Interest may also be charged.
this notice with your records. It may help you if we ask you for other
information. If you have questions about the rules for filing and giving
information, please call or visit any Internal Revenue Service office.
in the United States of America have heard of the 1040 Income Tax Form and the
rest of the forms in the 1040 family. Each year, approximately 100 million
people rush to the post office (many at the last minute!) to give the
government complete information on their financial lives. Amazingly, thousands,
perhaps even millions of these individuals file their returns without any real
understanding of the form or the information placed on it. Their lack of
understanding is why they use CPAs and computer programs to prepare the
documents for them. But think on this: they then sign the forms they don't
understand, ofttimes prepared entirely by others, and swear to their accuracy
"...under the pains and penalties of perjury!"
I have to
hand it to the IRS for their fantastic conditioning of millions. Millions of
individuals blindly and unthinkingly commit the federal crime of perjury each
year because they file income tax returns that they do not understand and that
they thus could not explain or defend. (Perjury is a serious felony punishable
by a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail term of up to five years, or both--see
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1621.)
The IRS is
very aware of the fact that they have a legal right to use any information
given to them on a 1040 Form. They are also aware that the Privacy Act requires
all government agencies to inform the public about the law and to tell the
public what they might do with the information requested, as well as advise
them of the consequences for disobeying the law. That is why the IRS warns us
that information on tax returns may be given to the Department of Justice.
goes to great lengths in their Privacy Act Notice to create a confusing
situation. After all, they want you to think that you are required to file a
return and at the same time warn you that you are giving them information that
they can use in a criminal case (yours!). The Privacy Act Notice also states
that individuals are required to file a return "...for any tax for which
you are liable." You are referred to IRS Code Sections 6001, 6002 and
6012. Get a copy of the IRS Code in the law library and read those sections. Do
you see where they make you liable to file a return? These sections don't make
you liable, they simply state that if you are liable, then you must file.
Discuss these sections with your attorney. They will have to conclude that in
and of themselves, the language of these sections do not make you liable to pay
an income tax. (The lawmakers didn't simply mis-speak here. Contrast these
sections with Section 5005, for example. This section very clearly specifies
that if you distill or import distilled spirits, such action makes you liable
for the tax.) Your attorney will likely further conclude that you are not
liable for the tax unless and until you voluntarily file a return. Such action
is what assesses or bills you; by signing the bill, you are making a promise to
pay. Again, there is no section in the Internal Revenue Code that generally
makes individuals liable to pay an income tax.
lips (and their written words); the IRS insists it's voluntary!
If you will
look through their literature, you will see that the IRS continually refers to
the income tax as a "voluntary tax." They also say that millions of
individuals voluntarily file returns. Several years ago, I searched through the
entire Internal Revenue Manual and I found numerous instances of the IRS' use
of the word "voluntary" in relation to the filing of income tax
6200 at 6210 states that... "It is the goal of the Internal Revenue
Service to encourage and achieve the highest possible degree of voluntary
compliance with the tax laws..."
at 110 states that... "The primary mission of the Taxpayer Service is to
promote voluntary compliance through education and assistance to
In Part VI,
under Section 6810-Taxpayer Service, it is stated at (13) 31(1)(f) that...
"returns are voluntarily submitted by taxpayers."
Operating Techniques and Reporting Section 6810 at (13) 91(1)(a), the Manual
states: "securing a valid voluntary income tax return from the
Section on IRS Policy Statements at P-4-84, the Manual states: "The
purpose of criminal tax investigations is to enforce the tax laws and to
encourage voluntary compliance."
General Section, at 4022.65(3) it is said that... "When a person indicates
he/she will voluntarily comply but requests that he/she be served..."
Automated Collection Function Procedures at 5535.4, the Manual states that the
IRS may file returns under 6020(b) if the returns are... "not filed voluntarily.")
Webster's Dictionary defines the word voluntary to mean the following:
brought about by one's own free choice; given or done of one's own free will;
freely chosen or undertaken; arising in the mind without external constraint;
spontaneous; in law, (a) action done without compulsion or persuasion.
