Friday, July 13, 2007

Tax Protestor Gets Off!

Here's an oddball story: Tommy K. Cryer, a man who proudly proclaims that he hasn't paid his income taxes in ten years, and who made a series of videos explaining that there's no law requiring most people to pay taxes, is prosecuted for failing to file and is acquitted! His analysis: "The court could not find a law that makes me liable or makes my revenues taxable." Could it be true?

Of course not. Criminal income tax cases are subject to a special rule: the government has the burden of proving, not only that the defendant didn't pay his taxes, but that the defendant knew he had to pay his taxes. This is very unusual. Usually, in the criminal law, if you do the thing that constitutes the crime, and you know what you're doing, whether you know that your conduct is illegal is irrelevant. But in tax cases specifically, the government has to prove that you knew you were breaking the law. So if you really believe all this tax protestor nonsense about there being no law requiring people to pay income tax, it's not a crime for you to fail to pay.

But, I hasten to add for anyone getting any ideas here, you still owe the money. Crazy beliefs may keep you out of jail, but they don't change the fact that you owe your taxes, plus the interest, plus the penalties -- which can add a whole lot to your tax bill. It's cheaper to pay what you owe. The government, one can be confident, will be coming down on Mr. Cryer for a pile of cash.

In any event, his acquittal, of course, doesn't show that there's no law requiring people to pay taxes. It just means he convinced the jury that he really believes he doesn't have to pay -- or really, only that the government failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he knows he does have to pay. Every few years a protestor gets off on this ground, and justice goes on -- another protestor was convicted yesterday.

The sad thing is that Tommy Cryer is an attorney. He even went to a decent law school (LSU) and graduated with honors. It's inconceivable that such a person could really believe tax protestor theories.

Although perhaps I shouldn't rule it out -- Cryer's had his share of trouble in the past. In the 1980s, he was hauled before a bar disciplinary committee for neglecting a professional matter (he failed to record a deed properly, and continued to fail for two years after the client called the matter to his attention, and also delayed reimbursing the client for the damages it suffered as a result), and he had his penalty reduced on the ground that he "suffered from a depressive illness" and "was on the brink of an emotional breakdown and also in severe financial straits" because his father had died while he was still young (only 28) and because he had "entered into the private practice of law without adequate funds or business." Louisiana State Bar Ass'n v. Cryer, 441 So.2d 734 (La. 1983). So, even though a doctor concluded that "recurrence of the depressive condition is unlikely," perhaps Cryer still has some mental condition that causes him, an apparently intelligent attorney, to fall for tax protestor nonsense.

Still, it's an embarrassment that an attorney is so associated with the tax protestor movement. The man should be disbarred. If he's giving his income tax theory as advice to actual clients, then he's violating the requirement of competence, and even if he isn't, he's still engaging in conduct that involves "deceit or misrepresentation" and "conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice", which also violates the rules.


Fredrick Schwartz said...

Here's a question from left field but we thought we'd save some time here and ask and expert. If the President of the United States has committed a known felony is he subject to a citizens arrest? Does such a thing as apprehension by a citizen on behalf of and in the absence of law enforcement apply anywhere in the US. Could a Secret Service agent of good conscience arrest the President? Just here on the boat spitballing across a wide variety of blogs for informed repsonses.

612 Actual said...

You're a closed minded boob and misleading the people who read what you write, at least on this issue. You THINK you KNOW the law.

How do free people become "subjects" when slavery has been abolished? There's no more slavery so Congress can't MAKE YOU PAY them some of your earnings just because they say so. Uh, did you study any contract law?

If there's no law then there's nuthin to PROTEST. If there's no law then there's nuthin to comply with nor violate. All the defendant did was present facts that the jury agreed with, he didn't PROTEST ANYTHING he pointed out the FACT that what the IRS alleged was violated DOESN'T EXIST. That's not a protest, it's a statement of facts.

If the "law" exists then how do you account for the fact that if all the feds had to do to win was produce the law but they didn't? Slam dunk right?! Then why did they choke if they had the dude by the short hairs? And why didn't they produce the "law" in the Joseph Bannister or Vernice Kuglin cases when they had the chance? Flukes? Wacko juries with their heads firmly up their arses? Maybe they know somethin you're too close minded to grasp.

Just cuz Congress says you owe them some of your milk money doesn't make the edict legal. As a rule do you just give your employees money when they demand it?

