SEB Mailbag: The Kent Hovind Tax Law Challenge.

I received the following email just as, and this seems to be an increasing trend, I was about to shut down for the night:

From: Lindsey Walsh
Subject: Whatever you do, Mr Jenkins. Be smart. Do NOT watch this movie! It’s scary…

Movie – America: Freedom to Fascism
by Aaron Russo

Mr. Jenkins,
    I am pleased to meet your acquaintance. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mr. Lindsey Walsh. I have a wife and two boys. I am a tax-paying, law-abiding American and a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I was browsing through all the Kent Hovind websites and read one of your comments about Mr. Kent Hovind. While I admire your freedom of speech and respect the fact that every man is free to express their opinions, I would simply like to most humbly provoke you to a friendly challange. I noticed you said “tax law” referring to the allegations against Mr. Hovind. I have, perhaps, a defense that may require more time than you have or would like to spend on this issue. However, I will just throw it out there for you to chew or spit out, and you will do what you want with it. My response is in the form of a question: What is the “tax law?” Moreover, what is the “tax law” which Mr. Hovind specifically and allegedly did not comply with? In addition, Is there a law stated in the constitution or amended to it which makes us liable to pay income tax? If so, would you be so kind as to notify me of its location? Thank you for allowing me to participate in this comment and I thank you in advance for your reply.

    Equally earthbound,
    Mr. Lindsey Walsh

P. S. I agree with your comments concerning the “bog brother” interaction. Although I cannot agree with all the words used, overall I thought you gave an intellegent response. Once again, thank you for your time in reading this email and I trust your response will be well thought out and thoroughly researched. Thank you.

I sent back the following reply:

    Mr. Walsh,

    I don’t have enough time to do this email justice at the moment, but I have posted it to my blog for others to assist with if they’re so inclined. I’ll need some time to look up the specific laws listed in the court complaint that Hovind violated, but in answer to your question on the Constitution allowing for income tax I’d point to the 16th Amendment (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Am16) which reads as follows: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

    That seems pretty straightforward to me, but then I assume you’ve asked the question with that very amendment in mind and likely have some form of counter-argument prepared. Once I have more time I’ll address the other questions you posed.

    Sincerely,

    Les Jenkins

I’m no expert on tax law, but I do have a passing familiarity with most of the anti-tax arguments that various groups have been making over the years. I can recall in my youth a friend of the family who married a guy that was a member of one of these anti-tax groups that ended up doing some prison time for not paying his taxes. So I’ve seen firsthand just what happens when you try to buck the IRS.

Once I get a little more time I’ll sit down and see if I can’t collect together exactly what the charges against Hovind were just to see where Mr. Walsh is going to go with his argument. Will it be a novel approach or will it be one that’s already been smacked down repeatedly by the courts? Time will tell.

22 thoughts on “SEB Mailbag: The Kent Hovind Tax Law Challenge.

  1. hi, long time reader, first time poster.

    if you haven’t watched ‘America: Freedom to Fascism’ you can find it on youtube. i have not verified the ‘facts’ that russo (now deceased) depicts. but according to the movie, trading your time and effort for wages is not income, income is corporate profits.

    the movie also indicates that there is a scotus decision that the 16th amendment did not provide any additional taxation power to the government.

    i’m sure that someone (brighter than me) can point out several holes in russo’s arguments big enough to drive a truck through. but if you haven’t seen it you ought to give it a look if you have a couple of hours to spare. conspiracy theories abound from taxes to the federal reserve and beyond.

  2. Just to help out, here are the specific counts:

    12 counts of willful failure to collect Federal income taxes and FICA taxes under 26 U.S.C subsection 7202

    45 counts of knowingly structuring transactions in Federally-insured financial institutions to evade the reporting requirements of 31 U.S.C subsection 5313(a)in violation of 31 U.S.C. subsection 5324 18 U.S.C. subsection 2 and 31 C.F.R. sec. 103.11

    and

    1 count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the administration of the internal revenue laws under 26 U.S.C 7212

    I do hope this is specific enough for Mr. Walsh.

  3. I know the anti-tax crowd makes a big deal about taxes being unconstitutional and all, but with the 16th right there and clear as day you have to change the definition of income to actually keep your argument going.

    Merriam-Webster’s Defines Income (and I assume is the commonly held definition written into the 16th amendment):

    1 : a coming in : ENTRANCE, INFLUX

    2 : a gain or recurrent benefit usually measured in money that derives from capital or labor; also : the amount of such gain received in a period of time

    That seems pretty clear, so I doubt there is any legal basis for Russo’s definition. 

