Weeding The Garden
Shining A Little Disinfecting Sunlight Into The Law-Defier's Toadstool Factory
The American legal landscape has become a tangled mess. Once a well-tended garden, it is now an ugly, weed-infested disgrace in which evil things find plenty of places to lurk, grow, and be used against the people. It is up to those of us who cherish the rule of law and take our responsibilities to our posterity seriously to correct this problem by pulling the weeds and making clear that error and lies will not be tolerated.
This will happen by CtC-educated Americans, who have learned how to read the law, and how to research precedents accurately, taking charge of the legal landscape. In legal contests with the enemies of the law, the good guys need to debunk every inapposite citation deployed against them and keep the courts honest and on-point, something too many in the legal profession apparently abandoned long ago for reasons of their own.
In order to facilitate this effort, I'm setting up this special space in which to post material debunking abused and misconstrued "precedents" such as the 'Lovell' rulings, 'Latham', 'Sullivan' and all the rest. These junk- and misrepresented-rulings litter government legal filings and have too often been taken by courts (without investigation) as actually standing for the proposition in the context of which they are cited, even though knowledgeable examination actually proves this to be untrue.
I'm inviting and encouraging every Warrior to take on the task of pulling at least a few weeds by subjecting one or more cases used as "precedent" by government lawyers and "ignorance tax" beneficiaries to proper analysis and investigation, and then sending the results to WeedWhackers (at) losthorizons.com (fix the email address appropriately when sending). In a short time, we should have a large collection of ready-for-prime-time, ACCURATE material concerning these cases, able to be used by anyone facing government corruption in a courtroom.
I hope you'll all dive in here and contribute to this project. Submissions should be in html format, and should include the full text of the case being analyzed and any preceding cases cited within the misused ruling (going back in like manner as far as necessary). Analysis should focus on claims of authority within the subject ruling which are not actually supported by the references cited, if any (which could be "case law" or statutes), or claims and conclusions actually contradicted by logic, Constitution, statutes or other rulings (which should be included in the submission). Layout should be:
It's our law, people, but only if we take charge of it. For far too long, the American people have left care of this oh-so-important resource to our competitors, who have unsurprisingly twisted it to their own purposes. There's a lot of truth in the old adage that says if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, and it's hard to imagine too many areas where it's more important that things be done right.
BTW: As you read what follows, don't ever lose sight of the fact that the false authorities revealed here are relied upon because there ARE no actual authorities supporting what those who use them want to be imagined true.
THIS 1991 7th CIRCUIT CASE is cited for presentation of this excerpt: ""All individuals, natural or unnatural, must pay federal income tax on their wages," regardless of whether they requested, obtained or exercised any privilege from the federal government."As we will see, though these words appear in the ruling, they do not stand as authority for what they appear to when only seen out of context.
Going to the ruling, we quickly discover that Sloan was anything but CtC-educated. (This is obvious from the 1991 date of the case, of course, but much more so when Sloan's many possibly-well-meaning but baseless and confused arguments are examined.)
Among other things, Sloan suffered from the "Show me the law!" syndrome. He apparently argued that "the revenue laws of the United States do not impose a tax on income". At least the 7th Circuit panel declares this to be his position. The panel goes on to say that, "Sloan cites Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 842-43, 104 S.Ct. 2778, 2781, 81 L.Ed.2d 694 (1984), for the proposition that the tax code provisions establishing an income tax are an unlawful agency interpretation of a statute because the Congress clearly did not intend to impose a tax on income."
The appellate panel continues: "Also basic to Mr. Sloan's "freedom from income tax theory" is his contention that he is not a citizen of the United States, but rather, that he is a freeborn, natural individual, a citizen of the State of Indiana, and a "master"--not "servant"--of his government. As a result, he claims that he is not subject to the jurisdiction of the laws of the United States." Here is where we get to the mis-represented excerpt, with the panel going on to say: "This strange argument has been previously rejected as well. "All individuals, natural or unnatural, must pay federal income tax on their wages," regardless of whether they requested, obtained or exercised any privilege from the federal government."