You should know that compensation isn't synonymous with "gain" or "profit". The "tax" is on "gain" or "profit", not the base amount.

When you work for whatever is the contracted amount and that's all you get, you're being "restored" in an acceptable form that you agreed to for your time and labor. A "gain" or "profit" is an amount over and above the base sum. Ie, when someone hires you and the fee is $1000 and they pay you $1000.01, it's the .01 that could be considered INCOME because it's a "gain" or "profit", not the $1000. Or didn't they bother teach you any of that when you spent all that time and money in and for "law skool"?!

Alan said...

I agree with 612. He makes some valid points. And, just an aside, when does the internal revenue code apply to non-taxpayers? (The decision to be a taxpayer is one that you make for yourself. Did you realize that you don't have to be a taxpayer? Read the code! IRS code only applies to TAXPAYERS!)Economy Plumbing and Heating Co. v. United States 470 F 2d. 585 (1972)

Jon Siegel said...

612, your points are addressed on my income tax pages, which are linked in the blog post. Why don't you read them? Sadly, I am guessing you will leave the pages none the wiser, but at least you will have been exposed to the correct information.

Anonymous said...

How many times has Jon Siegel defeated the Internal Revenue Service of the United States Government in Federal Court?


You are pathetic.

Go back to your lecture hall where you can preen, primp, and preach to your breathless little toadies who hang on your every word, you fake.

Jon Siegel is a professor of law.

Tommy Cryer is a practitioner of law.

Whom do you all trust more?

Those who can or those who claim they can?

Anonymous said...

Jon Siegel is the best damn professor GW has, and yes he has practiced law too.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Jon Siegel is a bad guy, just not willing to consider the BIG picture. Can a law be written that forces you to work for $0? Can a law be written and be constitutional that forces you to pay the government $$$ for the "priviledge" of working? Did our founding fathers want us to work for 3 months of the year to pay the IRS? NO, NO & NO. Slavery has been abolished.

Anonymous said...

So, do you pay income taxes? Do you work at a job where your taxes are automatically withheld? Do you use the roads, public transportation, police protection, hospitals, etc. that taxes pay for? How do you propose the government fund itself without an income tax- a really big sales tax? Just curious.

Jay T. said...

Good questions. Happy to debunk the myth as to where our income $$ goes.

Gas tax pays for the roads.
Here's an article (which would also explain why we "can't" develope an automobile that gets +50mpg):

Hospitals are (the majority) Non-Profit Organizations. Ironically, although most do turn a profit, they don't pay taxes!

Police & Fire protection? Paid by property taxes. You obviously have never been to a city hall budget meeting.

In the United States, operations of most public transit services are financially subsidized by local and state governments, who provide matching funds to receive up to 80% capital grant aid from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation. This agency administers programs which provide funding and support services to state and local agencies which operate a wide range of public transportation services.

You have to research:
1. What % each state receives.
2. Where the FTA funds are derived.

Jon Siegel said...

Sigh. As I said, these arguments are all answered on my income tax pages. But here's a brief recap for those who can't be bothered to read them:

1. An acquittal in a criminal tax case does not prove that there is no law requiring people to pay income taxes. Criminal cases require the government to show that the defendant *believed* he had a legal duty to pay. This point is independent of whether the defendant did in fact have a legal duty to pay. (This was in the original post!)

2. Wages are income even though they just represent an "equal exchange" of money for something of equal value. If you think about it, pretty much every transaction is an "equal exchange" of this kind -- when you pay $1 for a newspaper, you get a newspaper worth $1 in exchange.
The seller's income from a sale transaction is the sale price minus the seller's cost, not the sale price minus the value of the thing sold. (For more detail, see my page on the "wages are not income" argument.)

3. Taxation is not slavery. The "slavery" previously practiced in this country, and forbidden by the 13th Amendment, consisted of the master owning the slave and having control over the slave's work. Taxation is different -- you have to pay a portion of your income in taxes, but you are free to do whatever work you want.

Marc said...

Professor Siegel -- Typo alert: fourth paragraph, fifth word. Should be "acquittal," not "conviction."

I knew law school would come in handy some day.

Jon Siegel said...

Oops! Thanks, Marc. Fixed.

Anonymous said...

Why does the IRS waste its valuable time and money criminally prosecuting tax protesters, particularly those who are mentally deficient?

