The Irrelevance and Futility Of "Common-Law" Arguments*
...and why they are actually harmful to individual adherents and to the cause...
HERE IT IS IN A NUTSHELL, PEOPLE: Allegations about someone having profitably used government stuff-- whether made on "information returns" like W-2s and 1099s or otherwise-- invoke the presumption that the allegee has agreed (or in any event is properly subject) to myriad related obligations of reporting, self-assessment and liability to the government for its piece of the action, letting papers and records get poked through, criminal penalties for certain behaviors, etc.. In short, if a W-2 or 1099 is created about you saying that you chose to engage in taxable activities in excess of the relevant exemption amounts, it also says that you have (effectively) agreed to be bound by every statute and regulation associated with the tax.
This is straightforward enough, I think. No one has great difficulty grasping this. After all, since income-taxable activities all involve the exercise of federal privilege, there is nothing surprising about the fact that exercising it comes with some strings, particularly reporting requirements. Thus, if you are said to have done the exercising and reaped enough of a benefit, you are also being said, automatically, to have (effectively agreed to) become bound by the adverse obligations, just as someone who says you went swimming is also saying you chose to get wet.
Now for the part that those fixated on "common-law solutions" just can't get: Extricating oneself from that thicket of presumed statutory obligations can only be accomplished by going through the statutory door provided for that purpose.
I know, it's galling. But it's also rational, in its perverse way. A sworn allegation has been made about you, on the basis of which you are deemed subject to a batch of statutory requirements. That statutory structure, by which, remember, you are at this point presumed bound, allows for one exclusive means by which you can say "No, it didn't happen, I'm not bound by any of this." Until this gets said in the particular fashion that the administrators of the structure are legally authorized and required to recognize, why would-- or even should-- those administrators (and the entire apparatus of the state with which they are associated) decline to treat you as bound by the structure?
It's this simple: Unless and until you rebut the initial allegations of your having done what calls the structure down upon you, you are subject to that structure, and the only way to make that rebuttal is as provided-for by the structure. At that point, you are in their building, and you can only leave by their door.
No amount of "common-law" pleading or protests or citations of "Roman civil" practices or "acceptances for value" or denials of what one imagines to be citizenship or residency infirmities or anything else is going to do anything for you. If there were no door provided, you would have a case for your contrary arguments. The basic principles of law require that there be a door. But when there is one, it is the only recourse.
Understand, until you go through the statutory door, you are presumed to be in a relationship with the state to which "common-law" and all the rest is irrelevant. Attempting to use such arguments or instruments might buy some time now and then for some folks, while the bureaucracy tries to figure out whether whatever got said or sent could be taken as relevant to, or satisfaction of, some statutory requirement, but that all. Such things will not serve as the exit door.
In the case of the income tax, that door is a 1040 (and sometimes specific rebuttal documents oriented toward specific allegations). Nothing you do will afford you any relief except saying your piece on that piece of paper. If any other piece of paper could do it, it would only be because it duplicates the 1040 in every functional respect, meaning that it IS a 1040, legally. (See here for more on this, and discover that it actually doesn't matter whether a 1040 is used, what matters is what gets said.)
And when you do submit that 1040, you win. If allegations about you having engaged in taxable activities are incorrect, saying so on a 1040 is your ticket to freedom.
Trying to say so in any other way is an exercise in futility. Ultimately, the tax bill will come due, for the necessary "No!" will not have been said in the manner in which the collectors are able to hear it.
THIS BRINGS US TO PART TWO-- why keeping you from saying what's true on a 1040 is second only to keeping you from knowing what's true on the hierarchy of critical tasks for the ignorance-tax-scamsters (now that the truth is out there).
The most successful trick in the scammers' book is the false notion regularly injected into the communities who tend to go for the "common-law" silver-bullet will-o-the-wisps that saying the door-opening truth on a 1040 somehow has the opposite of its actual effect, and somehow validates the allegation that began the process. It's hard to imagine a more clever lie.
What could better accomplish the tax-scammers' goal of keeping you from walking through the "out" door than convincing you that it's really a door from the frying pan into the fire? That's why the myths that the tax is "status"-based (rather than activity-based, as it really is) and that a 1040 is only for use by a variety of person who is subject to the tax (and that using it constitutes evidence of that status) have been being steadily injected into circulation for years, and never more vigorously than since the advent of CtC.**
Happily, an army of CtC-educated Americans has been massively disproving the myths about the nature of the tax and the use of 1040s for more than a decade now. This, in turn, is why there has been another myth-project for a good part of that decade devoted to convincing people that those who walk through the door to freedom have actually done wrong under the law and will suffer dire consequences for their temerity.
The rebuttal of this myth is also readily at hand. One powerful rebuttal to that myth is the fact that every single CtC-educated claim is thoroughly vetted by the government before being honored. Plainly, not one of these claims, which in almost every case show no earnings whatever reported as "income", and yet which frequently show and reclaim amounts withheld, including Social Security and Medicare 'contributions" and everything else-- in their entirety-- ever is or ever could be issued by mistake. Further, even were mistakes possible, the idea that such mistakes would be repeated hundreds of thousands of times, by federal and state tax agencies alike, and for 12 years now without interruption, is utterly ludicrous.
These refunds are issuing because they are correct in substance, and because the claims for them-- made as they are on those scary 1040s-- are proper walks through the real "out" door.
