This scan of what is purported to be a refreshingly candid and accurate admission by the IRS was sent to me recently (in 2004):
Shocked? You must not have read 'Cracking the Code- The Fascinating Truth About Taxation In America' yet!
No doubt some viewers will be skeptical about this letter (as some have been about the Dennis Hertel letter, the Barbara Kennelly letter, admissions made to me, the words of the law, the words of the Supreme Court, the spherical nature of the planet, etc.), but no one who has engaged in serious study of federal revenue law will be among them-- at least insofar as its content is concerned. Although it oversimplifies a bit, the gist of this letter is very much in conformity with the revenue statutes as written.
Suspicion as to the true origin of the document, on the other hand, is not unreasonable, based upon the general presumption that the IRS has an abiding interest in keeping such content out of general circulation. I certainly understand and, indeed, share that perspective. At the same time, I am able to entertain considerations arguing in the other direction. For instance, the construction of the letter's admissions is somewhat awkward and stilted. This seems contrary to what might be expected in any but an improbably sophisticated hoax, which is itself contradicted by the unnecessary use of the rather confusing and suspicion-raising (though accurate) term 'special law'-- something that would be avoided by a sophisticated hoaxer. An unsophisticated hoaxer, however, would have constructed the overall text in a smoother fashion, including the combining of the material in the two main paragraphs. The construction with which we are presented strikes me as more plausibly that which would naturally result from a response addressing several different, individually idiosyncratic, lines of inquiry.
Special law. One relating to particular persons or things; one made for individual cases or for particular places or districts; one operating upon a selected class, rather than upon the public generally. A private law. A law is "special" when it is different from others of the same general kind or designed for a particular purpose, or limited in range or confined to a prescribed field of action or operation. A "special law" relates to either particular persons, places, or things or to persons, places, or things which, though not particularized, are separated by any method of selection from the whole class to which the law might, but not such legislation, be applied. Utah Farm Bureau Ins. Co. v. Utah Ins. Guaranty Ass'n, Utah, 564 P.2d 751, 754. A special law applies only to an individual or a number of individuals out of a single class similarly situated and affected, or to a special locality. Board of County Com'rs of Lemhi County v. Swensen, Idaho, 80 Idaho 198, 327 P.2d 361, 362. See also Private bill; Private law. Compare General law; Public law. Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition
Furthermore, prior to my publication of 'Cracking the Code' in August, 2003, the contents of this disclosure-- in their entirety-- would have reflected no published analysis or observations of the law of which I (at least) am aware, making its utility as a hoax highly questionable. Yet, I understand that it has been in circulation for years.
Finally, it has to be acknowledged that even material which appears dangerous to the overall "income" tax scheme is routinely furnished to the public by agencies of the government. For instance, I think all would agree that the fact that Americans, including working Americans, are not legally required to have Social Security numbers is something the system would rather not be widely known. Nonetheless, the SSA will furnish an unambiguous declaration to that effect to anyone who asks. For that matter, look at the admissions, both explicit and implicit, in a recent IRS response to a properly filed claim of refund. It would be an overstatement to say that the IRS would never admit such things as appear in the Hoverale letter.
Still, I do not have the original of this scan, and I do not even know the wording of the request that supposedly elicited this remarkably forthright reply. (Nor can I offer any worthwhile speculations as to why a 'Privacy Act' request would elicit a reply with this content, however the request was worded.) Consequently, I cannot independently confirm that Cynthia Mills actually wrote these words. However, I have received confirmation from sources other than that which provided this scan that there is indeed a disclosure officer by that name at the Philadelphia Service Center. Other correspondents have made inquiries of the IRS about the authenticity of this letter and have been met with stonewalling (responses which refuse to address the question) rather than denials. And again, everything that it says is essentially true...
Note: Within the first few days after posting this piece, the existence of a Cynthia J. Mills at the Philadelphia Service Center was again confirmed; and a posting of what is purported to be the questions to which Ms. Mills is responding was located. That posting has those questions as: "Dear Sir/Madam, Is Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code positive law or special law? It is my understanding that special law relates only to specific persons. If your answer is special law, who does the law apply to? Your cooperation is greatly appreciated."
Update: I have recently (06/28/04) seen an assertion that Cynthia Mills was called as a witness at a trial of a 'tax trust' seller (Lynne Meredith) and denied having written the Hoverale letter. However, she reportedly testified further that the IRS believes the letter to have been written by a different officer of the 'service', who had become disenchanted with its activities (but apparently was not prepared to sacrifice his or her own career by signing the revelation personally). I'd call this a distinction without a difference, as far as the virtue of the document's content is concerned...