Privacy Act Notice doesn't mention that the only purpose of the Department of
Justice is to investigate and prosecute crimes. If it did, more folks might
pause and ask why the IRS would be alerting them to the possible sharing of
their individual return information with that prosecutorial agency. I think
this is deceitful: the IRS doesn't really want you to know that you are
providing information that they can use against you. However, they know that
they must have something in print to point to in the event you later try to
claim you were never told that you were waiving the Fifth Amendment protections
of your rights by "volunteering" the information. Note that the Fifth
Amendment states that you cannot be compelled to witness against yourself; and
note further that its protections don't apply if you can be tricked into
voluntarily witnessing against yourself. Doesn't this make you just a teensy
At the risk
of belaboring this point, the IRS would not be required to give the warning
that information may be given to the Department of Justice unless they were
allowed to use information on tax returns in criminal cases. So when we read
the Privacy Act Notice, we should know beyond a doubt that filing returns is
indeed "voluntary" because the IRS is warning us that they can give
the information to the Department of Justice. To say it one more time: when you
send in a tax return, you have been forewarned how the information may be used.
Since, in spite of that warning, you have voluntarily given the information on
the return to the government, you cannot later object if they decide to use it
against you in a criminal prosecution.
the IRS indicts several hundred individuals who have not filed tax returns, in
order to keep a degree of fear alive in the general public and keep them
volunteering. Although the IRS refers to the filing of returns as voluntary,
they have both criminal and civil penalties for those individuals who do not
volunteer. That is why any challenge or stand you make for the truth and the
Bill of Rights is serious business, and why you must know what you are doing.
You are dealing with a corrupt government agency and a major judicial
conspiracy to protect the income tax. The actions of both the IRS and the
courts have the blessing of our elected representatives. That is why this
situation can only be changed by the people themselves.
What Do the Attorneys Say?
an attorney who practices law in Imperial, Nebraska and who has extensively
studied the issues discussed in this book, has the following to say about the
federal tax system and its filing "requirements". Mr. Curtis put his
legal opinion in writing in 1985:
to your letter requesting my legal opinion as an attorney regarding the
voluntary nature of filing an income tax return, I am generally in agreement
with Mr. Rendelman's excellent analysis of the income tax laws. Regarding my
own qualifications and experience, I have served as an elected prosecuting
attorney for over twenty years. In addition, I have handled a number of
criminal tax trials in federal courts as defense attorney.
individual is utterly intimidated by the voluminous 6000 plus pages of the
Internal Revenue Code. It is so vague, confusing and impossible to understand
that even Commissioner Roscoe Egger, Jr., I.R.S., told an audience on November
30, 1984, in Baltimore that: Any tax practitioner, any tax administrator, any
taxpayer who has worked with the Internal Revenue Code knows that it is
probably the biggest "mishmash" of statutes imaginable. Congress,
various Administrations and all the special interest groups have tinkered with
it over the years, and now a huge assortment of special interest and pet
economic theories have been woven into the great hodgepodge that is today's
Internal Revenue Code. IR-84-123, 11-30-84.
President Reagan has attested to the fact that the Code is impossible to understand
(for the average citizen). The President said in a 1984 Associated Press (AP)
Release: The government has the nerve to tell the people of the country, 'you
figure out how much you owe us - and we can't help you because our people don't
understand it either - and if you make a mistake, we'll make you pay a penalty
for making the mistake.'
Court, in Garner vs. U.S., 424 U.S. 648 (1975), held that the information in a
return is, for Fifth Amendment analysis, the testimony of a witness. Therefore,
since no citizen can be compelled to be a "witness" against himself,
any statute that attempted to require a citizen to file a return which could be
so used would be unconstitutional.
I must tell
you that the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Courts have taken
positions that are in conflict with the opinion in this letter. However, in IRS
publication #17, the IRS says that where there is a conflict in the Court
decisions, the IRS will favor the position of the government, not the taxpayer,
even though this policy is a blatant violation of the well established legal
principle that in case of any ambiguity of statutory construction, the doubt
should be resolved in favor of the taxpayer, not the government. See Greyhound
Corp. vs. U.S., 495 F.2d 863 (1974).
tell you not to file an income tax return. As the IRS itself stated in their
Publication 21, you must make this decision.
the critical point as to whether your decision not to file would be
"criminal," that is, in violation of section 7203 depends on your
"intent." Merely proving that you filed to file a return is not
enough. The government must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your
failure to file was "willful." Failing to file a tax return is not a
crime. As stated by Mr. Rendelman, if you reasonably believe in good faith that
you are not required under the law to file a return, then your action cannot be
considered to be "willful" or in "bad faith," even if
you're wrong. By virtue of the fact that you have sought, accepted and relied
upon a professional opinion, your actions ought to be construed as
"reasonable" and "in good faith," not "willful"
or in "bad faith."
