Income Tax on Trial
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
The US federal income tax will soon go on trial. The "We The People Foundation for Constitutional Education" has launched its operation "Wait to File Until the Trial." The organization wants to let Americans know that:
1) "The very legality of the U.S. income tax system goes on trial February 27th at a congressionally sponsored public hearing on Capitol Hill. This historic event is the result of a three-year effort by the We The People Foundation For Constitutional Education and thousands of supporters nationwide."
2) "At the 2-day hearing, we expect to prove conclusively that the IRS does not have the legal authority to force employers to withhold taxes from the paychecks of their employees, or to force most Americans to file a return or pay the income tax."
3) "If the research is confirmed publicly, most Americans may be entitled to a refund of 100% of the income tax paid or withheld in 2001. "
They suggest waiting until after the hearing to submit income taxes. The foundation intends to mount a nation-wide media campaign. The foundation people have also written a letter, which is being mailed to 300,000 Americans. They have been requesting that the government provide the legal and Constitutional authority for employers to require withholding of wages and for people to file tax returns and pay the income tax.
There will be a live, gavel-to-gavel webcast of the 2-day Washington hearing. Internet users will be able to see and hear the IRS and DOJ witnesses as well as print out copies of the evidence as it is presented. VHS and CD-ROM copies of the hearing will also be made available. For details visit givemeliberty.org .
The advertisement the foundation is placing in nation-wide media claims that Americans are forced to waive our 5th-Amendment rights when filing tax forms, that the 16th Amendment regarding income taxes was not properly ratified, and that IRS practices violate due process. Note also this disclaimer .
I am not a member of the above foundation, and am simply a recipient of their letter by email. I pass this information along as interesting and possibly important news on taxation. I don't endorse or advocate any of the information or action. As Henry George said, "think for yourself."
The Supreme Court cases on the federal income taxes have, in my understanding, declared that the 16th Amendment's effect was to place the federal income tax in the Constitutional category of an indirect tax. The federal government thus does not directly tax your income, as this would violate the Constitutional requirement that direct taxes be apportioned by State population. The federal personal income tax is an indirect tax on the activity of obtaining income, the tax measured by the amount of income. Whether this makes any logical or economic sense, I leave to you. This Court decision is based on precedents going back to the 1790s Hylton Case, when the federal government imposed a tax on carriages, and the Court declared the tax to be indirect.
The 9th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that the enumeration of particular rights in the Constitution "shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The Constitution of the United States of America thereby recognizes rights ("others") that preceded the Constitution, rights inherent in Anglo-American common law and in natural law.
One of our natural rights is the right to our labor and the wages from labor. It is then a violation of our natural rights for anyone, including any government, to forcibly take away our wages. When government taxes wages, in effect you have labored for the government by force, and involuntary servitude was also outlawed in the USA by the 13th Amendment.
If government may not tax wages, what may it tax? Ultimately, all wealth derives from either land or labor. If labor may not be taxed, the only alternative is land. So who is the rightful owner of the land and its rent? The Declaration of Independence, which established and justified the United States as an independent nation, declares that "all men are created equal." Since labor did not create the land, then the logical default is that human beings as equal persons should have equal rights to the gifts of nature.
The economic manifestation of the benefits of land is its market rent. The collection of the rent on behalf of the people for common benefit would therefore be the morally and Constitutionally proper source of public revenue. If the US federal income tax is indeed found to be contrary to the Constitution, then the way will open for governments at all levels to shift to the natural and morally proper public revenue source, land rent.
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2001 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
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