Tax Matters

A major topic of constitutional abuse concerns taxes. Constitutional government requires revenue, and constitutions provide for revenue collection, but only in certain ways. When taxes are not constitutionally authorized, or are collected in ways that violate constitutional rights, then the foundations of constitutional republican government are threatened.

If money is wanted by Rulers who have in any manner oppressed the People, they may retain it until their grievances are redressed, and thus peaceably procure relief, without trusting to despised petitions or disturbing the public tranquility.
— "Continental Congress To The Inhabitants Of The Province Of Quebec", Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-89, Journals 1:105-13

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U.S. Income Tax — The main source of revenue for the U.S. government is the federal income tax, but the legitimacy of the tax and the ways it is collected are doubtful.

  1. HTML
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            WordPerfect Income Tax Amendment Never Ratified — Summary of research by Benson and Beckman.
  2. HTML Version Exposι on the Non-ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment — Correspondence between Sec. of State Philander Knox and the Chief Clerk of the Office of the Solicitor.
  3. HTML Version Text Version Controversy over the income tax, Jon Roland 2000/07/11.
  4. HTML Version Direct and Indirect tax, Jon Roland 2016/12/03.
  5. HTML Version Adobe PDF The Law That Always Was, Vern Holland, 1987 — Treatise on the legitimacy of the income tax.
  6. HTML Version Adobe PDF Judicial Tyranny and Your Income Tax, Jeffrey Dickstein, 1990, 2010 — Review of leading cases, showing compensation for labor is not "income" subject to taxation.
  7. HTML Version Text Version Uncertainties of the Income Tax, by Larry Becraft, Attorney.
  8. HTML Version U.S. v. William J. Benson — Benson is being prosecuted for informing people that the Income Tax Amendment was never ratified.
  9. HTML Version U.S. v. Vernice Kuglin — Kuglin was acquitted for failure to file. Here are the transcripts.
  10. HTML Version Activist Efforts — Groups and sites working for tax reform.
  11. Adobe PDF GAO Report — IRS lacks statutory authority to impose or enforce penalties for employers not reporting.
  12. Adobe PDF Brushaber Petition — Provides insight into the original arguments.
  13. Adobe PDF Remote Link - PDF Oral Argument, US Supreme Court, U.S. v. Sandra L. Craft, Jan. 14, 2002, see especially p. 6 — Exchange between Cj. J. Rehnquist (labeled as "QUESTION") and Kent L. Jones, Assistant to the Solicitor General, for the U.S. Inadvertent disclosure that there is no law making it a crime to fail to file or pay income taxes on personal income.
  14. Remote Link - HTML Taxes, Liberation Journal — Links to articles.
  15. Remote Link - HTML The Income Tax, by Benton McMillin, May 17, 1913 edition, Saturday Evening Post — Traces historical background.
  16. Adobe PDF Revenue Act of 1942 — This was what first introduced withholding "tax" on wages.
  17. HTML Version Remote Link - HTML Brief Explanation of the 1942 Victory Tax
  18. Adobe PDF Internal Revenue Code — 26 USC, as of January 1, 2002.
  19. Adobe PDF Adobe PDF Internal Revenue Code — 26 USC, as of January 2, 2006.
  20. HTML Version Internal Revenue Regulations — Through 2003.
  21. Adobe PDF Excerpt from 1943 Congressional Record — Debate showing the original understanding of the income tax as an excise on income from property.
  22. HTML Version Adobe PDF Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete, Beardsley Ruml, Chairman of the Federal reserve Banks of New York, American Affairs, Jan. 1946, VIII:1, p. 35 — Argues against corporate income tax.
  23. HTML Version A Constitutional Replacement for the Income Tax on Wages — Not a sales tax but a purchase tax.
  24. HTML Version Text Version Croasmun Memorandum — Minutes of 1973 meeting in which IRS agents outline their subversion of the judicial system.
  25. HTML Version Text Version The Tax Protestor Doctrine, by Don Kostyu — Discussion of the Croasmun Memorandum and how it has been applied.
  26. HTML Version Section 1706 — Example of tax code being used to suppress small competitors.

Leading Court Decisions — read carefully and note their confusion.

