Larken Rose is one of the better anarchist writers. He’s gone from saying “The income tax is invalid due to a legal loophole!” to “All taxation is theft!”
I was really disappointed by this post. Larken Rose is still thinking like a Statist.
Larken Rose is considering filing a lawsuit against the State, regarding unfair treatment by the IRS. He’s learned nothing. Does he really expect a fair trial? A slave will never get a fair trial with State tax collectors in State court, especially when that slave questions the legitimacy of taxes and the State.
Larken Rose has comments disabled on his blog. That’s antisocial. He has a problem, where people say “You’re a thief who isn’t ‘paying his fair share’.” I would leave a comment saying “You’re an idiot if you expect a fair trial or a fair hearing.”
Larken Rose spent a year in jail as a political prisoner, after a dispute with the IRS. He was using the “861 argument”, which is a variation of “The income tax isn’t valid due to a legal loophole.” Based on convoluted language in the law and tax code, some people interpret the income tax as invalid, when applied to individuals. Unfortunately, judges and IRS agents say that the law is 100% valid, as enforced. They have a monopoly. Their opinion is the only one that counts.
Larken Rose was lucky, to only get a year in jail. Other people who challenged the IRS got tougher sentences. (Sometimes, I wonder if people spend time in jail to get their “street cred”, and then go deep undercover, infiltrating various anti-State movements. Just because someone spent time in jail, doesn’t mean they aren’t spying for the State!)
In exchange for a lighter sentence, Larken Rose filed amended tax returns. Larken Rose thought that was amusing. The judge ordered him to commit perjury, because Larken Rose really believed that wasn’t taxable income!
There’s an weird bit of State law, called “mens rea” . Basically, it says “In order for something to be a crime, you had to do it on purpose”, i.e. “criminal intent”. This loophole applies to State insiders all the time. For example, Jon Corzine didn’t commit a crime. Jon Corzine is a swell guy who would never rob his customers. There’s no “mens rea” and therefore no crime. For another example, Timothy Geithner didn’t lie on his taxes; he made an honest mistake.
Most “tax protesters” claim they fail the “mens rea” test. They sincerely believed their actions weren’t taxable. Unfortunately, judges won’t allow such arguments. Via “jury selection”, prosecutors stack the jury with statists, leading to a conviction. (It isn’t too hard to stack a jury, because most people are cluless statists. Here’s another conspiracy theory. In a high-profile trial, undercover police go into the jury pool, and some of them get picked.) Also, it’s awkward when the “tax protester”‘s lawyer is arguing about the “mens rea” of the defendant, rather than advocating for “jury nullification” or “WTF? All taxation is theft!” In that sense, the lawyer sells out his client for an easy conviction, by making a weaselly “mens rea” argument rather than the truth.
That is an amusing irony. “Mens rea” is a “get out of jail free” card for State insiders, because they’re obviously swell guys who would never steal. Applied to “tax protesters”, that argument is not accepted. There are two justice systems, one for insiders and one for everyone else.
“Mens rea” is a stupid legal loophole. It’s a variation of “The truth is relative!” What matters is outcomes and not intentions. The important point is that Jon Corzine’s customers were robbed of $1.6B. It makes no difference whether Jon Corzine did it on purpose, or if he’s so incompetent that he can’t obey the “segregated customer funds” law. Jon Corzine set up a system of sloppy accounting and yes-men subordinates, encouraging the loss. For example, Jon Corzine fired a risk manager who objected to his risky bets in European bonds.
Larken Rose’s wife owned a business. Larken Rose decided to stop filing tax returns for the business, based on “The income tax isn’t valid due to a legal loophole.” Also, Larken Rose went around publicly saying that the income tax was an invalid law, making State thugs eager to silence him and “make an example”.
Larken Rose filed amended personal tax returns. However, the IRS now questions his business tax returns.
The IRS claims that Larken Rose had employees. The IRS claims that Larken Rose owes back W-2 withholding. Larken Rose claims that they were independent contractors, paid on 1099.
That is Larken Rose’s current dispute with the IRS. It’s based on “Were these people employees or independent contractors?” It has nothing to do with “The income tax is invalid due to a loophole.”
Unfortunately, the IRS has already marked Larken Rose as a “tax protester”. Larken Rose sends the IRS a letter saying “They were independent contractors and not employees.” The IRS responds “Your argument is frivolous.”
Larken Rose says that the IRS is denying him due process, regarding the “Employees or contractors?” issue.
The “Employees or contractors?” regulation is not uniformly enforced. Most large financial institutions in NYC abuse the contractor rule. For example, at my last wage slave job, the IRS could have ordered me reclassified as an employee, if they wanted to enforce the law. If the IRS wanted to enforce the law, most consultants at large financial institutions would actually be employees.
There is no Rule of Law in the USA. Large financial institutions can abuse the employee/contractor distinction. For the little guy and Larken Rose, there’s zero tolerance enforcement.
The IRS has already marked Larken Rose as a “subversive person”. Their files say “Ignore whatever Larken Rose says or writes, and rule against him.” As a practical matter, IRS agents should refuse to talk to Larken Rose. Larken Rose is good at explaining “All taxation is theft. You’re a criminal, working for the IRS.” If an IRS agent spent 2 hours talking to Larken Rose, Larken Rose might succeed in convincing them that the State is evil. It’s better to deny Larken Rose any hearing or due process. Besides, the courts and IRS are colluding to enslave everyone. The IRS agents know that, if they go to trial, they will probably win.