When they lose, it makes them look bad, and only fuels further tax protesters.

Wouldn't it be better to simply go after them financially to ruin their miserable lives?

At least the judge had the good sense to forbid Mr. Cryer from showing the jury the statutes and court cases that supported his preposterous beliefs - he should have also forbade him from testifying, and ordered a competency hearing.

Anonymous said...

Ok Professor. You will have the Statutes At large in your grasp. Run over and look at the appendix of the 1939 code. There are nice tables that show that real statutes the the 39 code "codified". You will see that section 4 is backed up by 52 Stat. 554. Even though section 4 was not carried over to the current code, its omitted, and 54 repealed the 39 section 4, the underlying statute has not been repealed. It you read section 4 in the 39 or 38 IRC you will see that the General provisions (imposition of tax) is only applicable to citizen of the US and corporations by reason of deriving their income from possessions of the US. Gee, I hope you will look at this and give an honest response and not dismiss me as a TP. Give respect to the research.

Jon Siegel said...

OK Anonymous! I gave your point a serious look; I just hope you will treat the response with equal seriousness.

I'm afraid I think you're wrong three different ways:

1. The "underlying statute" in question, 52 Stat. 554, *was* repealed by the 39 Code. Look at section 4 of the statute enacting the 39 Code (not section 4 of the 39 Code itself, but section 4 of the statute in the Statutes at Large that enacted the 39 Code --see 53 Stat. 1). It states that all the statutes codified into the 39 Code are repealed by enactment of the 39 Code. So the statute you rely on was repealed in 39.

2. Section 4 of the 39 Code itself does *not* provide that it is "only applicable to citizen of the US and corporations by reason of deriving their income from possessions of the US" as you claim. Section 4 provides that certain special classes of taxpayers are subject to special rules. Under section 4(g), individual U.S. citizens or corporations who get a large percentage of their income from sources within a U.S. possession are subject to special rules. But nothing in section 4 suggests that ordinary U.S. citizens getting their income from within the ordinary U.S. states are subject to any special rule. They were subject to the normal tax imposed by section 11 of the 39 code.

3. Whatever the 39 Code said, whatever the 54 Code said, we are *now* governed by the 86 Code (as amended), and it says (sections 1, 61 and 63) that the income tax is imposed on all income from whatever source derived, less applicable deductions. There is no geographic limitation. So even if the 39 Code applied only to income relating to U.S. possessions(which it didn't), the current Code imposes the tax on all income, including income earned within the states of the U.S. and is not limited to income related to U.S. possessions.

As I say, I hope you will see that I have taken your question very seriously and not just dismissed it. I hope you will treat the answer seriously too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for responding. It is very hard to get anyone to discuss like humans topics that are often branded protester.

Please re-evaluate.
I acknowledge what section 4 of the statute cover with the repeal.
Please direct attention to the 39 appendix, table c II. This show the statutes "expressly repealed". you will notice that the stopped short of 52 Stat. 544. They went all the way up to it.

As another point of reference,
This is an Executive Order where FDR sites his authority as the 38 IRC OR the corresponding section of the 39 IRC. This occurred after 39 was enacted.

So it appears that the repealing clause in '39 didn't repeal '38. As verified in the '39 appendix.
And '54 which repealed the '39 code didn't touch '38.
So codification really is a restatement of the law.

Now in 39 the section 4 also states : The application of the General Provisions and of Supplements A
to D, inclusive, to each of the following special classes of taxpayers,
shall be subject to the exceptions and additional provisions found in
the Supplement applicable to such class, as follows:

(g) Individual citizens of the United States or domestic corporations,
satisfying the conditions of section 251 by reason of deriving a
large portion of their gross income from sources within a possession
of the United States,—Supplement J.

(I included this for the benefit of others)

Now, funny enough, the general provisions mentioned start with section 11 normal tax on individuals. One must apply the General provisions on the special classes of taxpayers under the conditions of their respective supplement. We dont satisfy the conditions by reason of section 251. Do we?

If you notice that starting with the 54 code the IRC now looks, and starts at, the General Provisions.

In 54 when they repealed parts of 39 they repealed the introductory provisions. But since 38 was never expressly repealed then it appears that they restructured the IRC to encompass only the General provisions. Leaving the Introductory provisions in 38, out of view.

