Joe Kristan: Why the Tax Court Doesn’t Refute Frivolous Arguments

Joe Kristan: Why the Tax Court Doesn’t Refute Frivolous Arguments

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Joe Kristan tells us why the Tax Court often doesn’t publish detailed opinions refuting frivolous tax protester arguments:

Usually the Tax Court issues a “reported” opinion when it either is addressing a new issue or it wants to send a message. Yesterday they sent a message with an reported opinion explaining “Why we usually decline to refute frivolous anti-tax arguments”:

Experience shows that a given frivolous argument may have little actual importance to the person making it. Frivolous anti-tax arguments are often obviously downloaded from the Internet; and by cut-and-paste word processing functions, these arguments are easily plunked into a party’s filing. In other instances a promoter of frivolous anti-tax arguments is feeding those arguments to a litigant who adopts them uncritically and submits them to the Court. For all a court can tell, the litigant may not even have carefully read the arguments he submits.

Petitioners who make frivolous anti-tax arguments are sometimes intelligent people, but they tend to show great ignorance about the legal matters they argue. Tax defiers have learned to admit to the Court (as Mr. Wnuck did) that they have no legal background or training. The admission is often manifestly true. However, this admission is evidently made only to induce the Court to be lenient in overlooking the pro se litigant’s procedural lapses and to incline the Court to be liberal in construing his pleadings. The admission of ignorance does not indicate a willingness to accept information from someone who does have that background and training in tax law.

The frivolous argument, made from this position of witting and willful ignorance, seems to be merely an incidental ornament that adorns an article of faith — namely, the belief that I don’t owe taxes. The tax defier firmly holds that postulate above and apart from any arguments. Anything in favor of that postulate may be advanced, no matter how silly; anything against it can be ignored. If a given frivolous argument is decisively rebutted, then it may or may not be retired; but even if the individual argument is retired, the cause is not abandoned. Thus, the specific argument hardly matters even to the litigant.

Consequently, the value of answering frivolous anti-tax arguments — even the subjective value to the individual litigant — is often doubtful.

Joe continues:

The court provides some other reasons why it doesn’t bother explaining the obvious, and uses the hapless petitioner to illustrate:

Mr. Wnuck contends that the term “United States” therefore excludes everything else (such as the 50 States) and that his services performed in Pennsylvania (not in Puerto Rico, etc.) were not performed in the “United States” and therefore did not yield taxable wages. His argument fails for obvious reasons:

a. “Includes” does not mean “includes only“.

b. The cited statute does not apply.

c. The cited case contradicts the argument.

There’s a lot more of this in the case. While Mr. Wnuck loses and gets hit with a $5,000 penalty for pursuing frivolous argument in Tax Court, he has the consolation of the assurance that his name will now appear in most every Tax Court frivolous return case for years to come.

In other words, trying to refute the irrational claims of tax protesters with rational arguments is a lot like trying to nail jelly to a wall.

See Wnuck, 136 T.C. No. 24

About Peter Pappas

Peter is a tax attorney and certified public acccountant with over 20 years experience helping taxpayers resolve their IRS and state tax problems.

He has represented thousands of taxpayers who have been experiencing difficulty dealing with the Internal Revenue Service or State tax officials.

He is a member of the American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants, the Florida Bar Association and The Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court, the United States Supreme Court, U.S. District Courts - Middle District of Florida

Comments

  1. Chad Currin says:

    The IRS calls everyone who doesn’t fall in lock step with their lies a “tax denier” and every argument “frivolous.”

    There are lots of dumb arguments made by a lot of people, but there are those of us who know the IRS is all about half-truths and blatent lies.
    one example:
    the IRS has no collection authority. No authority to create assessments, issue liens and levies, but they do anyway. Here is the proof:
    In TITLE 26 > Subtitle F > CHAPTER 80 > Subchapter B > § 7851(a)(6)(A) we find that “Subtitle F (A) General rule The provisions of subtitle F shall take effect on the day after the date of enactment of this title and shall be applicable with respect to any tax imposed by this title. The provisions of subtitle F shall apply with respect to any tax imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1939 only to the extent provided in subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this paragraph. “ Since the authority you quote only takes effect the day after Title 26 is “enacted” and since Title 26 has never been enacted, no parts of Title 26 > Subtitle F are laws. They do not yet exist. The IRS has NO Collection Authority.

    Call them and ask them if they can issue liens. You will get a bunch of lies because that is all they have.

  2. Chad,

    And the iceberg didn’t act alone in the sinking of the Titanic.

  3. Peter, Your comment is not helpful in that it doesn’t even attempt to refute in a meaningful way, what Chad said.

    Chad cited very specific code, which is not only for us “peons” to follow, but the Gov’t as well!

    In addition, above mentioned “obvious” reasons that Mr. Wnuck’s contention was incorrect, but your definiton of “includes” (I assume from Sec. 3401 of the code) is not supported in ANY of the written definitions I have seen, i.e. Blacks Law Dictionary and Sec. 7701. No, includes doesn’t mean, “includes only”, you’re right. It is inclusive, but only to the extent that the items included are IN THE SAME CLASS.
    The United States, its territories and ceded areas are all under Federal jurisdiction. States are sovereign entities.

  4. Dale,

    The burden of proof is on Chad. I don’t have to refute anything.

    And even if I did, my proof would be the 100 years of tax jurisprudence that says the federal income tax is perfectly legal.

  5. “And even if I did, my proof would be the 100 years of tax jurisprudence that says the federal income tax is perfectly legal.”

    Peter, your comments are reminiscent of the lines fed us “tax protesters” by the IRS. What we say is fashioned into something we did NOT say and then used as a rebuttal. Let me clear, and this is for the remainder of our discussion here:

    I, Dale, believe that the Federal Income Tax is completely legal and in keeping with the Constitution….one more time…

    I believe that the Federal Income Tax is completely legal and in keeping with the Constitution…and while we are at it…

    I also believe that “Income” is taxable, that’s right, “Income” IS taxable.