Then there are the even more dramatically-definitive rebuttals of the CtC-is-wrong-and-will-lead-to-trouble myth found in the handful of cases in which a real effort is made by the tax agencies to cow a CtC-educated filer into rescission after their educated "No" has been properly spoken. The clarity of the event, and the dramatic dis-ambiguity of the outcome makes these episodes of such a character as to constitute even more than the passive acknowledgements of vetted refund claims being honored. These resistance-and-then-surrender episodes constitute express declarations by the government of the correctness of CtC. (See some examples here, here and here.)
LET'S NOT FORGET THE HOAXES to which the government resorts-- plainly bogus threats ungrounded in the law which are issued to some educated filers either before or after issuing their refunds, in the (all-too-often-gratified) hope that the targets of this attention, or others made aware of it, will be taken in by the ploy and imagine something is actually wrong with the filing with which the scary letters are associated. Unfortunately, some folks don't think deeply enough to recognize that if there was something wrong with a CtC-educated filing, there wouldn't be vague and deeply-ambiguous "frivolous penalty" notices and outright fabrications of Treasury Department listings, or a scattershot harassment of perhaps a tenth of one percent of educated filers.
There CERTAINLY wouldn't be an effort to punish an American woman for refusing to change her filings to suit the government's preferences, instead of charging her for having made them:
(Find and share this on YouTube at http://youtu.be/IagZzFIIymw)
Do such efforts of fiction, fraud, ambiguity and manifest desperation speak of CtC being wrong, or of it being right? The answer is obvious.
And what do these behaviors say about the use of 1040s? All are efforts to evade the educated 1040.
All of these behaviors in response to educated 1040s are either capitulation (the vast majority) or are attempts to intimidate the filer into reversal, or to establish pretexts for treating an educated filing as insincere and therefore able to be ignored. All are back-door acknowledgements of the correctness of CtC and the use of the 1040.
SO HERE'S THE PROVERBIAL "BOTTOM LINE": Don't be fooled by the myths of the matrix-masters about the tax, the 1040 and the terrors of CtC which infest the internet; and don't be a fool-- time spent at the feet of a "common-law" guru is time in service to the tax scammers, because it is time not spent escalating the real solution to their law-defying ignorance-tax cancer on our American heritage of liberty and the rule of law.***
*I'm using the income tax as an example here because it's far and any the most significant area in which most Americans have interaction with government of the sort being discussed in this article. But the principle applies in just exactly the same way in other areas of citizen interaction with the state.
**These are, in fact, myths that keep the "common-law" gurus in followers. Such followers are drawn from the ranks of people who believe it is necessary to find a substitute door to the 1040, and who are overlooking the fact that if they DID succeed in saying "No" in some other manner but with the same legal effect they'd have done everything they fear from the use of a 1040. They'd have engaged with the bureaucracy on its own terms and in acknowledgement of the obligation to do so; and they'd have exposed themselves to all adverse consequences. if any, of saying "No".
***Further, any and all errant notions circulating about the tax, such as those dicussed in this article, fuel the reflexive and default perception of average Americans and members of the legal professions and judiciary that any challenge to the general misunderstanding of the income tax is "tax protestor" nonsense which can be disregarded out of hand without so much as a read-through, much less serious consideration.
Every time some "landmark petition of the supreme court" making arguments about territorial limitations to the application of the tax-- or "section 83" gibberish, or anything else discussed here-- infects the tax honesty community, the persistence of misunderstanding and resistance to learning the truth gets a boost. YOU will never be free of efforts to mis-apply the tax until every notion about the tax other than what is revealed in CtC is excised from public dialogue.
Think of it this way: How long would it be before anyone succeeded in getting orbiting communication satellites up and in service to society if flat-earth-believers were tolerated voices in the engineering dialogue?
One more thing: Please, anyone being taken in by these silver-bullet salesmen, put your thinking-cap on! (That's the one without the tin-foil lining).
If what was argued or advocated by these folks was sound, they would have a ton of evidence to show you-- hard evidence of actual successful applications of their assertions (like I have to show you). They don't.
When seriously pressed on this point recently, one of the more popular of these common-law silver-bullet men, a fellow by the name of Karl Lentz, was able to produce nothing but this-- a context-free indication of a decision not to prosecute in one case (with no evidence that whatever may have happened here it had anything to do with this guru's advocated methods), and this (crappy resolution as furnished by the guru)-- a document referring to a "diversion agreement", again for what, and to what, remaining a mystery, but notably done on the state's motion, not the defendant's. You're crazy if you don't recognize what such a lack of evidence, and the reliance on such ambiguous-at-best "evidence", mean.
In fact, you're crazy if you don't run away fast the very first time you hear the ridiculous explanations given for that lack of evidence, which tend to be some variation on the theme of, "There's no evidence because this magic process stops everything before it gets to the point of there being any evidence!" or, "Of course there's no evidence! You don't think the Man is going to let anyone see what's happening, do you?"
Please! If there's one thing the state does well, and even obsessively, it is produce and keep records. Anytime anyone interacts with the state in any way whatever, there are records, and they are produced contemporaneously as well as after the fact, so many of them end up in the hands of the citizen involved in the affair even before the state knows where the affair is going.
Indeed, the "affair", whatever it is, starts out with, and almost always arises because of, the production and delivery of a legal instrument of some kind-- be it an "information return" or something else. The other records are available, in one fashion or another.
But these absurd protests that no records exist for one reason or another are relied on by those taking in the gullible with complicated jargon and sweeping rhetoric, and accepted by the marks. Nothing but harm is done by all this, with good folks effectively sidelined from the real contest, which is making real claims based on actual realities about the law, and denouncing and defeating bad behavior by the law's institutional enemies whenever and where ever it takes place.