Does Lexis or wests products go back that far? Can you look up 52 Stat. 544 and really see if it has been repealed?

39 didn't do it and I have yet to see a repeal in any code forward.

Thank you again for listening.

Anonymous said...

Does Lexis or wests products go back that far? Can you look up 52 Stat. 554 and really see if it has been repealed?

Jon Siegel said...

Anonymous, I stand by my statement. 52 Stat. 554 is included in the list of statutes codified into the 39 Code, and section 4 of the 39 enacting statute says that all such statutes are repealed when the 39 Code takes effect.

By the way, I think you have the wrong section number. Nothing starts on 52 Stat. 554. That page is a continuation of the section that starts on 52 Stat. 553, which is how it shows up in the table of statutes codified. And it's an irrelevant section anyway. I think you mean 52 Stat. 532 or 52 Stat. 452, both of which were codified into the 39 Code and repealed by section 4 of the enacting statute.

The point is, all previous internal revenue laws were repealed. They're gone, goodbye.

(Lexis and Westlaw wouldn't be helpful here, no matter how far back they go -- they don't have databases of repealed statutes.)

And in any event, the previous statutes and the 39 Code never said what you claim. Section 4 of the 39 Code, once again, says that, if you're in one of the special categories, you're subject to special rules. You're right that most people aren't in the special category specified in section 251. Therefore, most people are subject to the regular rule set forth in section 11, and owe the normal tax.

Anonymous said...

This man (Mr Cryer) should not be disbarred! He should be elected President Of The United States!!
It is interesting to note that Mr Siegel, while claiming there is a law requiring U.S. citizens to pay income taxes on wages does not bother to show it. So, where is this law we are constantly and confidently told exists? Why can't we see it?? In my view wages are an even exchange for labor and since no profit is involved, where is the taxable liability??

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
So, do you pay income taxes? Do you work at a job where your taxes are automatically withheld? Do you use the roads, public transportation, police protection, hospitals, etc. that taxes pay for? How do you propose the government fund itself without an income tax- a really big sales tax? Just curious.

Roads are funded by the federal tax on gasoline, police are funded through state taxes and in some cases property taxes, state hospitals are funded by state taxes.
The U.S. Government funds itself through a pyramid scheme whereby any money they need is provided magically, it seems, by The Federal Reserve which makes money out of thin air, then loans it to The U.S. Government and then charges interest to us, the taxpayers, who are responsible for paying back this money to The Federal Reserve through its collection agency which is The Internal Revenue Service. Not ONE PENNY of income taxes collected is or has ever been used for Congressional allocations or the day to day funding of The United States Government! Get it? Got it? Good!!

Anonymous said...


2. Wages are income even though they just represent an "equal exchange" of money for something of equal value. If you think about it, pretty much every transaction is an "equal exchange" of this kind -- when you pay $1 for a newspaper, you get a newspaper worth $1 in exchange.
The seller's income from a sale transaction is the sale price minus the seller's cost, not the sale price minus the value of the thing sold. (For more detail, see my page on the "wages are not income" argument.)

When I pay $1.00 for a newspaper there is not an equal exchange. The seller derives a profit from the sale. I receive a newspaper whose worth is decided by the market.

Tell me how to compute my profit in an exchange of labor for wages. That is to say how do I compute the profit of my wages minus the cost of my labor? In my opinion there is no tangible profit. To me the cost of my labor is equal in value to the wages paid and it is a zero sum gain. Where is the profit??

Jon Siegel said...

OK, too many anonymous posters here -- try to use some kind of name so I can sort you all out.

For the anonymous poster who complained that I didn't actually show the law -- it's a blog. This is the Internet. There are links. If you follow the links from the original post, you get to my income tax pages. All the laws are laid out there for you. You can read the exact text of the law.

For the anonymous poster who's still pushing the "wages aren't income because they're an equal exchange" argument -- same thing. It's all explained in detail on my income tax pages. But here's the short version:

Income = Sale Price - Cost

Your equation is Income = Sale Price - Value, which is *wrong*.

The cost to you of your labor is zero, because you never paid anything to own your labor. So all of your wages are income.

Again, that's the short version. For the details, see my income tax pages. If you can't find the link, go to, click on "personal page" then on "taxes". Then click on the "wages are not income" argument.

Anonymous said...

I guess I misunderstood how to site the statute. I did really mean volume 52 page 452 - IRC 1938.

