WAGES ARE NOT TAXABLE INCOME, ACCORDING TO JURY - IRS CANNOT TAX A
MAN'S RIGHT TO WORK.
In an amazing court case involving the "income tax", a Chattanooga jury agreed with
the argument by the defendant that the "income tax" is actually an "Excise Tax" and
applies only to certain classes of people. [U.S. v. Long, Eastern District of Tennessee.
CR 19391. October 15, 1993]
Nationally prominent attorney, Lowell Becraft of Huntsville, AL, assisted by attorney
Russell J. Leonard of Sewanee, TN, defended Lloyd R. Long of Decherd, TN, who was
charged by the Internal Revenue Service with willful failure to file income tax returns for
the years 1989 and 1990.
In presenting the case for the Internal Revenue Service, assistant U.S. Attorney Curtis
Collier, assisted by special agent Michael Greasley of the IRS, declared that Mr. Long
had gross income in excess of $49,000 for each of the years 1989 and 1990, and that
he had "willfully" failed to
file income tax returns for those years as "required by law".
The defense admitted that Mr. Long did in fact have income in excess of $49,000 for
each of the years in question, and that he did not file a return. He then proceeded to
prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt
that he was not "liable" for an income tax, nor was he "required by law" to file.
Defense testimony presented a case entitled Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad
wherein it was the unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that the Sixteenth
Amendment did not give Congress any new power to tax any new subjects; it merely
tried to simplify the way in which tax was imposed. It also showed that the income tax
was in fact
an excise tax on corporate privileges and privileged occupations. The defense then
brought a case entitled Flint v. Stone Tracy, wherein an excise tax was defined as
being a tax laid upon the manufacture, sale and consumption of commodities within the
country; upon licenses to pursue
certain occupations and upon corporate privileges. Mr. Long's attorneys also brought
out a case entitled Simms v. Arehns, where in the court ruled that the income tax was
neither a property tax nor a tax upon occupations of common right, but was an excise
The defense then brought out a case entitled Redfield v. Fisher, wherein the court
ruled that the individual, unlike the corporation, cannot be taxed for the mere privilege
of existing, but that the individual's right to
live and own property was a natural right upon which an excise cannot be imposed.
Defense also noted studies done by the Congressional Research Service showing the
Income Tax to be an Excise Tax.
Next, the defense noted that in a Tennessee Supreme Court case, Jack Cole v.
Commissioner, the court ruled that citizens are entitled by right to INCOME or
EARNINGS and that right could not be taxed as a privilege. In another Tennessee
Supreme Court case, Corn v. For, the court ruled that individuals have a right to
combine their activities as partnerships; and that this is a natural right, independent
and antecedent of the government.
The prosecution did not challenge or attempt to refute any of the cases cited, nor the
conclusions of the courts.
Defense brought out in testimony the fact that nowhere in the entire Internal Revenue
Code was anyone actually made liable for the income tax. The IRS's own privacy act
notice cites only three sections, and none of these sections makes anyone liable for
the tax. They also proved that this was not an oversight by showing that the alcohol tax
was worded so clearly that no one could misinterpret who is made liable for the alcohol
Prosecution did not challenge or attempt to refute this point, nor were they able to
show a statute that made anyone liable for the income tax.
Defense then presented the mission statement of the Internal Revenue Service stating
that the income tax relied upon "voluntary compliance" and a statement from the head
of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the IRS, which showed that the income tax
is 100% voluntary, as opposed to the alcohol tax which is 100% enforced. Mr. Long
stated that in 1988 he knew that: the income tax was in fact an excise
tax; that he was not enjoying any corporate privileges nor engaged in any privileged
occupation; that income or earnings from the exercise of common rights could not be
taxed as an excise or otherwise; that nowhere in the Internal Revenue Code was he
made liable for the tax and the
income tax was voluntary. But Mr. Long was still so intimidated by the IRS that he filed
and paid his voluntary assessment.
He then began a series of letters to the IRS explaining that he had no licenses or
privileges issued to him by the federal government. He asked for direct answers to
questions such as: "Am I required to file federal income tax returns?" and "Am I liable
for federal income taxes?" The IRS never gave a direct answer to any of his questions.
Instead they inferred and insinuated and extrapolated and beat around the bush, and
generally avoided answering. So Mr. Long testified that he decided to stop
The IRS brought in two "expert" witnesses. Both were actually IRS employees who had
received training as professional witnesses. Upon cross examination by Mr. Becraft,
one witness, a Ms. Jeu, stated that a secret code known only to the IRS, and encoded
on Mr. Long's permanent
record, showed that the IRS knew that he was not required to mail or file a return. Ms.
Jeu made every effort to avoid this admission, to the point that she was beginning to
frustrate the jury. The other witness, upon cross-examination by Mr. Becraft, gave
testimony that conflicted with the privacy act notice.
The government also attempted to insinuate "guilt by association" by claiming Mr. Long
had known and relied upon persons of questionable character. They argued that the
writers of some of the books he read, and people he knew, had been convicted of
tax-related charges in the past and were in fact criminals.
Mr. Long responded that just because a person had been convicted of a crime by a
court that did not invalidate everything he said. To illustrate his point, he pointed out
that the Apostle Paul was a murderer, but that by the Grace of God he became the
greatest of the Apostles. He added that
he, Mr. Long, did not rely on anything that he did not personally check out thoroughly.
In summation, Mr. Becraft reminded the jury that Galileo was imprisoned for holding a
belief that conflicted with what everyone else knew was a "fact" and that Columbus,
acting on a belief that conflicted with what everyone else knew was a "fact" discovered
something no one else thought existed.
The jury agreed with the defense. By finding Mr. Long "not guilty" on all counts, they
have ventured into uncharted territory in their monumental decision.
A Chattanooga TV station quoted the government spokesman as saying that this case
will change the way the IRS will handle such cases in the future. They indicated that
they (the government) would be less likely to prosecute if a jury isn't going to decide in