By Don Sovereign
© Copyright 1994 TLH, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
FOR USE IN THE U.S.A.
(also adaptable for use in other countries)
However, millions of people, both those who file and pay, and those who don't file or pay, continue to have problems with the IRS. At this writing, the IRS is still very much in force, stealing, plundering, and helping itself to the fruits of the labor of others. And it will only get worse until a revolution brings its final demise. In the interim, the problem needs an effective solution that people who recognize their own sovereignty can use immediately.
The Reliance Defense works best for business owners, the self-employed, and others who are not subject to paycheck tax withholdings. For those who have an employer who withholds, this Reliance Defense may be used, but will require educating the employer.
The Reliance Defense can work in concert with other avenues of perfecting Sovereignty, such as State Citizenship or Permanent Tourist. The reason it can do so is because the Reliance Defense includes legal opinions that document the sovereign citizen's position. It does not require one to become "invisible," but asset protection measures are necessary.
Practitioners of RDM find that this method is far more effective, especially in the courts, than approaches such as State Citizenship, which can become complex and tedious. Arguments against taxation by some groups rely on the premise that the U.S. government has no jurisdiction over citizens under common-law. While this may be true, it is a complicated issue and is almost impossible to prove in court.
The RDM is very simple and straightforward and has had a perfect track record as far as I know. Rarely has anyone using the RDM had to go to court. Therefore, from the perspective of the RDM, you know that the IRS has no jurisdiction over you, and, in court, your attorney need not argue that with them. The RDM is simple and effective on its own and makes other arguments, however valid, unnecessary.
There are groups that charge $1,000 or more for similar RDM information, accompanied by auxiliary material, legal opinion letters and legal defense. However, this report will give you the essentials for success with the RDM. I have distilled the important information one needs, based on my own experience as well as that of others and I have not been called to court. However, if you want the added security of a legal defense team, I have listed some sources at the end of this report who can give you that coverage.
The most important element of the RDM is that you have legal and professional opinion letters from licensed experts. In general, appellate courts have held that reliance on an attorney's professional advice (or U.S. Supreme Court decisions) absolutely shows good faith as a matter of law.
Following receipt of such legal opinion letters that you have requested, you make several copies and keep each set in a separate place to guard against loss. After receiving such legal advice you may stop filing tax returns based on that advice. The legal opinion letters will be used when the IRS writes to you and asks you to file a 1040. In a later section of this report, "How to Respond to IRS Requests," you will find detailed information on this aspect of the RDM.
In the unlikely event that you are charged with "Willful Failure To File," and subpoenaed to appear in court, your attorney will have the evidence to prove that you had no "willful intent" to violate the law. It is your honest understanding that there is no law requiring you to file, and the proof is in your collection of letters of opinion from licensed professionals. The more legal opinions you have, the easier it will be for your attorney to convince a judge or jury that you had no intent to break the law. You relied prudently and judiciously upon the expert advice of recognized professionals. To my knowledge, no one has been convicted of willful failure to file an income tax return using this method. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the validity of this approach:
"If the defendant had a subjective good faith belief, no matter how unreasonable, that he was not required to file a tax return, the government cannot establish that the defendant acted willfully." - Cheek v. U.S., 111 S.C. 604 (1991)
With your legal opinion letters you have more than a subjective good-faith belief. You've relied on the professional advice of licensed counselors who have provided a solid good faith defense.
The RDM is effective only forward in time from the date of your legal opinion letters. The letters do not work retroactively for prior years. Therefore it is necessary to obtain the legal opinions in advance of the deadline for filing.
Although they are generally unaware of it, Americans have no legal requirement to file returns on their individual incomes, except perhaps those who deal in certain commodities, such as alcohol, tobacco and firearms.
The challenge for the RDM practitioner is to find additional attorneys and CPAs who are sufficiently informed and in agreement with the premise of the RDM to write such opinion letters. There are a growing number of such professionals, and more can be found through your own efforts. I have listed a few for your convenience later in this report.