I read section 4 as General provisions are ONLY applied to these special classes of taxpayers.

I guess I am wrong.
Thank you for conversing.
P.S. Although I think the IRC 1938 has not been repealed because its not listed in the tables, FDR cite it as an authority after 39 code was enacted, and I have not seen it being repealed in the notes on the current code. But is doesn't matter.

benji said...

Professor, do you think the "law" is constitutional? The irony is that most of American citizens are in a virtual prison, a slave to the system, while a very small part of the elite control everything, largely in part due to our illegal Federal Reserve system and a progressive taxation system. If our government really cared about "freedom", taxes would be on commerce in the economy only, not on income and commerce, which is worse than the mafia. So if you do believe it's a law, do you also think it's fair and/or constitutional?

Kind Regards,

Jon Siegel said...

Benji, I do think the income tax law is constitutional -- that question has been to court many times on many different constitutional theories and the law has always been upheld. Whether the tax law is fair is a different question, one on which I'm not really an expert.

Anonymous said...

The facts are simple. The representatives we the people elected passed a law saying we have to pay a portion of our income to the federal government as taxes. Whether the tax is a direct tax or not is irrelevent because a constitutional amendment was ratified allowing a tax on incomes. The term "gross income" includes wages and wages are subject to the tax. Any person who receives income - including wages -is subject to this tax on incomes and is a "taxpayer." While there are some constitutional issues out there that the courts have failed to properly address (the taxation of CFC earnings violates Eisner v. MacComber; "enterprise zones" are unconstitutional to the extent the tax is an indirect tax; the exemption of certain religious sects from the social security tax violates the establishment clause; many income tax provisions are so narrowly drawn because they are intended to apply to ONE taxpayer only), the overall concept and implementation of the income tax is real, legal, and constitutional. Just the facts.

Anonymous said...

"The cost to you of your labor is zero, because you never paid anything to own your labor."

Is not time a cost? If one spends 40+ hours per week laboring for someone/something else, is that not a cost? If one spends time and money for the development of skills, is that not a cost?
If I perform manual labor, is there not an additional cost in terms of the physical diminishment of my body and therefore the diminishment of my ability for future earnings?

The cost to labor is not free. It consumes time and energy. These are the things I pay to own my labor.

Anonymous said...

You have the patience of a saint. I teach income taxes to accounting majors and from time to time visit these tax protester issues. Thank you for your efforts. I visit your web pages regularly in class. Thank you.

benji said...

Thanks Professor. I appreciate your answer. It seems that this is the key issue, the fairness of the current tax system, not the constitutionality of it. Being real, legal and constitutional, as one Anonymous summarized, doesn't mean that it's fair.

I concur 100% with the Anonymous who said that our time and labor does cost us. I don't see how anyone can argue that fact, regardless of what the "law" says.

In my opinion, all of this is tied to inequalities perpetrated by our government, to include the illegal Federal Reserve, the unfair Income Tax, and the recent Patriot Act. Slaves is what most of us feel like, and we need to start talking about what is fair, and then support that by fixing the law.

Considering that no money that we collect from the IRS goes to any social services, it all goes to interest on debt from the illegal federal reserve, there's some serious ethical problems with the way our current system works. But if you're all for further class division and a police slave state, keep singing the tune that everything is fine and everything is lawful and constitutional. That doesn't mean it's fair. We'll all know soon enough, because if it doesn't change, our economy will collapse, as it appears to be well on it's way to doing now.

Kind Regards,

Anonymous said...

I have a question, does anyone know if the Supreme Court ever defined the Constitutional definition of income?

The reason I ask is because I saw a Senate Committee document for the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 - HR8300 6-16-1954 which states in part: "Subchapter 3 - Computation of Taxable Income - Definitions"

Section 61 - Gross income defined...."Section 61(a) provides that gross income includes "all income from whatever source derived" This definition is based on the 16th Ammendment and the word "income" is used as in Section 22(a) in it's Constitutional sense. It is not intended to change the concept of income that obtains under section 22(a). Therefore although the section 22(a) phrase states "in whatever form paid" has been eliminated, statutory gross income will continue to include income realized in any form."

That said, what is the Constitutional definition of income they are talking about?

Kelly said...

Law Prof,
Thanks for a great commentary on this debate.
I've had a few tax protestors over at my site, too, and I was not able to articulate (without rolling my eyes while typing) in the same manner what it is that you said. So, I'm going to redirect those folks back here.
Excellent job.

netzorro said...