    Anyone is free to invent their own definitions all they like, but nobody is going to take them seriously if they’re best defense is “nuh-uh, the definition that is commonly accepted as correct is just wrong, but mine is right!”. All that will really do is show everyone what a nutjob they are.

    What I’d like to know is where the anti-driving laws crowd is in all this?  Where are those people that have issue with laws against things like speeding and driving down the wrong side of the road?  These things are not mentioned in the Constitution, no amendments are present to cover them, so where are the protesters, where are those who refuse to follow the traffic laws because they “don’t have to”?

  4. Parkay, thanks for the summary. I think I’ve seen parts of the film before or, at the least, I’ve heard some of the arguments before. I don’t find that line of argument very convincing if for no other reason than I’m mature enough to recognize that the government cannot function without funds.

    Bastich, thanks for taking the time to round those up. I’ll be sure to credit you when I include them in a follow up email assuming Mr. Walsh doesn’t just respond here.

    BB, don’t give these people any ideas. Last thing I need to be doing this early in the morning is dodging idiots who think traffic laws don’t apply to them.

  5. I think you’d need to know hovind as a person to get a feel of what we should think of him, whether or not he’s an asshat, I havn’t seen him or his material, so this is neutral. It doesn’t really make a difference whether he’s innocent or guilty, he is the person he is, good or bad, and you should be able to see that plainly in his approach and ideas. The law itself does not establish what someone really deserves as a human being, it’s how they act that establishes that.

  6. Bahamat, I’ve never met him personally, but I’ve seen enough of his antics over the years (this isn’t the first time I’ve written about Hovind) to be able to form an opinion on at least his public persona. He’s an asshat.

  7. And that’s all that would matter in my consideration when dealing with him. I trust your judge of character.

    In life I can sometimes spot an asshat a mile off if I see certain patterns, however I’m finding reacently that people who use those techniques on others don’t on me for whatever reason, I hear very dubious things about people at work who’s dealings with me have been nothing but friendly and philosophical, so it’s getting harder to spot what I need to do. I am largely unable to provide an asshat with the emotional feedback that they need to radically change their dealings, I lead by example but my personality cannot provide the push

  8. These “I don’t need to pay taxes” people are off their rockers. How will Science and math education flourish without tax dollars supporting education? Who will pay for the roads they drive on? Who will pay for the other infrastructure items they use? Who will maintain them? Ask them how technology spread so rapidly? Ask them why we have a fiber optic backbone for communication and aren’t still using strings and cups?

    The list just goes on and on. Shut the fuck up and pay your taxes. Take solace in the fact that your kid has opportunities after graduation other than plowing a field.

  9. 2 things parkay said about the movie has been bothering me so I decided to do more homework.

    but according to the movie, trading your time and effort for wages is not income, income is corporate profits.

    Funy, but in Commissioner vs Glenshaw Glass Co. (1955) The SCoTUS defined income as…

    (a) GENERAL DEFINITION. – `Gross income’ includes gains, profits, and income derived from salaries, wages, or compensation for personal service . . . of whatever kind and in whatever form paid, or from professions, vocations, trades, businesses, commerce, or sales, or dealings in property, whether real or personal, growing out of the ownership or use of or interest in such property; also from interest, rent, dividends, securities, or the transaction of any business carried on for gain or profit, or gains or profits and income derived from any source whatever

    Pretty clear if you ask me. And parkay also said..

    the movie also indicates that there is a scotus decision that the 16th amendment did not provide any additional taxation power to the government.

    That would most likely be reference to Pollock vs Farmer’s Loan and Trust(1894) which made the source of the income important since direct taxes have to be apportioned by state according to population but indirect (or excise) taxes must be levied uniformly. Since the 16th Amendment was passed to remove the Pollock requirement and upheld in the Supreme Court then yes, you must pay taxes.

    Wow, a day off with the chance to educate myself and others. What a day.

  10. I saw a movie on Youtube or Google that was about federal income taxes. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the movie, but it did make some interesting points. Apparently even some IRS agents, having faced the problem that supposedly there is no law that requires people to pay federal income taxes, have joined these anti-tax groups. Or they didn’t actually say they were anti-tax per se, but rather they wanted clarification on the legality of taxes.

    Frankly, I don’t get this argument, since the U.S.C. I.R.C clearly does state that you need to pay taxes. I assume that these laws were, in fact, passed by the Congress.

    Oh, and as to the 16th amendment, apparently there were some problems with ratifying it, and some people are of the opinion that it never was ratified in the required number of states.

  11. I just re-read my last post. Parkay, I’m not saying you think taxes are illegal or anything. The you in this case are the jacktarded anti-tax nuts.

