“99 Tactics” digs into every aspect of tax resistance

When you live in one state but earn some of your income in another state, which state gets to collect the income tax? “Mine!” answer both states.

This became a newsworthy item because of the so-called “jock tax” which meant that those football players who were lucky enough to make it to the Super Bowl also were unlucky enough to get hit by the state income tax in New Jersey, where the game was held. According to some calculations, quarterback “Peyton Manning might be subject to a 101.83 percent tax on his Super Bowl earnings.”

But the issue has been a controversial one for some time, as today’s dig in the archives shows. I found the following Associated Press article in the Victoria [Texas] Advocate:

Man Refuses To Pay Tax; Still in Jail

 A New Hampshire man, adamant in his refusal to pay a Massachusetts income tax, remained in jail for the second day as government officials and lawyers refused to give ground.

Massachusetts Gov. Foster Furcolo (D) charged Amis Vautier, 41, of Pelham, N.H., who is employed in Boston, is more interested in headlines than obtaining his release.

Through his lawyers, Vautier issued a statement from Charles Street jail embodying that historic phrase: “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

Vautier said he will not pay the tax of $140 assessed on his income. He wants to make a test case. His lawyers said bail is out of the question — that his detention is illegal.

Vautier’s wife, Charlotte, 30, mother of his three children, supported him. She brought from home cartons of cigarettes, which she said did not have the Massachusetts tax of 54 cents. She brought razors and other accessories for her husband’s convenience in the event his stay in jail is lengthy.

Mrs. Vautier went to the jail and later to the governor’s office. She met with Massachusetts Tax Commissioner Robert T. Capeless. Massachusetts officials would not budge from their contention Vautier is flouting the law in evading the tax. They suggested he post bond and fight the case in court.

Vautier’s lawyers, Thomas Flynn Jr. and Henry Fuller, plan to go to court to ask for a writ of habeas corpus. They charge their client is illegally imprisoned and that Massachusetts didn’t comply with all the technicalities of the law.

Capeless declined comment except to say the issue is unresolved.

Vautier stood by his prepared statement:

“I do not evade the Massachusetts nonresident income tax. As a citizen of the United States of America and the sovereign state of New Hampshire I challenge the right to enact it in a country that won its freedom in a fight based on the moral principle that taxation without representation is tyranny.”

The federal habeas corpus petition failed on procedural grounds (the judge ruling that Vautier needed to continue to fight in state court). He was finally released from jail on pending a state supreme court ruling, but there I lose track of him as he falls into the less-googlable part of history.