But of course, this is not the end of the story...
First of all, and simplest, we can take note of the confused mix of terms in this declaration. "All individuals... ...must pay federal income tax on their wages,..." Read in the context of the tax, there is no question that "wage-receipt" invokes the tax. Had the court said "on their earnings", we would be given pause a moment longer. But it did not, even though that expression, were it true, would be far more useful a statement for any court to make in any effort to slap down those pesky and intransigent "tax protestors".
Second, we can note that the panel doesn't end there-- it goes on to cite the case from which this excerpted language is actually borrowed: Lovell v. United States, 755 F.2d 517 (7th Cir. 1984), and references yet another case to illustrate the point that the Lovell excerpt and citation was really intended to address: "cf. Studley, 783 F.2d at 937 (Studley's argument that "she is not a 'taxpayer' because she is an absolute, freeborn and natural individual ... is frivolous. An individual is a 'person' under the Internal Revenue Code.")."
It is revealed, then, that the Sloan panel is not itself making some kind of declaration about "privilege", as those deploying the excerpt from this ruling means to be imagined. Instead, the Sloan panel is citing the Lovell language for its rebuttal of the "I'm a "natural person" and therefore not subject to the tax" nonsense (which is a product of the "income is only corporate [read: artificial person] profit" error).
So, Sloan doesn't really say the "privilege" thing, but Lovell does, right? Well, that's not actually true, either...
THIS 1984 7th CIRCUIT CASE is cited as authority for the proposition that the "income tax" is not an excise on gains from the exercise of privilege (and therefore, by implication, that is must be a tax on undistinguished economic activity-- that is, ALL economic activity). Here is the language from the ruling relied on for this purpose, as typically presented (when any is presented at all):
You'll notice the "[citation omitted]" after the "privilege"-related assertion in this excerpt. That omitted citation is to Holker v. United States, 737 F.2d 751 (8th Cir. 1984). This is the case allegedly relied upon by the Lovell court as providing the authority for its otherwise unsupported declaration about "privilege". However, upon examination is turns out the Holker court not only also doesn't supply any authority for the contention made in Lovell, it doesn't address the issue at all. Here is that ruling in its entirety:
Before HEANEY, Circuit Judge, FLOYD R. GIBSON, Senior Circuit Judge, and ARNOLD, Circuit Judge.
Louis E. Holker was assessed a $500 penalty under 26 U.S.C. Sec. 6702 for filing a frivolous tax return. He then commenced this suit under 26 U.S.C. Sec. 6703(c)(2) for abatement of this assessment. The district court granted the government's motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) and we affirm.
In a letter to the IRS, Holker requested a tax refund for 1982, arguing that he owed no tax because he is a "natural individual and unenfranchised freeman" who "neither requested, obtained nor exercised any privilege from any agency of government." Holker enclosed with this letter an unsigned Form 1040 marked "NOT A TAX RETURN--For information only," two W-2 forms marked "INCORRECT," and a Schedule C profit and loss statement. On Schedule C, Holker claims to be in "construction" and he lists, among other things, gross receipts of over $15,000 which were also deducted as labor costs (despite directions in Schedule C not to include salary that the taxpayer paid to himself).
Under 26 U.S.C. Sec. 6702, the questions presented to this Court are whether Holker filed "what purports to be a return" but which contains insufficient information by which the substantial correctness of the self-assessment may be judged or which contains information that on its face indicates that the self-assessment is substantially incorrect; and, if so, whether filing the purported return is due to a position which is frivolous. As the district court correctly noted, these are issues of law for the court to decide. See United States v. Grabinski, 727 F.2d 681, 686 (8th Cir.1984) (citing United States v. Moore, 627 F.2d 830, 834 (7th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 450 U.S. 916, 101 S.Ct. 1360, 67 L.Ed.2d 342 (1981)).