    (this preemptive apology brought to you by caffine, waking people up for ages now.  big surprise )

  12. i only recommended watching ‘America: Freedom to Fascism’ to see where Lindsey Walsh was coming from. i didn’t make this clear in my first post.

    if you check in Wikipedia for the film it does a pretty good job of ripping into some of the underpinnings of russo’s logic as well as his mis-quoted quotes. also youtube only has clips of the movie, google video has the full length film. (111 minutes)

    personally, i would like to see the abolition of the personal income tax and it’s replacement by a national sales tax. this would eliminate a lot of individual record keeping as well as taxing illegal incomes that don’t get reported. but, i digress.

    in closing, i do like to keep track of what the nutcases are thinking just to remind myself that i’m probably not as paranoid as i think i am.

    l8r

  13. People try such trickery in Canada as well.  THere’s a fringe group I’ve heard a little bit of late called the Church of the Ecumenical Redemption International that doesn’t recognise the authority of the Canadian government because it doesn’t follow the King James Bible as law of the land.  A member produced this detaxing document that’s rather brain bending.

  14. personally, i would like to see the abolition of the personal income tax and it’s replacement by a national sales tax. this would eliminate a lot of individual record keeping as well as taxing illegal incomes that don’t get reported. but, i digress.

    I’d probably agree with a national sales tax.  Somewhere around 25% of my income goes to taxes (federal and state) as well as disability insurance and social security deductions.  I’d be willing to pay as much as 10% in federal sales tax and 5% in state sales tax (15% total) if the government(s) can cover the things that I currently pay deductions on.  Hell, I’d even be willing to go up to 20%, maybe. 

    The problem of course is that those that don’t pay a bunch in taxes right now (the very poor) would suffer more, and the really rich would oppose this tooth and nail, because there is no room for deductions, tax loopholes, and all the other things we hear about that help the rich stay that way (as far as paying taxes go). 

    A flat percentage tax is definitely not beneficial to the rich. I assume that a straight flat tax (meaning everyone pays the same total amount, rather than the same percentage) would be something that wealthy people would like a bit more.

  15. I think the US needs a Major Overhaul when it comes to Tax Reform. We can start with the people that own those little plates that get passed around on Sunday.

  16. Actually a national sales tax is a worse idea than the flat tax, which is a pretty fucking bad idea.

    The rich spend a far lower percentage of their income than the poor and middle class.  Their greatest expenses have to do with employing people to maintain their lifestyle which would not be taxable.

  17. A flat tax might work if the divide between the super rich and the rest of us wasn’t growing more and more pronounced all the time.

  18. The UK tax law reads a bit like a thesaurus in places, with a whole list of words that are covered by ‘income’ or ‘wages’ just to make sure.  I’ve not actually come across any ‘tax is illegal’ groups here, the usual argument is conciencious objector- taxes being used for something with which the ‘customer’ disagrees. I have seen one objection based on the fact that no winning government has ever got more that 50% of the vote since the war, and so are a ‘minority government’.

    Indirect taxes and flat taxes are opposed by anti poverty groups, as they both benefit the rich and punish the poor

    Lower earners spend more of their money as a % on basics, and save less and thus are effectively taxed more.  If everyone spent every thing it effectively becomes a flat tax.

    Flat taxes are a problem because in a progressive system the rich (theoretically- there are too many dodges for the ‘properly’ and super rich) pay a higher % of their total income.
    In the UK (roughly)
    0-£5k 0% (This £5k can change depending on circumstance)
    next £2k 10%
    next £28k 22%
    everything above this 40%
    so on £20000
    Nothing on first £5k = £0
    on next £2000 10% = £200
    on remaining £13k @ 22% = £2860
    Total tax £3060 effectively 15.3%
    Someone on £30k would pay an extra £2200 = £5260 effective 17.5% tax

    Some one on £50k would pay 40% on last £15k of income Tax £12,360- effective 24.7%

    With a flat tax system the extra revenue lost from the top earners has to be made up by making those at the bottom pay more to keep the same level of income.

    I am actually sad enough to write a spreadsheet to calculate for the above example- a flat rate for the £20k guy and the £50K guy would have to be 25.7% on everything above £5k to get the same tax paid-
    £20k pa tax £3,855 – 19.3% £800 pa extra
    £50k pa tax £11,565 – 23.1% a saving of £800

    – someone on £50k stands to gain, as £20k pa man has to help make up the £6k that getting rid of the 40% band loses. And of course, that £800 extra hurts the lower paid guy more than the gain the rich guy feels.

    Ok I realise this is a very simple example, as the tax base is only 2 people, but it shows that averaging tax like this hurts the poor.

  19. I typed “Google” into google, the internets are still running!  What gives?!?!

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The internet is now not working.
    LOL Les will explain this one in due course…

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