"but that the defendant knew he had to pay his taxes."

A person would "Know" he had to pay if there was a law to show that he had to.

There is a site up that will pay yu $60,000 if you can show them the law. No one has been able to collect it for over 4 years. Why don't you go there and show them the law and collect the money.

cmagic said...

[quote]2. Wages are income even though they just represent an "equal exchange" of money for something of equal value. If you think about it, pretty much every transaction is an "equal exchange" of this kind -- when you pay $1 for a newspaper, you get a newspaper worth $1 in exchange.
The seller's income from a sale transaction is the sale price minus the seller's cost, not the sale price minus the value of the thing sold. (For more detail, see my page on the "wages are not income" argument.)

Exactly! You defeat yourself with your own argument! A paper sold to me for $1, cost only $.50 to make and distribute. The company that makes and distributes it has a profit of $.50 and this is built in to the selling price.
My working wages have no built in profit margin. My wages are an equal exchange. I have not gained or prfited in any way. I have simply turned my work into another form of currency.
If you can tell me how I can get a built in profit margin, I will gladly listen and pay tax on that margin.

The Freedom Fellowship said...

>>3. Taxation is not slavery. The "slavery" previously practiced in this country, and forbidden by the 13th Amendment, consisted of the master owning the slave and having control over the slave's work. Taxation is different -- you have to pay a portion of your income in taxes, but you are free to do whatever work you want.>>

"Taxation" as practiced today IS slavery! Why?

"Look at the tax system. The whole concept of the income tax assumes they own all of you and they’ll permit you to keep a certain percentage. And then even after we work hard, save our money and invest if we sell something we have to share our profits with the government? Then if we die we can’t even give it to our kids without….saying ‘we’ll were part owners of with the government we have to give the government this much we get to keep this much.’

So there’s another example where you have to state the principal: They don’t get anything! They shouldn’t get anything because they’re not part owners in our life and our families! And yet so often they’ll say ‘well maybe it’s 30%, we ought to settle for 28%’ you know and think it’s a great victory.”

- Ron Paul at this link...

People who do not allow themselves to be conscripted into this system are not "free" to work and cannot support their families without subjecting themselves and their families to this tyranny/fascism which will not answer and be accountable to We The People.

If there is a law then why doesn't the government just identify it? Why does the government refuse to answer anyone of the questions - posed as "facts" - in We The People's "Right To Petition" lawsuit? See.....

Anonymous said...

OK Siegel, quit the kibitting
and answer the questions! Specifically, answer the question on the constitutional or SC[fundamental law] definition of "income".

And don't you know that on strict logic the 16th Amendment has to mean that the so-called "income" tax cannot be a direct tax--but an indirect excise tax? The logic here is unassailable: if the income tax is unapportioned--as per the 16th--then it has to be indirect.

You also feign ignorance of t he fact that the big SC debates about the so-called "income tax"--Pollock, Brushaber, etc.--had to do with "income"[i.e. "gains" "profits"] from stock and other kinds of property. These SC decisions had absolutely nothing to do with "wages" or the pittances than ordinary workers gained in a share-cropping capitalist system.

Maybe too many of your relatives are raking in big greens from being "tax attorneys"--or any lazy man's work having to do with taxes.

Anonymous said...

Ever heard Galileo and his challenge to Papal Tribunals on their stupid dogmatic belief that the earth was the center of the universe? And Giordano Bruno--poor man was burnt by the Papists for his beliefs about the structure of the universe?

The thing with Cryer is that he has that kind of free-thinking temperament that tells that--look!--"the Emperor is--well--just naked; and everybody is just afraid to look".

Anonymous said...

Siegel, please state the specific code section that creates a liability for the type of revenue generated by Mr. Cryer; you can not.

In 1861/1862 congress passed legislation that did provide federal tax liability for specific occupations and activities - including the practice of law. These laws were repealed after the civil war ended.

In 1894 the US Sepreme Court ruled an income tax unconstitutional in Pollock v Farmers. Subsequent rulings by the Court declared that the 16th Amend. did not change or alter the Pollock doctrines, and that the tax did not reach new or excepted subjects. This is the reason there is no specific code or legislation that creates a liability for Mr. Cryer's "income".

Scott C. Haley said...

