Ever since I've become embroiled in the local political scene in my hometown, I've become a sort of lightening rod for some residents, who, quite honestly, are more than a few sandwiches shy of a picnic.
I've received a number of phone calls and letters, some of which are sincere in nature, agreeing with my positions on town matters -- particularly anti-development -- while other correspondences are dangerously close to being turned over to FBI analysts in Quantico, Va.
One of those aforementioned members of the populace --who, ironically, has held a municipal job for nearly a half-century -- is obsessed with the idea of abolishing the federal income tax.
And in hopes of having me join him on his soapbox of futility, he regularly stuffs anti-tax literature in my mailbox and feeds me updates when any of the higher-profile tax abolitionists is battling out the constitutionality of the federal income tax in court.
When I attempt to explain to him that no one has successfully challenged the law since it was first enacted over 90 years ago, he simply shrugs and says, "That's why we're in court."
Now it's one thing for a man with barely a high school education to naively believe in a future courtroom victory, but it's quite another when those far better educated purposely skirt the obligations the rest of us must undergo.
Take former New York Mayor David Dinkins, whose underachievement in that post in four years would have made Herbert Hoover shine by comparison, who admitted during his campaign that he simply forgot to file his taxes -- for four consecutive years!
More recently, a self-proclaimed tax protestor, one Larken Rose of Hollywood, Pa., used the shopworn excuse that Section 861 was invalid and, as a result, eschewed filing federal returns over four years despite earning roughly $500,00 during that period.
Rose, who operated a small transcription service, has, according to reports, been examining loopholes to sidestep paying the federal tax since the 1990s and has now adopted the burgeoning "861 position."
As detailed in a 79-page report, Rose claimed Section 861 contained general definitions of what constitutes gross income and taxable income.
The prosecutor submitted evidence that showed Rose received in excess of a dozen notices from the IRS rejecting his 861 petition and that he received more than 10 letters from members of Congress notifying him that his Section 861 argument was invalid.
Apparently, the IRS and the Justice Department were somewhat less apathetic than New York City voters in the late 1980s when they elected David Dinkins, and gave Rose a free 15-month stay at the Hotel Crowbar in addition to a fine of $10,000 plus interest and penalties.
You've heard me bemoan ad nauseum my 1040 nightmares and pricey checks to the U.S. Treasury, so naturally you couldn't find a trace of sympathy in me for tax cheats being sent to the Big House if you used a divining rod.
Nevertheless I do find it fascinating that despite a goose egg in the win column (and in many cases between their ears as well) in the fight against the income tax, there are legions that continue to keep stuffing mailboxes.
Including mine, I'm sure.
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