Bishop case referred to in Mr. Rendelman's letter, the United States Supreme Court
said that any person who relies upon a prior decision of that Court cannot be
"willful". Consequently, any person relying upon the decision of Flora vs. U.S. which stated that our tax system is
voluntary, cannot be considered to be acting with "willful" or
"evil" intent as formulated in the Bishop case. The Supreme Court in
the Bishop case said, "it is not the purpose of the law to penalize frank
differences of opinion." If the government were to prosecute you without
evidence of willfulness, it would be the same thing as prosecuting you for
murder without having a witness, or even a body.
is entitled to rely on an official interpretation of the law even if mistaken.
See U.S. vs. Barker, 546 F.2d 940 (1976), District of Columbia. In this case,
the Federal Court of Appeals cites the Model Penal Code which states the
defense as follows:
belief that conduct does not legally constitute an offense is a defense to a
prosecution...when (b) he acts in reasonable reliance upon...a judicial decision,...
or... an official interpretation of the public officer charged by law for the
administration or enforcement of the law." Sec. 204 (3)(b).
individual has no patriotic duty to volunteer any more than what the law
requires. The Supreme Court in Gregory vs. Helvering, 293 U.S. 465 said it in
legal right of the taxpayer to decrease the amount of what otherwise would be
his taxes or altogether avoid them by means which the law permits, cannot be
your research and study of the law, and urge you to continue. If you have any
questions, please don't hesitate to call me.
My $50,000.00 Reward
the Fifth Amendment issue for years before I felt positive that the government
has a severe conflict with it and their alleged filing requirement. I am
completely convinced that the government is abusing the Fifth Amendment
severely every time it indicts an individual or civilly penalizes an individual
for not filing a return. It saddens me to think that our government resorts to
skullduggery to get away with such abuse, but unfortunately it is true. Once I
understood the problem, I tried to think up a way that I could call attention
to the situation and at the same time, convince people that I am right. I
decided at that point to offer a $50,000 reward to anyone who could show me:
1. How I could
file a tax return without waiving my rights protected by the Fifth Amendment,
2. The statute in
the Internal Revenue Code which made me liable to pay an income tax.
I started advertising my reward, the famous "palimony" attorney
Melvin Belli applied for the reward. He even threatened to sue me if I did not
send him the $50,000 immediately. Mr. Belli said that the way I could file a
tax return without waiving my rights would be to do it through an attorney such
as himself. He suggested that I give to the attorney my power of attorney to
file returns for me, and also that I give him the money for my taxes, which
would be placed in the attorney's trust account. The attorney would then file
the return and pay the IRS out of his trust fund. The attorney would, however,
file the return with a code number on it known only to me and to him. He would
not put my name and address on the tax return, but simply sign the return as
the preparer, using my power of attorney.
the IRS would then have to come to the attorney to ask him the name of the
individual who was represented by the return. The attorney would stand on
attorney-client privilege and refuse to identify me, thereby preserving my
Fifth Amendment protected rights!
though it seemed like quite a bit of trouble if I were to file in this manner
in order to still preserve my rights, I was pleased with Mr. Belli's answer to
my question because he was so creative. I informed him that he had basically
proven my point: there is definitely a Fifth Amendment problem if filing tax
returns is required.
Mr. Belli that he did not win the reward, however, because if the IRS tried to
prosecute me criminally for "willful failure to file returns"
(Section 7203 of the IR Code), or if the IRS proceeded civilly against me, in
my defense I would ultimately have to put the attorney on the courtroom stand
as my witness and have him testify that he had filed a return for me. Of
course, if I had to have him so testify in order to defend myself, the IRS
would be forcing me to waive my rights supposedly protected by the Fifth
Amendment in order for the IRS to consider my return as filed. I encouraged Mr.
