Two Cheers for Silly Constitutionalist Tax Protester Theories

A few times on The Picket Line I’ve alluded to various constitutional challenges and other fringe legal theories that some tax protesters use in their battle against the IRS.

These theories are legion, and with a little bit of googling you’ll find a whole bunch of well-made, well-argued sites that will try to convince you that they hold the key to forcing those tax bureaucrats to finally admit that they have never had the legal authority to take one red cent out of your pocket.

I finally found a good FAQ that addresses these many theories and documents how the IRS and the courts have shot them down one-by-one.

The Tax Protester FAQ from Daniel B. Evans tackles dozens of these theories, and cites the legal chapter & verse of why they don’t amount to much of an argument.

I have a love/hate relationship with these sorts of tax protests. I love them because they have the effect of annoying the IRS and occupying its enforcement crew with the task of deciphering ever more creative mountains of balderdash. That and the fact that these things really work — if only in the sense that the IRS certainly loses more revenue from the adherents of these theories than it is able to recover from those it defeats in court.

But I also hate these theories because the people who use them tend to be true believers — with an unfathomably naïve belief that the government could be completely undermined by a novel reading of its own laws by its own personnel. They really believe that one day one of them is going to walk into court and hear the judge say that the income tax was never legal and everyone’s been giving up their money based on some giant misunderstanding that’s finally been successfully pointed out.

It’s only a certain, small, somewhat cruel part of me that takes pleasure in hearing about people who willingly delude themselves with faith-based legal advice and financial planning. The rest of me thinks it’s kind of sad.