“The income tax is, therefore, not a tax on income as such. It is an excise tax with respect to certain activities and privileges which is measured by reference to the income which they produce. The income is not the subject of the tax: it is the basis for determining the amount of the tax.” F. Morse Hubard, U.S. Congressional Record, March 27, 1943 (page 2580)

What the government sycophants can't seem to grasp (or refuse to acknowledge)is that the "income tax" is a tax on certain ACTIVITIES that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government to regulate. The tax is not ON income, per se. Congress did not tax the MONEY earned from the activities, but rather the activities THEMSELVES. The "income" earned is the MEASURMENT OF THE TAX.

The ACTIVITIES which actually are statutorily taxed are found in the "operative sections" of the Internal Revenue Code in Subchapter N, which is aptly titled "Tax Based on Income from Sources Within or Without the United States." (this is where the law provides the NECESSARY specifics as to what constitutes "income from whatever source derived.")

There is NO "operative section" describing the activities of the average American, only international and posssessions commerce.

Section 61 is nothing but a broadly worded GENERAL definition statute. It does not establish liability for anyone, including the people for whom the code actually does make liable (which are the people who engage in the activites described in the "operative sections." Examples of "operative sections" are 26 USC 871, 26 USC 911.

In addition, more than one Supreme Court ruling (sorry, don't have the cites immediately at hand, but they were never reversed) have concluded that the 16th Amendment "conferred no new taxing powers" upon the Fed Gov't.

Finally, there's the "Except as otherwise provided..." introduction to the description of "gross income". Go to for a fuller discussion, and to view the results of data-mining both 26 USC & 26 CFR.

By the way, Prof, Tom Cryer is not the only attorney who is a member of the Tax Honesty Movement. You might consider the possibility that someone does exist who actually knows the Income Tax better than you do. It certainly is possible. To think otherwise results in unmitigated hubris.



Anonymous said...

So, the tax is an excise on the exercise of privilege, not a tax on money...

"PRIVILEGE: A particular benefit or advantage enjoyed by a person, company, or class beyond the common advantages of others citizens. An exceptional or extraordinary power of exemption. A particular right, advantage, exemption, power, franchise, or immunity held by a person or class, not generally possessed by others."
Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Ed.

“The right to follow any of the common occupations of life is an inalienable right…”

“It has been well said that 'the property which every man has in his own labor, as it is the original foundation of all other property, so it is the most sacred and inviolable. The patrimony of the poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his own hands, and to hinder his employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he thinks proper, without injury to his neighbor, is a plain violation of this most sacred property’.”
United States Supreme Court, Butcher's Union Co. v. Crescent City Co., 111 U.S. 746 (1883)
Thank You Peter Henderickson for this quote.

Professor, please explain how the SCOTUS can be wrong? Munchiewizard

The hole in the argument. said...

I often read these tax arguments. What I always see is "show me the law" and "I just did".

The part that never seems to get communicated properly is why the seemingly obvious law (which I have read and is definitely there) requiring a wage earner to file a return doesn't apply.

As I understand it, the problem is not so much that there is no law which the average citizen would interpret as requiring them to file and pay taxes. The problem is that the terms in this law such as "income" are not defined anywhere in the law.

In order to properly apply the law there must be a definition of the terms. Since the term is not defined in any law the next best place is the supreme court. The supreme court effectively ruled that income is defined as any increase in wealth.

You may say, well there it is. You worked and now you are wealthier through the wage, therefore you owe tax on that income.

It is not so simple however. In order to receive the wage you had to sell your labor. After giving your time, and effort you are less than you were before because you can never get back that time and effort which you expended. Therefore you paid a cost or basis for the wage you received.

Trading an item such as an ounce of gold for it's current value in Federal Reserve Notes produces no gain and therefore no tax liability. Similarly trading your time and effort for the market rate of Federal Reserve Notes produces no gain and therefore no tax liability.

here2daygonetomorrow said...

Mr. Seigel,
You say that all of the arguments are all answered on your income tax pages. Fair enough, if you expect those that disagree with your incorrect assumptions to scour your pages, I only ask that you go to and read those pages for the real truth.

Anonymous said...

But let's assume--and it is a sound assumption--that the wage earner is paid less for his/her product than is warranted, then clearly the worker would be incurring "business" losses on his/her human capital. So here's a case of the wage earner's "net income" being negative. In this case "negative income" would be reported to the IRS.