Although Holker denies having filed any document that purports to be a tax return, his argument is meritless. Taxpayers may not obtain refunds without first filing returns. 26 C.F.R. Sec. 301.6402-3(a)(1) (1983). With Holker's refund request to the IRS, he appended a Form 1040 and W-2 statements. Under the circumstances, we can only construe these documents as elements of a purported return. Nichols v. United States, 575 F.Supp. 320, 322 (D.Minn.1983). Any other construction of section 6702 would flout the intent of Congress to penalize any individual filing a frivolous return. See S.Rep. No. 97-494, 97th Cong., 2d Sess., reprinted in 1982 U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 781, 1024.
Holker's return facially indicates that his self-assessment is incorrect and that his position is frivolous. His W-2 forms show his receipt of wages totaling $15,060.96, yet he reported no wages on his Form 1040. His unexplained designation of his W-2 forms as "INCORRECT" and his attempt to deduct his wages as his cost of labor on Schedule C also establish the frivolousness and incorrectness of his position. See Funk v. Commissioner, 687 F.2d 264, 265 (8th Cir.1982) (designation of wages received for services as untaxable income is frivolous).
Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is affirmed on the basis of 8th Cir.R. 14.
The Holker court recites Holker's argument that he should get a refund of amounts withheld because (as he says) "he is a "natural individual and unenfranchised freeman" who "neither requested, obtained nor exercised any privilege from any agency of government."" But the court in no way proceeds to analyze or even refer a single time further to this argument. It neither accepts nor disagrees with the argument, instead [carefully? who knows...] stepping right past it.
In fact, the Holker court DOES declare what it DOES actually find to be "frivolous" about Holker's filing, and his "privilege-related" position is notable by its absence: "Holker's return facially indicates that his self-assessment is incorrect and that his position is frivolous. His W-2 forms show his receipt of wages totaling $15,060.96, yet he reported no wages on his Form 1040. His unexplained designation of his W-2 forms as "INCORRECT" and his attempt to deduct his wages as his cost of labor on Schedule C also establish the frivolousness and incorrectness of his position."
Thus, even without bothering to address the larger features distinguishing the Lovell case as concerning a mass of misunderstandings by Lovell more than adequately setting up the appellate panel to blithely do drive-bys on all of them without care or regard for accuracy, as revealed in the circuit court's summary:
...the plain fact is that the Lovell court actually cites a false authority to support its therefore empty words.
The same is true of the Lovell court's declaration that, "Plaintiffs also contend that the Constitution prohibits imposition of a direct tax without apportionment. They are wrong; it does not. U. S. Const. amend. XVI--" .
In support of THIS contention, the Lovell court relies on Parker v. Comm'r, 724 F.2d 469, (5th Cir. 1984). There, we find the following: "The Supreme Court promptly determined in Brushaber... that the sixteenth amendment provided the needed constitutional basis for the imposition of a direct non-apportioned income tax.” Proceeding to Brushaber, we find that what that Supreme Court ACTUALLY said is:
and to suggest the contrary would be idiotic (okay, they didn't use the word "idiotic"...), because that would cause:
So, the 5th circuit was flatly wrong in its declaration in Parker, and the 7th circuit has actually cited no authority for its own declaration in Lovell. And yet, this Lovell excerpt is presented as authority for the contention that "the courts have ruled" against the issue of "privilege" as an element of the "income" tax, and that the 16th amendment authorized a non-apportioned tax on what had been taxable only by apportionment prior to the amendment.
The IRS (and other tax agencies) have relied for decades on excerpts from two rulings-- United States v. Latham, 754 F.2d 747 (7th Cir. 1985) and Sullivan v. United States, 788 F.2d 813 (1st Cir. 1986)-- to suggest judicial support for several of its frivolous "arguments" concerning the meaning of "employee", "wages" and "includes". However, neither of these excerpts actually say what the tax agencies use them to infer-- in fact, both explicitly and carefully AVOID saying what the agencies hope they will be misunderstood to say. This doesn't stop the agencies from doing their best to make lemonade out of lemons, though: These excerpts have been cited scores of times in IRS/DOJ briefs in other tax cases, and in virtually every "Answer to Frivolous Arguments" publication the 'service' churns out; and they have been used as the precedential foundation for a number of subsequent-- and thus, equally meaningless-- rulings in various courts.