To personally satisfy myself that there is no law in the IRS code that requires one to file an individual tax return, I twice called the IRS, once in Hawaii and once in San Francisco, to ask about this supposed requirement to file. When I called the IRS I asked to speak with someone who was knowledgeable about requirements to file. In both cases the response was much the same. The conversation went something like this:
Without giving my name, I said, "I'm having a debate with a friend of mine. My friend claims that the average individual is not required to file a 1040. I've always believed that I had to file a 1040, and I certainly wouldn't want to change my position, unless I knew for certain that I would not be in violation of the law. So for the sake of this debate, would you please tell me where I can find that law or that regulation in your code books, or whatever it's called, that makes me liable and requires me to file a tax return?"
The response was, "Well, everyone knows you have to file." "Yes, I understand that, of course," I said, "but I'd like to see where it says it, because if I have to file, it must say it somewhere." The agent replied: "What are you, some kind of kook?" and hung up.
Not surprisingly (or surprisingly, as the case may be), after years of research, no one has yet found a law requiring one to file an individual income tax return. There is even one seminar teacher who offers a $50,000 reward to anyone who can find such a law. To date, no one has earned the reward.
There are many reasons why there can be no law requiring one to file an individual tax return. One such reason is that such a law would violate the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land. In the margin of the 1040 form it states that the information you provide may be used by the Justice Department and foreign governments. The word "used" in this sense would include the possibility of the information being used against one. By signing the 1040 return, the signer agrees that the information may be used against him or her. Therefore, a requirement to file a 1040 would be in violation of one's Fifth Amendment rights, which states that no one can be compelled to testify against him or herself. Since all laws must be in conformity with the Constitution or be considered null and void, Congress has not passed a law requiring individuals to file such a tax return.
One who signs an individual tax return waives his or her Constitutional rights, and places him or herself in a worse position than had he or she not filed. By signing the return, you allow the government to do anything they want with the information, even use it against you. In addition, under penalties of perjury, if you've made a mistake on the form, they can legally assess, fine, and/or prosecute you. That is why there can be no law requiring an individual to sign a return.
Some people, on hearing this, may think, "If that is the case, then why have so many people gone to jail due to not filing tax returns?"
The answer is that this is a myth. Very few people have gone to jail for not filing a tax return. What usually happens is that someone famous files a tax return (thus waiving their rights), the IRS finds an error (such as inaccurate information, a deficiency, or a discrepancy), prosecutes the individual for tax evasion, and blows up the story in the media on how they caught this famous person cheating, in order to strike fear into the hearts of the public. With such occasional cases the IRS can give the public the impression that anyone who files a false return will get treated in the same manner.
For example, in the infamous Al Capone case, the IRS put Capone in jail for tax evasion back in the 1940s. Capone was a major Mafia leader who had murdered and stolen and violated Prohibition laws, but the government was unable to provide technical proof of his misdeeds. Capone was incarcerated when the IRS was able to prove tax evasion. An example of a more recent case is that of Leona Helmsley.
The public thought what the IRS wanted them to think: if Al Capone (and Leona Helmsley), who had the money, the clever strategies, and the best attorneys, could not escape the IRS, then no one could. But what most people don't realize is that Capone was not convicted for failure to file an income tax return . . . he was convicted for perjury by submitting false information on his tax return. If he had not filed the return, they could not have convicted him of tax evasion.
As mentioned above, a careful study of the Internal Revenue Code will prove there is no section that makes an individual liable to file a tax return, except, perhaps, certain people such as corporate officers and tobacco and alcohol manufacturers. But it does state that if you are required to file, you must pay such and such an amount. The code is deliberately worded to create the impression, for those who don't read carefully, that everyone who has earned money is required to file. However, this is not the case.
Most IRS publications state that our income tax system is based on individual self-assessment and voluntary compliance. The IRS "Handbook for Special Agents" is a good example of this.
The U.S. Supreme Court further substantiates this:
"Our system of taxation is based upon voluntary assessment and payment, not upon distraint." - U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. v. Flora, 362 US 145.
Some might argue that Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the "power to lay and collect taxes... ," but this refers to excises, customs, and corporate taxes, not taxes on an individual's earnings. The IRS claims that the 16th Amendment gives them authority to collect individual income tax, but based on legal research, this is not true. There are many attorneys who can advise you in writing that the 16th Amendment is invalid because it was never properly ratified. Furthermore, there are additional legal opinions that convincingly confirm that Citizens of the 50 states are not under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government. In addition, according to my own legal research, Webster's dictionary at the time the 16th Amendment was proposed, defined "income" as corporate profit.