Belli to sue me for the money in order to publicize my point, but he chose not
excellent criminal trial attorney from California, Mr. William Cohan, next
applied for the reward. He explained that he felt one could file a return
without waiving his Fifth Amendment protected rights by filing two returns. The
first return would contain financial information only--no identifying
information. The second return would contain the name and other identifying
information, but indicate Fifth Amendment objections on each and every specific
question concerning income and deductions. I agreed with Mr. Cohen that this
approach would not require me to waive my Fifth Amendment protected rights when
I mailed the returns, but if the IRS proceeded against me, I would have to
testify in my defense that I had mailed returns containing, in toto, all the
information required, and I would have to identify them and at that point I
would be waiving my rights.
years, I am still offering the reward. One individual, a Mr. Charles Ostman,
sued me in Federal Court in Seattle, Washington with an absurd theory of law,
but the judge decided the case in my favor and even granted me my costs. See
Ostman vs. Conklin, Civ. #C92-1371C; USDC Seattle, 1992. (The judge also
referenced contract law in order to set aside Mr. Ostman's objection to me
being the proper arbiter of the reward I offered.)
is that no one can answer my two questions: it is simply impossible for me or
anyone else to file a tax return without waiving Fifth Amendment protected
rights; and there simply is no statute or provision in the Internal Revenue
Code that makes an individual liable to pay the income tax.
part of my reward involves showing me which statute makes me liable to pay an
income tax. There are only two ways that an individual may be made liable and
therefore legally owe an income tax. First, an individual may become liable by
voluntarily filing a tax return; or an individual may become liable if the IRS
files a return for him. However, law requires the IRS to follow definite and
involved procedures if they decide to file a return for an individual who has
not filed; if a knowledgeable person decides he wants to fight such action by
the IRS, he can force the agency to expend a lot of time and energy following
through with their assessment.
My Tenth Circuit Case
in 1985, it took me over seven years of thinking about the Fifth Amendment as
it relates to the income tax to become absolutely convinced that the government
has no legal way around the Fifth Amendment conflict with their alleged
requirement to file 1040 tax returns. If Americans were more concerned about
waiving their Fifth Amendment protected rights, the IRS would no longer be able
to routinely use information on tax returns in criminal tax cases; nor would
they be able to proceed civilly against individuals and later turn the case
into one of criminal prosecution once they obtained enough information civilly
to determine that the case might have criminal potential. As we have seen, law
requires the IRS to warn the public that the agency may use the information
criminally whenever they wish to, but most of us overlook this warning--strangely,
the compliant individual is at much more risk in our convoluted system than the
individual who stands on the constitutional protections of his rights. The only
reason that the present hated tax system continues to work is because individuals
continue to voluntarily waive their rights and file tax returns.
research, I discovered that the court system and the IRS are schizophrenic in
their interpretation of this Fifth Amendment problem. I became bound and
determined to figure out a way to raise the Fifth Amendment issue and to put
the court in a position where it would have to come up with a decision that
would make my point.
when I started to criticize the IRS publicly, the IRS classified me as an
illegal tax protester. I sued the IRS under the Privacy Act to get the
classification removed. I lost in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, but one
judge did rule in my favor with an eloquent opinion that really put the IRS in
its place. Nonetheless I was, by a vote of 2 to 1 of the Appeals Court panel,
branded an illegal tax protester for the rest of my life. This was primarily
because I had dared to criticize an agency that deserves criticizing.
dissented in my case, Conklin vs. IRS (an unpublished case, circa 1982) with
his opinion from U.S. vs. Amon, 669 F.2d 1351 (1981) which follows:
clear that IRS activities with regard to tax protesters extend well beyond the
manifestly permissible policy of using admissions of a crime against the
criminal, to the suspect policy of punishing political protesters--or in other
words, of punishing citizens for exercising a right which is front and center
to the First Amendment. Indeed, if the objective of the IRS were only to
prosecute the more serious or frequent violators of the tax laws, the word
'protester' would be irrelevant. As the trial court found, the object of the
selectivity is to shut up the 'outspoken.'
for determining whether a prosecution is unconstitutionally selective is
two-pronged. To support a selective prosecution claim a defendant bears a heavy
burden of establishing, at least prima facie (1) that he has been singled out
for prosecution, and (2) that the selectivity for prosecution was invidious or
in bad faith, and that it was based on such impermissible considerations as
race, religion, or the desire to prevent or inhibit the exercise of such
constitutional rights as free speech...
the IRS declared (and the court believed) that it intended to select and
silence outspoken 'tax protesters.' Thus, both the fact of selectivity and its
motivation to silence the outspoken are proved by direct evidence. I find it
impossible to believe that the