Simple logic deals with the first of these cases, in which the Latham Court makes the vague definitions-related-non-statement that an "[argument] that under 26 USC §3401(c) the category of ‘employee’ does not include privately employed wage earners is a preposterous reading of the statute”. This snippet is presented in the hope that it will be misunderstood to be a declaration that "all workers" (or everyone meeting the common, non-specialized, dictionary-definition of 'employee') are included in the custom definition of the legal term "employee" provided in 26 USC §3401.
However, notwithstanding the intense desire of the tax agencies that this be misunderstood, and despite the apparent intention of the Latham Court to sow confusion by the use of the most awkward phraseology possible, this facile declaration plainly DOES NOT say the category of ‘employee’ under 26 USC §3401(c) INCLUDES ALL WORKERS-- which, of course, it doesn’t, or “employee” WOULDN'T HAVE a special definition provided in the law itself, as any freshman law school student understands. (Nor would "federal employees" be specifically listed in that special definition, as, in fact, they are and always have been-- which by itself is insurmountable evidence that the custom-defined term "employees" DOESN'T simply mean 'employees' as commonly defined, or 'employees'-as-commonly-defined-plus-the-listed-additions.) Instead, the court's declaration explicitly and carefully AVOIDS saying these things.
In fact, the court goes on to say, "It is obvious that within the context... ...the word "includes" is a term of enlargement not of limitation, and the reference to certain entities or categories is not intended to exclude all others." Since under the rule of construction applying to "includes" (26 USC §7701(c)) the term allows for limited expansion to other things not listed but of like kind and class as those which are, this declaration is certainly correct. In that sense, and to that degree, "includes" IS a "term of enlargement". It is simply not a term of "unlimited enlargement", and the court tacitly admits this with its careful wording, "...not intended to exclude all others." (Emphasis added.) As the court says, the reference to certain categories isn't intended to exclude ALL others, but at the same time, that the term "employee" is defined in the statute at all makes inescapably plain that it isn't intended to INCLUDE all others, either, because if it was meant to cover everybody meeting the standard dictionary definition of 'employee', it wouldn't have been given a statutory definition in the first place. The court's careful language makes no effort to dispute this fact.
When a statute includes an explicit definition, we must follow that definition, even if it varies from that term's ordinary meaning." Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000)
The quoted language doesn’t even clarify what is meant by “privately employed wage earners”, for that matter-- a “depends-on-what-the-meaning-of-“is”-is escape hatch big enough to navigate a bound edition of the tax code through due to the fact that "wage" is a custom defined, inherently-limited term in the tax law itself. That is, if the Latham court meant to be understood as using the term "wages" as it is defined in the law, then anyone earning them could only be said to be "privately employed" if "privately" is meant in a carefully nuanced way (as in, "I may be an officer of this federally-controlled corporation, but I'm here looking out for my own interests, and my pay-check goes into my own bank account..."). Nothing more of this "best-we-have-to-work-with" case need be considered here, as this vapid and meaningless excerpt of dicta is the only thing from it the agencies attempt to exploit (in apparent reliance on their target audience being incapable of clear thinking).
Regarding the "Sullivan" ruling, the snippet presented by the tax agency is as follows:
As is the case in Latham, even on its face this excerpt says nothing of any significance. Saying that, "The statute does not purport to limit withholding to the persons listed therein," is in no way the same as saying that "Withholding applies to everybody, period," although this is how the tax agencies would like this language to be understood. In fact, "The statute does not purport to limit withholding to the persons listed therein," is language which explicitly and carefully AVOIDS saying: "Withholding applies to everybody, period."