Therefore, from whatever angle you consider it, there is, finally and conclusively, no individual American has any legal obligation to file or pay income taxes, with the exception, perhaps, of those who profit from alcohol, tobacco or firearms, officers of corporations on behalf of the corporation, federal employees, and inhabitants of Washington, D.C., federal military bases, and U.S. territories like Guam.
Most attorneys aren't knowledgeable in the matter of requirements to file tax returns and, conversely, believe, as most Americans do, that they must file because they have not done the research. Also, they generally take the position of protecting their immediate interest and won't oppose the government and forsake their loyalty pledge. I suggest that if any attorney or CPA you contact denies the validity of the information in this report, you challenge them by showing them the legal opinions you have acquired. Challenge them to find the law that requires you to do so. They won't be able to find such a law
As mentioned previously, the only way the IRS may hope to successfully prosecute a non-filer is with an obscure law known as "willful failure to file." The IRS uses this law to allege that you intentionally failed to file in order to "cheat" the government out of revenue that you supposedly owe. In order to prevail in such a case, however, the IRS has to prove in a court of law that you knew that you were required to file, and that you willfully (intentionally), violated the law. With the RDM, it is impossible to prove such intent. With your legal opinion from appropriate professionals, your attorney will be prepared to defeat such a charge in the unlikely event it comes to pass.
The first step in the RDM is to contact attorneys, PAs and CPAs to obtain their legal opinion on whether the law requires you to file. When you find professionals who hold that there is no law requiring you to file, you can then request their professional opinion and advice in writing. You may, of course, use the list of professionals listed at the end of this report, but you are encouraged to find others who can be added to our list. We offer a reward of $100 for each such professional you find.
Most professionals, including those on our list, charge $50 for their legal opinion letter, a very reasonable fee for the value received. Send payment along with your letter requesting their legal opinion. The legal opinion letters you receive will be on the advisor's letterhead and personally addressed to you.
One professional on our list, Bill Conklin, is not an attorney nor a CPA, but his letter is useful. He is a law language specialist, recognized and respected by the courts. His letter is also very helpful because he has defeated the IRS in court many times by showing precision in the definitions of words in law.
Fred Ortiz, another professional on our list, is not an attorney or a CPA, but like Conklin, his letters are strong and his reputation is established in the courts and the legal community. Having his letter will enhance and add strength to your attorney and CPA letters.
I recommend that you have as many legal opinions as possible to document your position. It is important that the professional opinions you acquire be from licensed members in good standing with their state bar or professional association, otherwise such opinions may not withstand legal scrutiny. The same is true of PAs and CPAs - it is best if they are appropriately licensed.
You will not need to use the legal opinion letters until you hear from the IRS, requesting that you file, or in the unlikely event that you are required to make a court appearance. I also recommend that you get two or more updated opinion letters for each ensuing year that you do not file. These may be from the same professionals your original letters came from.
The effective way for you to respond to an IRS notice to file is as follows:
"With regard to your request that I file a 1040 return for 19__ , this is notice to you that I have filed all required returns. Enclosed are copies of letters of advice I have received from my attorneys and counselors. Please have your legal counsel review these and advise me within 30 days, in writing, if you find any error in my counsel's opinions. If I do not hear from you to the contrary, I will assume the legal advice I received is correct."
Mail your letter along with copies of the legal opinions you have acquired, by certified mail, return receipt requested. Upon receipt of your letter of reply to the IRS, together with the legal opinions you sent, you can rest assured that you will not be charged with willful failure to file. Your legal opinion letters have built a proper defense that you had no intent to break the law, and this will make it extremely difficult for the IRS to prosecute you successfully. Obviously you didn't want to violate the law so you sought and received timely legal advice of experts. You paid for authoritative advice so that you could avoid violating the law. You have prudently relied on the authority of counsel.
Whether the summons comes by mail or is delivered in person, respond to it positively. There are some un-tax methods which say there is no legal requirement for you to comply with a summons, and thus you shouldn't acquiesce to it, because you're not under their legal jurisdiction. That may be technically true, but not responding to the summons by agreeing to meet as requested may bring unpleasant retaliation from the IRS, such as an order to show cause as to why you will not give the IRS the information they are requesting. To avoid such inconvenience it is advisable that, RDM practitioners cooperate with the request.