  1. Remote Link - HTML Hylton v. United States, 3 U.S. 171 (1796) — Tax on carriages is "indirect".
  2. Remote Link - HTML Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., 157 U.S. 429 (1895) — Tax on income from property is "direct", so must be apportioned.
  3. Remote Link - HTML Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., 157 U.S. 429 (1895) — Rehearing of the case.
  4. Remote Link - HTML Brushaber v. Union Pacific R. Co., 240 U.S. 1 (1916).
  5. Remote Link - HTML Stanton v. Baltic Mining Company, 240 U.S. 112 (1916).
  6. Remote Link - HTML Southern Pacific v. Lowe, 247 U.S. 330 (1918). — "We must reject...the broad contention submitted in behalf of the government that all receipts...everything that comes in...are income" ...
  7. Remote Link - HTML Eisner v. Macomber, 252 U.S. 189 (1920) — "Income" does not include wages.
  8. Remote Link - HTML New York Trust Co. v. Eisner, 256 U.S. 345 (1921) — Tax on inheritance. Accepts pass-through definition of direct and indirect tax, which had not been accepted in Pollock.
  9. Remote Link - HTML Bowers v. Kerbaugh-Empire Co., 271 U.S. 170 (1926)
  10. Remote Link - HTML South Carolina v. Baker, 485 U.S. 505 (1988) — Allowed U.S. tax on interest from state bonds, ruled not a violation of Tenth Amendment.
  11. Remote Link - HTML National Federation of Independent Business v. Sibelius, 11-393 (06/28/2012) — Held an assessment on not doing something was a tax, and not a direct tax.

Case quotes

"Congress has taxed INCOME, not compensation."
- [Conner v. U.S., 303 F Supp. 1187 (1969)] -

This is just one of MANY rulings where the Federal courts have consistently, repeatedly, ruled that payment for labor (wages, salaries and compensation for personal services) is NOT taxable!

"Income within the meaning of the 16th Amendment and the Revenue Act means, gain ... and, in such connection, gain means profit ... proceeding from property severed from capital, however invested or employed and coming in, received or drawn by the taxpayer for his separate use, benefit and disposal."
- [Staples v. U.S., 21 F Supp 737 U.S. Dist. Ct. ED PA, 1937] -
"There is a clear distinction between `profit' and `wages', or a compensation for labor. Compensation for labor (wages) cannot be regarded as profit within the meaning of the law. The word profit’, as ordinarily used, means the gain made upon any business or investment -- a different thing altogether from the mere compensation for labor."
- [Oliver v. Halstead, 86 S.E. Rep 2nd 85e9 (1955)] -
"The claim that salaries, wages, and compensation for personal services are to be taxed as an entirety and therefore must be returned by the individual who has performed the services which produce the gain is without support, either in the language of the Act or in the decisions of the courts construing it. Not only this, but it is directly opposed to provisions of the Act and to regulations of the U.S. Treasury Department, which either prescribed or permits that compensations for personal services not be taxed as a entirety and not be returned by the individual performing the services. It is to be noted that, by the language of the Act, it is not salaries, wages, or compensation for personal services that are to be included in gains, profits, and income derived from salaries, wages, or compensation for personal services." - [Lucas v. Earl, 281 U.S. 111 (1930)] -
"... whatever may constitute income, therefore, must have the essential feature of gain to the recipient. This was true when the 16th Amendment became effective, it was true at the time of Eisner v. Macomber Supra, it was true under Section 22(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1938, and it is likewise true under Section 61(a) of the I.R.S. Code of 1954. If there is not gain, there is not income ... Congress has taxed income not compensation." [Conner v. U.S., 303 F Supp. 1187 (1969)] -
A much earlier ruling stated very simply: "... one does not derive income by rendering services and charging for them."
- [Edwards v. Keith, 231 F 111 (1916)] -
State court rulings coincide with the Federal courts. "... reasonable compensation for labor or services rendered is not profit." - [Lauderdale Cemetery Assoc. v. Mathews, 345 PA 239; 47 A. 2d 277, 280 (1946)] -

"There is a clear distinction between profit and wages, or compensation for labor. Compensation for labor cannot be regarded as profit within the meaning of the law."
- [Oliver v. Halstead, 196 VA 992; 86 S.E. 2d 858 (1955)] -


Direct and Indirect taxes — Discussion and examploes.

  1. Remote HTML Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, Book V. V.2. Of the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Societ — First scholarly treatment of the distinction.
  2. Remote HTML Direct tax enacted in 1861 — Thirty-seventh Congress, Sess. I. Ch. 45. Sec. 8. Page 294ff.
  3. HTML blog post Health Care Act upheld! — Discussion of NFIB v. Sibelius, declaring the individual mandate to be an indirect tax.

U.S. Social Security — The main system of federal retirement subsidy.

  1. Adobe PDF Social Security Act of 1935 — Compare to the present system.


Other Resources

Also see Money Matters.

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Original date: 1999/08/20 —