The language here does happen to be technically accurate, though. Due to the meaning of "includes" in these statutes-- itself a custom defined term-- the definition of "employee" cited by the Sullivan Court is capable of limited expansion. As is helpfully clarified by the Department of Treasury:
Nonetheless, this remains a far cry from, "Withholding applies to everybody, period." Instead, it translates only to, "Withholding [under 3401(c)] DOES NOT apply to everyone-- only those listed and others that might also belong in the class established by the characteristics of those listed" (which is to say, members of the federal workforce, in this case). Again, the very fact that misleading, empty nonsense such as this is what the tax agencies must rely upon in attempting to suggest universal applicability of the "income" tax emphasizes the complete lack of substance in that ridiculous contention.
Interestingly (due to the IRS having grasped at it in an effort to obscure the truth about the tax), the Sullivan ruling has more to offer than merely demonstrating the IRS's inability to substantiate what it would like everyone to believe about the law. Actually reading the ruling in its entirety makes clear that it is not only completely inapposite to any CtC-educated filing, but it actually supports the accuracy what is taught about the law and the "income" tax structure in the book, and the discussions of the actual meaning of a statutory "frivolous return" in CtC, here and elsewhere on this site. This is amply demonstrated by the following portions of the ruling:
Clearly, the IRS effort to gin up "case-law" support for its preferred misunderstanding of the law is an exercise in futility when deployed against anyone willing to go to the trouble to look and think beyond the superficial. This is particularly true as regards the "words of art" issues on which we are focusing here. See the detailed discussion of the "includes" mechanism in 'The Law Means What It Says' for an accurate presentation of the reigning Supreme Court doctrine regarding these matters.
That said, though, it is worth keeping in mind that a specific point-by-point correction of these efforts to mislead isn't actually necessary. It is enough to simply point out that unapportioned capitations are prohibited. ANY construction of the term "includes" (and any other term in which it is used, OR ANY OTHER STATUTORY ELEMENT AT ALL) which would suggest that an unapportioned capitation has been imposed is clearly and inarguably a misconstruction of the statute (otherwise the statute would be inherently invalid and void). No further analysis is really required. This is one of the "light bulb moment" perceptions important for those still struggling with their grasp of the overall "income" tax subject.
Finally, when the courts aren't conscious of an interest in obfuscation as in Sullivan and Latham (where both exploiting and sustaining confusion about the meaning of "includes" appears to have been very much on the judge's minds), they are capable of perfect clarity on the point, as is revealed in the following excerpt from the July 18, 2008 newsletter 'Tax Tip':
IT'S A SHAME AND A DISGRACE that this merits posting, frankly. However, the chronic obfuscation by federal courts and federal agencies on this subject makes a slip like the one suffered by the Sixth Circuit in an opinion issued 8 July worthy of note, and of interest to those working to restore the rule of law in America.
In the opinion, Mobley v. C.I.R. (6th Circuit No. 07-2019), the three-judge panel ruminates over whether a definition of “courts” referred to in 28 USC 1631 could encompass the Tax Court. The definition involved is from 28 USC § 610- Courts defined:
Weighing various different approaches to considering the question, the panel observes that, "One might think, for example, that all of the "include[d]" courts listed in section 610 are Article III courts, which would exclude the Tax Court-- an Article I court." That is, the panel admits that if all the courts listed in the statutory definition were courts of the Article III class, those of other classes-- despite being well within the common meaning of "courts"-- would necessarily be recognized as being EXCLUDED from the meaning of “courts” for the purposes of this statute.