The summons asks that you bring your books and records, but again, you cannot be forced to show your records as that would violate your right of privacy. Therefore, when you appear, bring a briefcase with your legal opinions. When you are asked for your records give them your legal opinions. Tell the agent that they should audit the opinions and to advise you in writing within 30 days should he/she find anything in error.
The summons will also state that you're permitted to bring a tape recorder to the meeting, provided you give the agent(s) at least two weeks notice. Send a notice by mail that you will be bringing a tape recorder.
There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of when you meet with the agent(s). Most people cringe at the thought of an IRS interview, but the fear is unfounded. There is no law that requires you to divulge personal information of any kind. You don't need to show them anything or provide any information they may ask for. The beauty of the RDM is that you can proceed fearlessly, knowing that the law is on your side. You may worry that the agent(s) might ask you all kinds of tricky questions and that you will have to quote the relevant laws to defend yourself, but that is entirely unnecessary. When you are asked for information, you simply exercise your Fifth Amendment right not to disclose that information. That's all you have to do! So put your worries aside.
I will share with you how I handled the two summonses I received to appear so that you can become familiar with the process. I called the agent and said I would appear at the designated time, place and date, and that I would be bringing a tape recorder. The agent acknowledged my call and said that he would also have a tape recorder. (It is best, however, that you do this in writing.)
Note: When you appear at such a meeting, it is best to be polite, but convey intelligence and maintain a businesslike demeanor. Be friendly, but establish at the outset that every move you make is based on legal advice as you want to obey all laws.
All of us are indoctrinated at an early age, to fear the IRS. The IRS counts on this. At first, you may be nervous about meeting with an IRS agent. But with a clear understanding of the RDM, you will see that the IRS is just a paper tiger. When the IRS agent sees that you are not afraid, that you are calm, cool and collected, and that you know the law and have relied on legal opinion to base your decision not to file, they become relatively powerless and helpless. In fact, IRS agents are just low-paid employees who probably don't know as much about the issue of filing as you do. Once they know that you know what you're doing, you'll get the respect you deserve, and by giving them copies of your legal opinions you are educating them as well.
When I appeared at the meetings, the first thing I did was turn on my tape recorder, before saying anything, except "hello." After being seated, the agent asked my name, address, and social security number, which I readily gave him since he already had that information and I didn't want to appear antagonistic. But that's all I gave him. I exercised my Fifth Amendment rights on all other questions thereafter.
After each question I was asked, I took a moment to reflect, and then responded by stating that I would exercise my Fifth Amendment rights and decline to answer the question. The reason you decline to answer, of course, is that the information can be used against you. Since the Fifth Amendment states that you cannot be compelled to testify against yourself, you are not required to reveal any information about yourself.
At both interviews I was asked if I had brought my records, and I responded that I brought my legal opinions, which are my record that I am not required to file. Then I was asked to show them and I gave them my copies.
At the second summons hearing (for other years in question) I brought with me a copy of the latest IRS instruction booklet that was sent to taxpayers at the beginning of the year. In the inside front cover of the booklets there is a letter to taxpayers from the current commissioner of the IRS.
In the copy I brought with me, the Commissioner's letter of that year contained some interesting wording. It said something like, "We would like to treat you as a customer of the IRS." So I started the interview by asking this question: "This letter from the current Commissioner calls me a 'customer.' Now, words do have specific meanings. We all know that a 'customer' cannot be forced to buy something. I'm a customer of Sears, and Sears has never knocked on my door or sent me a notice demanding that I buy something. But you people do knock on doors and claim that persons on whose doors you knock must file a tax return. So why are you calling such persons 'customers?' You're just adding confusion to the matter, because the truth is that filing a return is voluntary. You can't require anyone to file, because if you did, you would violate the Constitution. Isn't that true?"
The agent responded that the Commissioner was just trying to create a friendly attitude on the part of the IRS so people wouldn't be so put off by them.