    That is not now, nor never has been my argument regarding the Federal Income Tax.

    There are written authorities that determine how and to whom the Federal Income Tax is applied.
    They are the Constitution, U.S. Title 26 with Revenue Acts, (past and present), the Code of Federal Regulations and of course various court rulings, Supreme and lower.

    Merely stating the above agreed upon truth is NOT a valid argument against anything cited in the those authorities nor for what is going on these days with our tax system.

  6. Dale,

    Read the cases.

  7. Peter, although I don’t see what they have to do with what is actually said in the Constitution and Tax code, I’d be glad to.

    What cases and where can I find them?

  8. ..still waiting

  9. …and while I am waiting, let me say this…

    There are, of course, volumes of Frivilous tax cases, to go along with the volumes of crazy contentions about having to pay taxes. The problem comes when lawyers and the courts dismiss a valid argument, by merely lumping onto the heap of invalid ones and then claiming they don’t NEED to refute it becasue there are “hundreds of cases just like it” that have failed.
    Each case deserves to be considered on its own merit, but it’s an easy out for the tax legal profession to peg ANY claim as that of “tax protestor”, thus giving them the leverage to win (their ultimate goal) rather than see justice practiced and the law followed in truth.

  10. Dale,

    I only peg claims as tax protester claims when those claims are tax protester claims. I don’t need to refute anything that the Courts have refuted hundreds of times.

    But nice try.

  11. “I only peg claims as tax protester claims when those claims are tax protester claims. I don’t need to refute anything that the Courts have refuted hundreds of times.”

    Peter, you’re making my point by using that excuse to not refute (or explain)a very simple question like the one I asked you, that is based on Constitutional law.
    In fact that is all I have ever asked about, The LAW, which we are all supposed to follow and which our Government ostensibly endeavors to hold we citizens to. If we are a nation of laws shouldn’t they be followed by all AND to the letter?

  12. Dale,

    You are a classic conspiratorialist. You ask questions and when they don’t get answered, you conclude that the lack of an answer is evidence that you are correct.

    My “answer” to all of your inane questions is to refer you to the hundreds of answers the Courts have already given to these questions over the last 100 years.

    If you refuse to read the cases or read them and don’t understand them, I can’t help you.

    Good luck.

  13. Peter,
    I’m STILL waiting for you to refer me to just a couple of such cases that you claim to be so clear cut.
    I don’t know who you think you are fooling with the name-calling and silly assertions about my motives, but it is egregiously lacking in originality only serves to prove my case. Thanks!

    Here is something to read that sums up the absurdity of your responses (and the legions of tax sheep like you).

    “…The cognitive obstacles on anyone’s path to truly understanding the income tax are sometimes few, and sometimes many and varied.

    A few impediments are nearly universal. For instance, almost everyone starts out having to get past the “big lie” notion that governments have an automatic legal claim to some or all of any wealth that changes hands in America– or even outside of America if an American is involved in the transaction! This notion has Americans as serfs of their governments, a percentage of whose labor and investment output belongs to those governments by right. It imagines your right to make fruitful use of your resources and energy to really be just a privilege, for the granting of which the state is entitled to seize “its share”.

    Simply articulating this ridiculous idea reveals its absurdity. And yet, belief in it on a gut level is incredibly widespread. This is due in part to its being encouraged in every way possible by government actors, their clients and cronies (to whom much of the yielded-up wealth is passed) and those in tax-related industries, such as “tax attorneys” and many in the accounting and “human resources” professions. These folks have kept a hypnotic drumbeat of this and other socialist nonsense pounding relentlessly for generations now, which has deeply embedded many bizarre, indefensible and essentially self-hating psychopathologies into the American subconscious.

    It is also due to ignorance about what the income tax really is (a fee for the profitable use of federal stuff), and how it actually works (a subject too large for this short paper.

    The average person sees governments TREATING Americans as serfs, and getting away with it.
    That observer thus concludes that somehow, serfdom is the lawful status of an American, and that everyone else must understand how and why, even though he himself seems to have slept through that particular high-school civics class… “

  14. Dale,

    I don’t claim the cases to be “clear cut”, I claim them to be the law.

    If I thought it would do any good, I would take the time to find the cases and the cites. I know from past experience with tax protesters and conspiratorialists that no amount of evidence will suffice to change their minds.

    ( The website Quatloos has the cites to all of the cases that have addressed bird-brained tax protester arguments over the years)

    And if you really wanted to know the truth, you would have found and read the cases already.

    Be careful with your tax protesting. It has landed many a good man in the hoosegow.

  15. “I claim them to be the law”

    Yeah, but even in a football game when the refs (the so-called experts) make a call that affects the outcome of the game, ANYONE can look at the replay (the evidence) and see if the call was correct. Only the most biased will hold to the notion that the outcome was just in the face of such overriding evidence to the contrary. A lie upheld does not change its character.

    Problem is, this not a game. It is the wealth and welfare of the citizenry of this country that is being fleeced and having it upheld by not only the perpetrating Gov’ts, but also by the biased s0-called professionals who are a dis-service to the people in deference to some social privilege or status.
    Maybe that’s why the founders didn’t want lawyers, etc. (titles of nobility?) in Gov’t.

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  1. […] Joe Kristan tells us why the Tax Court often doesn’t publish detailed opinions refuting frivolous tax protester arguments: Usually the Tax Court issues a “reported” opinion when it either is addressing a new issue or it wants to send a message. Yesterday they sent a message with an reported opinion explaining “Why we usually decline to […] Tax Lawyer’s Blog […]