The panel goes on to point out that, in fact, an Article I court-- the Court of Federal Claims-- IS listed in the definition, and so Tax Court can qualify as included within the meaning of the statutory term "courts" despite not being listed (but only for this reason). This is precisely the doctrine of statutory construction applicable to definitions using “includes” in the internal revenue laws, as explicitly expressed by statute:
“Includes and including: The terms ''includes'' and ''including'' when used in a definition contained in this title shall not be deemed to exclude other things otherwise within the meaning of the term defined.” Rev. Act of 1938 §901(b) (Codified at 26 USC 7701(c),
and as reflected in various Treasury Department interpretations of this statute over the years:
26 CFR 170.59 and 27 CFR 72.11- Meaning of Terms: "The terms “includes and including” do not exclude things not enumerated which are in the same general class."
Ultimately, the panel concludes that Tax Court doesn’t qualify as a “court” within the meaning of section 1631 (for other reasons), but has made refreshingly clear that despite the relentless efforts by everyone's favorite alphabet agency to evade this standard reality of statutory construction and interpretation, "includes" remains reflexively and accurately recognized by the federal courts as a device of limited expansion.
(Interestingly, the standardized character of this rule as to the "limited expansion" meaning of "includes" finds particularly explicit expression elsewhere in Title 28, by way of the special chapter-level exception made in 28 USC 3003:
Similarly, Title 26 itself contains numerous explicit exceptions to the statutory meaning of the terms "includes" and "including", adding the qualifying language "but is not limited to" or "but not limited to" in various places in the tax code where "includes" and "including" are deployed. This by itself is enough to make clear to anyone with more than a fifth-grade level of comprehension that the only expansion or enlargement provided by the language of 26 USC 7701(c) IS INHERENTLY LIMITED. If it were not, there would be no point in adding "but is not limited to" anywhere, because that would be already true of the term "includes" to which that excepting language has been attached.)
Click here for the Mobley opinion.
Frankly, I could devote an entire page-- maybe a book-- to misrepresentations of "case-law" by LexisNexis. I have seen many, and they are important because attorneys on both sides of a case often resort to LexisNexis for a "cliff-notes" rendering of precedents on a point of law. (Judges may well do the same.) This is sheer laziness, and leads to completely mistaken or outright bogus conclusions such as those discussed elsewhere on this page.
No attorney should ever use this service. A competent attorney bringing integrity to his or her job will always follow the rules of case analysis laid out above.
Anyway, while I may write that book eventually, for the moment I will just present one misrepresentation made by the service in its offering of precedents concerning the term "person" as statutorily defined at 26 U.S.C. § 6671(b).
The statutory definition reads:
Now, read without craft and corruption, this definition plainly confines "persons" (as the term is used in the subchapter) to the class described by the examples given (officer[s] or employee[s] of a corporation, or a member[s] or employee[s] of a partnership, who as such officer[s], employee[s], or member[s] [are] under a duty to perform the act in respect of which the violation occurs), per the "includes" rule of construction at 26 U.S.C. § 7701(c):
This rule is explained by the Treasury Department as:
Here’s how the United States Supreme Court explains the rule:
However, in its lead "precedent" presented concerning the meaning of "person" under 6671(b), LexisNexis offers this:
This is a completely misleading rendering of what the Ninth Circuit actually said in Pacific National.
Here is what the Pacific court REALLY said:
Pacific National Insurance Co. v. United States, 422 F.2d 26 (9th Cir.) (1970) (Emphasis added.)
The misleading LexisNexis rendering of this ruling: "Definition of "person" in 26 USCS § 6671 is not restricted to class of persons specifically listed," virtually guarantees that this ruling will be incorrectly taken as holding that the definition of "person" does not confine its meaning to those within the class described in the definition. This would mean, of course, that the court said the meaning of "person" as used in the subchapter is not confined at all by the definition.
This is plainly wrong. What the Pacific court ACTUALLY said is merely that the class described in the definition is bigger than just the officers, employees and members specifically enumerated-- it also embraces others who are under the same duty:
An accurate "cliff-note" rendering of Pacific would read: "Definition of "person" in 26 USCS § 6671 includes those sharing the characteristics of relevant duty with the enumerated examples; the class of "persons" defined by the statute is that of persons under such a duty, whether technically an officer, employee, or member of the entity in regard to which the duty arises."