Following this I was asked a series of questions. After each question, as I described above, I thought for a moment and said I would have to take the Fifth Amendment on it. I was asked many questions during the interview, and I took the Fifth Amendment on each of them. I did not, however, appear automatic about it. I took a few moments to genuinely consider each question before responding with my Fifth Amendment rights. I recommend that you respond to each question individually, with patience and sincerity.
During an interview with the IRS, you may be asked questions designed to trick you. You have no legal obligation to answer any of their questions, as you aren't obliged to waive your Fifth Amendment rights. It's just that easy and just that simple.
It is, however, good if you can recognize some of their trick questions and get them to clarify their questions before you answer with the Fifth Amendment. For example, if they say, "How much income did you earn last year?", you might respond with: "That sounds like two questions. By asking 'how much,' you're assuming I earned income. Perhaps you should restate your question." Being meticulous gives the agent the impression that you can't be tricked, that you know their game, and that there is nothing they can do with you. It is to your advantage that they get this impression.
Once the agent clarified the question about income, asking if I had income, I thought for a moment, and then answered that I reserve my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent on that question.
At a point in my first interview, one of the agents said to me, "It's strange that you don't file. Everybody knows you have to file. How come you don't file?"
I responded, " Let me ask you a question. Are you an attorney?" He said, "Well, no. Why?" I responded , "I'll have to ask you to stop giving me legal advice because if you don't, I'll have to report you to the Bar Association. It's against the law for you to practice law without a license." That commanded his respect, and that was the end of his "advice" to me.
In the majority of cases the agent will not be an attorney. However, if the agent is an attorney, you can answer such a question as to why you don't file, as follows: "You're advising me, and that's in conflict of interest because you represent the government. You can't represent them and me at the same time as that would constitute a conflict of interest. So I would suggest that you refrain from this or I'll have to report you to the Bar Association." That's all you have to say to an IRS agent who is an attorney. (Also, if the agent is an attorney, you might want to encourage him/her to read the legal opinions.
Near the end of the interview I was asked if I was a "tax protestor." If the IRS considers you a "tax protestor" they are inclined to hassle you on any trumped up charge they can find in order to keep you from spreading the word. There have been cases of entrapment used by the IRS to muzzle antitax activists. It is best that you avoid being categorized as a "tax protestor." So I replied that I most certainly was not. Everything I've done I've based on legal counsel. I added that I was in favor of paying for any government service that I wished to partake of.
At the end of the interview, which took about an hour, the agent said, "Well, Mr. Sovereign, you have not cooperated with us." I shot back, "Why do you say that I haven't cooperated? I'm here! I've done what you asked; I showed up. I brought my legal opinions. I've sat through an hour of your interrogation. I've taken each of your questions into consideration carefully, and I've given you my response. Are you implying that I didn't cooperate because I exercised my Fifth Amendment rights to not divulge private information just because you want me to give it to you? I don't think you can call that noncooperation. As an American I have the right to my Constitutional rights. Now, I'll be glad to help you in any way I can, but I'm not going to waive my constitutional rights."
The agent replied, "Well, you didn't give us the information we asked for, so we're going to have to assess you, and put liens on your property." "Okay," I said, "You do what you think you have to do and I'm doing what I've been advised to do by counsel."
I might add one other point: Since relying on the guidance of licensed professionals could be interpreted as being a "ward of the court," which means someone of subject status who is mentally incompetent and incapable of speaking on his or her own behalf, it is important to state that you have come to your conclusions from your own research, and that you are only presenting these legal opinions as support and backup from professionals whose advice you have sought and paid for.
As with paying professionals for any other matter, you have paid for this advice in order to be sure of your own conclusions were correct. But you are not a "subject" or a "ward of the court" by any definition; you are not unaware of the law yourself. You are sure of your position from your own research, and you are just presenting these legal opinions to show the court that your conclusion is reasonable, because it is re-enforced by licensed, qualified experts.
Once you have done everything you can do, legally, to protect yourself, using the RDM, the next thing that is necessary to do, prior to a summons hearing, is to make as much of your earnings and assets as possible invisible to the IRS. There are volumes of information on asset protection, so I won't attempt a complete coverage of the subject here. I will just mention a few basic points, and then refer you to other sources, or you may seek legal advice.