And in the cases of self-employed workers an "income tax" should be levied only on net income--after all other costs will have been factored in. The same principle applies in the case of the big corporations who often end up paying no "income taxes".

All that aside, the point is that if direct taxes on wages were supported by the Constitution and the 16th Amendement then such would have been taken off the top automatically--i.e. deducted from one's wage, as in the case for SS tax. It is not done simply because there is no law that requires wages to be taxed directly without apportionment. The reason is that--as per fundamental law--any unapportioned tax must be an indirect excise tax.

That's why the IRS threw in this thing about "voluntary filing"--and leaving everything up to the wage earner to file--but with coercion.

Anonymous said...


Smoke and mirrors (Title 26, etc) + Darth Vader (IRS/DOJ) = Income Tax.

Your analysis of the "income" tax is incomplete and biased. Therefore, your your instructions on this topic are not competent, and you should resign.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Siegel,

I have looked through your site for the law that people are arguing about. I was unable to find it.

Would please take the time to provide two things that should quash all the tax-protesters on here:

1. A link to the law in question.
2. A ruling from the supreme court that defines income.

Thank you,

- Dan

Anonymous said...

Don't try to pull the wool over our eyes Professor. The charges against Mr Cryer were one count of "tax evasion" and one count of "willful failure to file" a federal income tax return.
You wrote "the the government has the burden of proving, not only that the defendant didn't pay his taxes, but that the defendant knew he had to pay his taxes."
Those are to separate charges and you linked them together which they were not. The jury aquitted him of the two "separate" charges.

John said...

Cryer argues rationally using logic and reason in his 104 page memo raising numerous points in support of his position.

Rather than rationally and critically evaluating his legal arguments, you choose to label him a Tax Protester, and then resort to ad hominem arguments.

I guess even Law Professors resort to logical fallacies to avoid rationally addressing the points raised.

Why not address his memo point by point and demostrate by superior logical argument how his legal arguments don't hold water?

I won't hold my breath.

f said...

I have poured over Mr. Siegel's writings deconstructing the tax protestor's 861 arguments as well as those of Tommy Cryer. Though I am not a layman, even my Ivy League scientific education does not provide me with sufficient background to come to a conclusion as to which body of evidence is correct. However, one thing which is arguably provable and evident for all to see is the strong likelihood that Prof. Siegel's political affiliations may have colored his interpretation of the tax law to such an extent as to prevent him from interpreting them in any other fashion. Specifically, I refer you to his contributions to those who would use the government to further redistribute private property:,%20jonathan&txtState=DC&txtAll=Y&Order=N

I acknowledge in advance the rebuttal that one's viewpoint does not prove a fact, however, I, too, cite, former Sen. Pat Moynihan's quip that everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.

Yours in liberty,

JP said...

Prof. Siegel

While I find the arguement interesting regarding the validity of the constitutionality of the federal income tax, I can't help but disagree with some of your findings.

First, Dr. Edwin Vieira who is one of the most foremost experts on Constitutional Law (He holds 4 doctrates from Harvard)even stated that the definition of income in the Constitution was defined by the Supreme Court in the Eisner v. Macomber case where income is defined as gains or profits in corporate activity.
Also, when Arron Russo interviewed Sheldon Cohen, former IRS Commissioner and General Council to the IRS, he put Mr. Cohen right in a corner where Mr. Cohen answers "You've caught me unprepared", where then Mr. Russo offers to come back once Mr. Cohen may gather the information he needed. Of course, he declined. The most incredible statement by Mr. Cohen was when he said that "THE SUPREME COURT RULINGS ARE INAPPLICABLE" which he's saying the IRS doesn't have to comply with the Supreme Court rulings. Wow, doesn't sound like America, more like Russia here.

Also, Peter Gibbons who is a tax attorney even said "Your labor is your private property. When you go to work for somebody it's an even exchange, I do some work, you give me some money."
This can be found in Coppage v. Kansas 236 U.S. 1,14 (1914)
"Chief among such contracts is that of personal employment by which labor and other servcies are EXCHANGED for money or other forms of property."

You also should read the 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto and see how many of those apply right here to the United States.

Oh, and what you are saying about the Federal Reserve is totally incorrect. That's another debate I suppose.

I would like to know what your thoughts are refuting Dr. Vieira's claims.