Accurately rendered, it is clear that the Pacific ruling plainly and properly confines the meaning of "person" as used in 26 U.S.C. Chapter 68, Subchapter B- Assessable Penalties, contrary to what is so strongly suggested by (and easily misread into) the LexisNexis misrepresentation of this ruling. STAY AWAY FROM LEXISNEXIS!!
By the way, it is also clear that, accurately rendered, the Pacific ruling fully supports, and can be read in no way other than as acknowledgement of, the accurately limited meaning of "includes". The Pacific court clearly construes "includes" not as an "also includes" supplement of some other, broader definition, but merely as permitting limited expansion of a definition to objects not mentioned but within the class actually illustrated by the examples given (which is not the class of the examples themselves, but of what they exemplify)-- and therefore, axiomatically, to no one outside that illustrated class-- just as the authorities say:
For more on this subject, and how the Pacific ruling has been cited in other proceedings to illustrate the proper understanding of "includes" and the limited meaning of "person" in statutory definitions like that of 6671(b), click here. For more on "includes" generally, see this.
PROPER UNDERSTANDING OF LEGAL ISSUES can wither by many different causes. The most obnoxious cause is sheer judicial stupidity which goes not only unchallenged but is treated as a precedent upon which a wholly-errant doctrine is founded. An example of this can be seen in the ruling in In re Meador, 16 F. Cas. 1294 (ND Ga. 1869), concerning the authority granted under section 49 of the revenue act of 1868 for the federal government to to "examine all persons, books, papers, accounts and premises", and to compel persons to appear, and to produce books and records, in order to ascertain the correctness of a return.
The Meadors had challenged this authority as repugnant to the Constitution's Fourth Amendment when exercised without a warrant. The court hearing the case ruled otherwise, based on mistaking the meaning of a ruling ten years prior:
AS IS READILY SEEN, the Meador court mistakes the Robinson court as having declared warrants to be unnecessary in searches conducted pursuant to investigations for purposes of civil prosecutions. The court seems to think the Founders were fine with the idea of government agents rooting through someone's stuff at will, as long as they were only looking for tax-related contraband (precisely the use of the "general warrants" and "writs of assistance" against which the Fourth Amendment was most specifically provided).
In fact, all Robinson actually says regarding civil actions is that private citizens can't deploy search warrants pursuant to their civil litigations. The Robinson court's further declaration that warrants can only be used in criminal prosecutions isn't a statement that searches can be conducted for other reasons, and without warrants, to boot; on the contrary, it is a statement consistent with the Founders' plain and well-settled doctrine on the Fourth Amendment principle that searches can only be conducted at all if pursuant to criminal investigations (and based on sworn declarations by competent witnesses alleging what will be found and where)". Nonetheless, the Meador court uses this ruling as authority for the proposition that "civil" searches are lawful, and need nothing but a tax examiner's curiosity as their basis.
This is a classic case of "garbage in, garbage out", with the "out" taking the form of many decades of judicial doctrine that no warrants were needed for a search, as long as the search was not pursuant to an ongoing criminal investigation! Here, then, is another in an endless list of available examples of why nothing coming out of any court should ever be automatically accorded the least respect or significance as to the competent determination of a point of law.
Interestingly, court issuing the Meador ruling availed itself of a pretextual escape hatch a few pages later in its ruling:
With this reasoning, the court puts itself on arguably valid ground for deeming enforcement of the examiner's actions not a Fourth Amendment violation, and perhaps is signaling its own recognition of the flaws in its earlier declaration. But this hedge was overlooked by courts subsequently citing to the ruling as precedent for finding warrantless "civil" searches Constitutional, resulting in a simple, errant and enduring doctrine that searches conducted for ostensibly "civil' purposes simply have no meaningful Fourth Amendment implications.
