The Physics Of The Law
For every entertained presumption there must be an equal and opposite opportunity to rebut...
THE NATURAL WORLD IS SUBJECT TO CERTAIN INESCAPABLE LAWS-- such as that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The world of valid law is similarly constrained.
Valid law tolerates no tyranny by which the interests of a favored party enjoy special benefit over those of another. Thus, every means by which a liability or subordination of one to another could be established must be counterbalanced by an equally potent means by which such a liability or subordination can be rebutted. There can be no involuntary, inescapable liability; no one can say, "You owe me a duty (either simply because I say so or based on some presumption or allegation of agreement or trespass), and you cannot effectively dispute the obligation."
By virtue of this principle, there can be no valid statutory structure by which a liability for a debt can be alleged or presumed, with a means for rebuttal specified, but in which that means for rebuttal actually serves to confirm or even just support the alleged liability. There is no, "Heads I win, tails you lose!" in valid law.
This principle is (or should be) self-evident. And yet, millions of otherwise perfectly sensible Americans overlook it and allow themselves to be sucked into the disastrous practice of "non-filing" in regard to the income tax, based on the mistaken and indefensible belief that filing a tax return is inherently supportive of the tax liability the filing is meant to rebut, no matter what is said on the return.
The fact is, the statutory structure under which the tax operates specifies a return as the means by which alleged or presumptive liabilities are rebutted, and therefore a return (whether the taxing authority's own published version, or its functional equivalent) is the ONLY thing recognized by the taxing authority as a rebuttal instrument. Thus, the irrational belief about the inherent adverse effect of filing a return embraces precisely the physics-violating fallacy described above, in which an allegation can exist with no actual countervailing means of rebuttal.
RETURNS (AND THE STRUCTURE WITHIN WHICH THEY OPERATE) DO NOT violate the physics of the law. Returns DO NOT carry with them inherent adverse effects. The relevant law states with perfect clarity that:
"[A]ny party, in his or her own behalf, or as guardian or trustee, as aforesaid, shall be permitted to declare, under oath or affirmation, the form and manner of which shall be prescribed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, that he or she was not possessed of an income of [more than the exemption amount of "income"], liable to be assessed according to the provisions of this act, or that he or she has been assessed elsewhere and the same year for an income duty, under authority of the United States, and shall thereupon be exempt from an income duty; or, if the list or return of any party shall have been increased by the assistant assessor, in manner as aforesaid, he or she may be permitted to declare, as aforesaid, the amount of his or her annual income, or the amount held in trust, as aforesaid, liable to be assessed, as aforesaid, and the same so declared shall be received as the sum upon which duties are to be assessed and collected."
The accuracy of a return can be questioned or challenged; the sincerity of a return can be questioned or challenged; but whether the return supports or rebuts an allegation of liability hinges solely and comprehensively on what is declared on the the return regarding the filer's income, with nothing in that respect inhering in the mere fact that a return was filed.
FURTHER, THE LAW ALSO SPECIFIES THAT IT IS ONLY BY MEANS OF A RETURN that payments against a tax liability not actually owed can be effectively reclaimed:
26 U.S. Code § 6402 - Authority to make credits or refunds
(a) General rule
In the case of any overpayment, the Secretary, within the applicable period of limitations, may credit the amount of such overpayment, including any interest allowed thereon, against any liability in respect of an internal revenue tax on the part of the person who made the overpayment and shall, subject to subsections (c), (d), (e), and (f), refund any balance to such person.
26 U.S. Code § 7422 - Civil actions for refund
(a) No suit prior to filing claim for refund
No suit or proceeding shall be maintained in any court for the recovery of any internal revenue tax alleged to have been erroneously or illegally assessed or collected, or of any penalty claimed to have been collected without authority, or of any sum alleged to have been excessive or in any manner wrongfully collected, until a claim for refund or credit has been duly filed with the Secretary, according to the provisions of law in that regard, and the regulations of the Secretary established in pursuance thereof.
Sec. 301.6402-3 Special rules applicable to income tax
(5) A properly executed individual, fiduciary, or corporation original income tax return or an amended return (on 1040X or 1120X if applicable) shall constitute a claim for refund or credit within the meaning of section 6402 and section 6511 for the amount of the overpayment disclosed by such return (or amended return).
Plainly, this structure of law would be inherently and self-evidently invalid if the specified means for recovering overpayments of tax had the effect of invalidating that recovery. If the filing of a tax return on which was declared the receipt of less income than would produce a liability equal or greater than the amount withheld or paid-in in order to claim a refund of the overpayment served to somehow inherently prove or support the allegation that a greater amount of income was received, it would be impossible to make a claim.
