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.

Easiest way to hack into the IRS? Just ask for their password.

A lot of people have bought into the Hollywood mythology of a hacker as someone who sits at a keyboard typing randomly until he magically manages to break into a secure computer system solely by the power of his superior understanding of computers and programming, but the truth is you don’t have to be a Super Genius™ to successfully invade a computer network. You just have to know how to ask nicely:

Inspector general finds lax computer security by IRS employees – SignOnSanDiego.com

WASHINGTON – IRS employees ignored security rules and turned over sensitive computer information to a caller posing as a technical support person, according to a government study.

Sixty-one of the 102 people who got the test calls, including managers and a contractor, complied with a request that the employee provide his or her user name and temporarily change his or her password to one the caller suggested, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, an office that does oversight of Internal Revenue Service.

All it takes to be a successful hacker is a little knowledge of social engineering.