flawed Wesley Snipes 2-part film ciruculating
Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 4:10 PM
Subject: flawed Wesley Snipes 2-part film ciruculating
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The "861 argument" folks are at it again, circulating a
well-produced two-part film purporting to demonstrate that only
non-Americans or those doing business in foreign countries or
federal territories and possessions can be liable for "income"
taxes. The film focuses on the recent indictment of Wesley Snipes,
and the fact that, in part, the indictment accuses Snipes of
"failing to file a return stating his income and claiming any
deductions and credits to which he is entitled". Seizing on the
language "deductions and credits", the actors in the film conduct a
search of 26 USC for those words as a phrase, which (it is asserted)
will only be found in portions of the code related to non-resident
aliens, foreign corporations and territories or possessions. They
suggest (without troubling themselves with the fact that claiming
deductions and credits is obviously optional) that it therefore must
be concluded that only persons to whom these portions relate can be
"required to file a return".
Unfortunately, this is merely an exercise in fallacious reasoning,
in which the film-maker's proposition is illegitimately presented as
being decisive of the issue they claim to address, and is also
carefully framed in a fashion that leads to the conclusion desired.
Without bothering to run my own search to the same effect, I'll
grant for purposes of this discussion that these may be the only
locations where the entire phrase "deductions and credits" may be
found. However, they are certainly NOT the only places that
"deductions" and/or "credits" available to filers are found in the
code or the law. A search for either will turn up MANY references
to these terms. Those found here
26 USC 151. Allowance of deductions for personal exemptions
(a) Allowance of deductions
In the case of an individual, the exemptions provided by this
section shall be allowed as deductions in computing taxable income.
26 USC 31. Tax withheld on wages
(a) Wage withholding for income tax purposes
(1) In general The amount withheld as tax under chapter 24 shall be
allowed to the recipient of the income as a credit against the tax
imposed by this subtitle.
...are sufficient by themselves to make clear that the film's
premise is completely unfounded.
That this presentation, and the thinking behind it, is invalid
doesn't mean that Mr. Snipes has actually done anything wrong, in
the sense of having had ill-intent, or in the sense of having evaded
a tax liability which he actually owed, of course. I hope that
someone who knows him gets a copy of CtC
so that he can learn what is actually going on in his case.
I also hope that the very talented producers of these films learn
the truth as well. Putting erroneous material like this into
circulation is very harmful. The flaws in presentations like this
will be very quickly apparent to any "newbie" that gives them brief
consideration and even the most superficial research, such as is
demonstrated here. This is likely to result in that "newbie"
turning his or her back on the whole concept of "tax honesty" and
never looking further to find the real truth-- another possible
warrior for the truth transformed into a disparaging and cynical
voice helping to dissuade the next American from even taking a first
look at the subject.
On the other hand, these very talented producers could be doing a
lot of good, if they were devoting their time to learning, and
helping spread the word, about the reality of the "income" tax...
(More on the "861 argument" fallacy can be found at
Anyone circulating any of this stuff is advised to immediately cease
and desist, and anyone receiving it should reply to the sender to
that effect, in the strongest possible terms. In recognition of the
sender's failure to do even minimal research to verify what he or
she is circulating, and the possibility that the circulation of
erroneous information and ideas is deliberate, anything presented by
that sender in the future should be taken with at least a grain of
salt, if not a little suspicion, in the future.
NOTE: Needless to say, I cannot address EVERY bit of the vast amount
of nonsense constantly making its way around the "tax honesty"
community. The simple rule of thumb to follow is this-- if you
didn't read it in CtC
home to much baloney-- excluded), it is either unreliable or simply
not true; and in any case is irrelevant to the "income" tax subject.
The material posted here
Also, please don't waste pixels writing to argue with me about items
posted here, or to defend them. The reason items are listed here is
that they are wrong, and serve to distract from the reality of the
law, and our critically important responsibility for its
enforcement. I have already looked into each of the listed items
and don't intend to let myself be distracted any further-- you
shouldn't either. Those looking for more detailed discussions of
myths, misunderstandings and errors about the law will find many
No law compels a work eligible man or woman to submit a form W-4 or W-9(or their
equivalent) nor disclose an SSN as a condition of being hired or keeping one's
job. With the exception of an order from a court of competent jurisdiction
issued by a duly qualified judge, no amounts can be lawfully taken from one's
pay (for taxes, fees or other charges) without the worker's explicit, knowing,
voluntary, written consent.
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