Even if your company does report payments made to you, and the IRS tries to levy or garnishee commissions, the company does not have to take anything out of your pay to satisfy the levy if nothing is owed to you at the time the company receives the notice. You might ask your company to check this with their CPA.
The levy can only attach to what is owed to you at the time it is received. It cannot attach to what was already paid to you or what might accrue to you in the future. You can arrange with your company that they not accumulate amounts owing to you over time; that they always owe nothing or have already paid you what was owed. To get around that, the IRS would have to send levy notices every day, which they don't do.
It is best if you can persuade the companies you work with to simply not submit a 1099 on you. The consequences to the company for not reporting your pay to the IRS is minimal. The fine is only $50 currently, if the IRS catches it. You and your company can confirm this with any CPA. You might offer to pay the fine in the event the company is levied. In this way, there is no expense to the company. But, again, it is best you check with legal authority and not act on my opinion.
The company officer might be concerned that not filing a 1099 on your pay might increase the chances of a company audit. The answer is that this is unlikely. Mailing levies is routine with the IRS, but auditing every company is impossible. Even if they did audit the company, it would show that nothing was owing to the employee or independent contractor in question at that time. That is why it is unlikely that replying "no money owed" to a levy would increase the chances of an audit. The IRS knows that sending levy notices is very much a "shooting in the dark" technique. Audits are time-and-expense-consuming for the IRS and not effective in the area of commission levies.
It is one thing to teach compassion, charity, contribution to the social good, support of certain causes, respect for the environment, and so on. But it is quite another thing to empower agencies to take people's earnings and property by force, without consent, to support some supposed worthy cause.
To use coercion to take something rightfully belonging to another against their will, is a sign of a backward, retarded and ignorant mentality. The user of force may be unaware that it will backfire as sure as the sun rises. It is a law of physics - action, reaction; cause and effect. The deeds one performs have consequences in the cycle of time, and like a boomerang, "As you sow, so shall you reap."
It is ridiculous to pretend that we're serving the "social good" by coercive taxes. The social good would be far better served if force were abandoned in favor of a more mature, moral approach - respect for the individual's person and property, and for the right to voluntarily choose and make decisions without outside coercion. This way of life abides by the principle, "never take what isn't freely offered."
Tyrants claim that abandoning coercion and liberating the masses will result in anarchy, which they define as lawlessness. However, there are volumes of advanced scholarly literature, eloquently proving that the opposite is true. Such a society-wide liberation would, in fact, be the beginning of the true collective social good, in which - surprise of surprises - people will voluntarily help their fellow humans far more so, if for no other reason than out of the sheer joy and abundance of new energy made available by the elimination of the burden of the State
A CALL TO ACTION
" The pessimist complains about the wind,
The optimist believes it will change,
The realist adjusts the sails and takes full
advantage of available technology."
If you are currently financing the IRS and are dissatisfied with government, then I suggest you do some research. Adjust your sails if you discover there is no legal requirement for you to finance the IRS. Establish your Reliance Defense, keep the fruits of your labor, and invest them so they will be most productively applied.
Consider the possibility that by filing returns and paying income tax, you're not only giving away and wasting your money - but also your power. Maybe the time has come to take back your personal power. Be brave! Let's respect people and their property.
Guy Curtis, Attorney at Law, Curtis & Curtis; Phone: 308-882-4215; 229 West 9th, Imperial, Nebraska 69033.
Sherwood Rodriques, CPA Ohio, Retired; 408-749-0485; 1111 W. El Camino Real, #109-144, Sunnyvale, California Republic.
Floyd Wright, PA; Phone: 916-273-9502; 1240 East Main St., Suite 2, Grass Valley, California 95945.
Bill Conklin, M.A., Language Specialist (2 letters - one on meanings of words, and one on whether you're liable to file); Phone: 303-455-0837; 3296 Raleigh St., Denver, Colorado 80212.
Fred M. Ortiz, Tax Consultant; Phone: 808-329-1685; PO Box 2149, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96745.
The National Commodity and Barter Association, Danny Hashimoto, seminar teacher and consultant, PO Box 2255, Longmont, CO 80501; Phone: 800-759-NCBA.
The Freedom Foundation, LaMarr Hardy, Executive Director,
The Research Foundation, PO Box 29265, Honolulu, Hawaii 96820;
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