The filing of a return cannot even carry with it or cause to arise merely a "burden of proof" upon the filer. A return is the responsive instrument. It is not a means for prosecuting a claim against another based on alleged agreement or trespass-- it is a means of agreeing to the claim or allegation of another, or putting the other to the burden of making its proofs.
THERE CAN BE NO IMBALANCE OF THESE KINDS IN THE LAW. It is a "physics" impossibility. On that basis alone, those plagued by these irrational fears about filing returns should recognize the error of their thinking, even without studying the actual related provisions of law.
If such an imbalance were to be perceived in the law or in any action of the taxing authority or any court, it is not because the law is actually structured to allow it. It is, and can only be, either a mis-perception, or because the taxing authority or court is either in error or corrupt.
To none of these possibilities is non-filing an answer. Non-filing simply takes the issue off the table entirely.
Non-filing is not a rebuttal of liability-related allegations, or even a repudiation of error or corrupt practices by agency or court. It is, very much to the contrary, an agreement with the allegations, and an abandonment of one's own claims.
Indeed, if corruption is the reason for any agency or judicial proposal or effectuation of an invalid imbalance in the law, it is practiced in the hope of prompting non-filing by anyone whose return would rebut allegations of taxable income. Non-filing IS a "Heads you win, tails I lose" proposition, because the non-filer is not calling a side, or even showing up to watch the coin get tossed, just as a corrupt agency or court wishes.
I'VE POINTED ALL THIS OUT BEFORE, OF COURSE, many times. And it is, as noted above, self-evident, in any case.
Nonetheless, the non-filers persist and accumulate.
Lately a new "school" of non-filing has arisen, persuading its victims with the bizarre argument that
1. US income tax returns are an American form of an ancient English instrument known as a "statute staple contract" (which was an agreement by which goods were allowed to be landed at English ports by foreign merchants with the understanding that related obligations to the crown thereby arise), and
2. that by some (unsurprisingly unexplained) mechanism, what is reported on the return (or contract, in this context of this notion) is irrelevant to its effect-- by simply filing it, even if including declarations rebutting allegations of "income" greater than the exemption amount, one is instead acknowledging the receipt of some amount of "income" which, being apparently adopted from some unspecified external source of information, could theoretically be any amount at all.
Even taking the "statute staple contract" relationship as true for sake of argument, this strange idea would have it that even if the merchant declared himself to have imported ten tons of grain on his form, this would be irrelevant. By simply completing the form at all, regardless of what he says upon it, he is inherently agreeing to have brought in 100 tons, or 1,000, or whatever allegation the crown finds it convenient to accept.
This manifestly absurd notion is grounded, it would appear, in the persistent-as-athlete's-foot infection of certain quarters of the "tax honesty movement" with what is known as "redemption theory". "Redemption theory", as part of its schtick, would have all tax law be "law merchant"-- a body of law arrived at by merchants during the Middle Ages, acting independently of any state.
US income tax law is NOT "law merchant". It is statutory, and it is a specific body of statutes, the first of which was enacted by the United States Congress in 1862.
Likewise, a 1040 is NOT a "statutes staple contract". It is, by explicit statutory specification, a declaratory form used to acknowledge receipt of more than the exemption amount of "income", rebut errant allegations about receipts, and/or recover "overpayments".
Its use imposes no adversities upon the filer, and cannot. Since the 1040 is the specified instrument, and no other instrument is accepted for these purposes, the "physics of law" dictate that the 1040 must be sufficient to those purposes.
I hope everyone will do his or her utmost to help shine light for the sake of those misled by the "redemption theory" nonsense and any other confusion leading to the disastrous practice of non-filing. The mis-application of the income tax, and all its ill effects, will never be fixed by silence and withdrawal from the field of action.
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they have been resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress."
P. S. 18 months ago or so, I proposed a little exercise for those caught up in confusion and doubt about the filing process and its purposes. This seems like an apt occasion to share this notion again. The idea is a letter to your friendly local tax agency (or hey, maybe to your member of Congress or favorite tax attorney, after suitable editing) essentially to this effect:
The version relevant to (non-1099-R) 1099 recipients would be like this:
I think all will agree that this exercise could be fun and interesting even for those in no confusion or doubt about the use of 1040s and related instruments. For those who are, this should help clear things up considerably, and at minimum, allow them to file with confidence, knowing that in combination with the inevitable silence that these inquiries will elicit, they will have equipped themselves with a legally invulnerable reason for having done so.