The IRS and DOJ routinely cite to a 1975 Tax Court ruling, Hartman v. Commissioner, 65 T.C. 542 (1975) (or subsequent cases which cite to Hartman)-- a "deficiency" case concerning a non-filer in which it was held that no 6020(b) was required for a deficiency proceeding to go forward when no return had been filed-- for the proposition that a[n actual] 6020(b) return need not be signed under penalties of perjury. But though the ruling of this agency court does indeed say these words (purely as a disposal of an irrelevant contention, since neither a 1040 nor a 6020(b) return was involved in the case), it does so in a complete obfuscation of the truth, which is that while 6020(b) doesn't impose the oath obligation itself, that obligation is imposed on 6020(b) returns by action of 26 U.S.C. § 6065.
Further, the rambling on this point conflates two different issues, reflecting confusion probably borrowed from Hartman, who apparently argued that the 6020(b) language somehow imposed a requirement for a signature under oath for mere deficiency determinations and findings:
Hartman v. Commissioner, 65 T.C. 542 (1975)
Can't argue with the court about the meaning of "subscribed" by itself, but of course that subscription must be made in conformity with other rules, one of which is found in 26 U.S.C. § 6065 and does impose the oath requirement on 6020(b) returns. In short, the citation of this case by government attorneys is just corrupt lawyering in an effort to abuse a non-precedential judicial expression of ignorance or corruption, done in the hope that their opponent won't know enough to debunk this phony claim of authority for a proposition that is actually false..
Contributed by Dave Scotese
Citation being misrepresented: May v. Commissioner, 752 F.2d 1301, 85-1 U.S. Tax Cas. 9156 (8th Cir. 1985). The misrepresentation is that May made a meaningful assertion in a tax court petition that because he "enjoys no grant of privilege or franchise", he is not liable for federal income tax, and that this was addressed as a point of law by the appellate court and rejected.
What’s wrong with this picture: The court did NOT reject the argument about privilege. In fact, the court deliberately avoided mentioning that argument even when listing others in May's petition to tax court.
May engaged in frivolous litigation while also making an honest claim that would have been honored if not for the frivolous litigation and his failure to properly rebut presumptions created by information returns. Alleging something in a complaint that happens to be true does not require that the court find in favor of the complainant.
The court determined his complaint was frivolous, saying, in the first paragraph of the "Background" section, that "On July 22, May filed an amended petition contesting the deficiency determination in which he asserted, inter alia, that he is not subject to federal income tax because the Internal Revenue Code contains no definition of ‘income’; that his income for these years was derived solely from wages which is neither "gain" nor "profit" subject to the federal income tax; that the filing of a tax return is voluntary and he did not "volunteer to self-assess himself" for the years in question; and that the Commissioner violated the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a (1982), an act of fraud which vitiates his obligation to comply with any act."
May had indeed asserted all the points the court lists above. But he also declared in his petition that he "has received nothing during the years in question of a known tangible value that qualified as income and enjoys no grant of privilege or franchise," and this assertion the court specifically declines to identify as one to which its ruling is addressed. It is therefore false to present this as a ruling standing for the rejection of this point.
Further, even if the court HAD acknowledged the point, its failure to award May a victory simply because he had made this assertion is NOT a "rejection" of the "privilege" point. First of all, May was a non-filer in regard to the years involved here. Thus, he had failed to make his "privilege" assertion where it had legal substance-- on 1040s addressing these years. On the contrary, he had acquiesced to the unrebutted assertions of "information returns" that he HAD exercised privilege. Saying he hadn't years later and only in a tax court petition was legally-meaningless, and in no way dispositive of the case in his favor.
Further still, according to the appellate court's characterization of May's argument, he admitted even in his petition that he had received "wages". The court was therefore bound to judge his petition to be "frivolous" and without merit, because the legal definition of "wages" in Title 26 implies the exercise of privilege (and the creation of a tax liability). The court needed nothing more; even had May's "privilege" point been considered by the court, rather than not, this "wage" assertion contradicted it.