Larken Rose now wants to sue the IRS, for denying him due process regarding the “employees or contractors?” dispute. He wants to file a “Bivens” lawsuit against the IRS. He’s looking for a lawyer to represent him, on contingency or pro bono. Larken Rose is an idiot, if he expects a fair trial on that issue. The judge will say “Larken Rose was already convicted of tax evasion. I’m ruling against him, without reading the rest of his arguments.”
Any State-licensed lawyer would be an idiot to represent Larken Rose. Larken Rose has zero chance of winning, making a contingency arrangement stupid.
A lawyer would be an idiot to represent Larken Rose for free. The judge would say to the lawyer “You filed a frivolous lawsuit. I’m revoking your law license.” Even if that didn’t happen, it’s a bad career move for a lawyer to antagonize a judge. There are many other ways for State thugs to get even with a lawyer.
One lawyer cynically said “The merits of your legal arguments are irrelevant. The reputation of the lawyer and the person represented matter much more, than the legal merits of any argument.” There is no Rule Of Law in the USA. Any lawyer who represented Larken Rose would be intentionally trashing his reputation. In a Police State, it’s a bad idea to help out an Enemy Of The State. It would be an bad career move, for a lawyer to represent Larken Rose.
Just because you file a lawsuit, doesn’t mean you’ll get a chance to argue your case in front of a jury. Most lawsuits against State thugs who abuse their power are dismissed at the “summary judgement” stage, citing sovereign immunity. Some criminal defense lawyers laugh at their clients, when their client tells a story of being beaten by police and he wants to sue the police. The lawyer knows to not waste his time.
Quite frankly, IRS agents could show up at Larken Rose’s home, beat him up, and leave, and he still wouldn’t be able to have a successful lawsuit. Police know to shout “Stop resisting!” when they beat you, Taser you, or shoot you. All a policeman has to do is say “I thought he had a gun!”, and now it’s legal for him to summarily execute you. During a no-knock raid, it’s very easy for police to get confused and think that the victim is armed.
If Larken Rose wants to go full hardcore anarchist, here is the proper response. Larken Rose should say “You IRS thugs think I owe you money? I’m broke. Go ahead and try to collect!”
There are drawbacks to the “hardcore anarchist” approach. I don’t know if Larken Rose has any assets. He claims to be broke. Larken Rose would be unable to own any real estate, because the IRS could seize it via a tax lien. (Remember that, due to property taxes, you don’t really own land. You have a perpetual transferable lease, where the State can arbitrarily and unilaterally raise the rent (property tax).) If Larken Rose does “own” real estate, he probably should sell and cash out now, before the IRS seizes it via a tax lien.
Larken Rose could not use the State banking system at all, because the IRS would seize his balance. Larken Rose could not solicit donations via PayPal, because the IRS would seize them. Larken Rose could not sell books on Amazon.com, because the IRS would seize the proceeds. Larken Rose could not take any on-the-books job (1099 or W-2), because the IRS would seize/garnish his salary.
Without access to the State banking system, Larken Rose would be forced to invest his savings in gold/silver/platinum. If it’s stored in a safe place, the only way the IRS could seize it is if they physically seize the metal.
There is a huge drawback to the “hardcore anarchist” approach. You’d be totally shut out of the State economy and State financial system. There is a loophole. Larken Rose could find someone else to sell his books for him and solicit donations.
I couldn’t go “hardcore anarchist”. I have State paper investments that I would lose. (I’m considering cashing them out and converting to physical gold/silver/platinum. I’ll probably keep my State paper investments, but all new investments will go to gold/silver/platinum.) Also, I make decent income as a wage slave programmer. I probably could not make an equivalent salary in the underground economy.
There’s another amusing bit. The “statutory interest rate” for an unpaid tax bill is approximately 8%. That’s less than true inflation. If you’re taking the “hardcore anarchist” approach, you can refuse to pay the IRS and invest the difference in gold and silver (hidden someplace safe). Taking into account inflation, that’s profitable.
I read an amusing story. A man had a “common law” marriage and not a State-recognized marriage. He put all his property in his wife’s name. The IRS went after him. He had no assets. There was nothing for the IRS to seize! He wasn’t legally married, so the IRS couldn’t seize his wife’s assets!
Larken Rose, Richard Simkanin, Robert Kahre, Ed Brown, and Irwin Schiff all made huge mistakes. Here are lessons to learn from their example, if you’re serious about tax resistance and freedom.
First, DON’T INCORPORATE YOUR BUSINESS! When you incorporate your business, you’re voluntarily registering it in the State taxation system.
Second, DON’T USE THE STATE BANKING SYSTEM. Tax collectors can seize bank records. They will use bank records against you. Under the ironically-named “Bank Secrecy Act”, a bank has an obligation to report transactions to the IRS. Cash deposits count as “suspicious”. DON’T DO IT.
Third, declare some income, but not all of it. This makes it look less suspicious. If some customers pay by cash and some by check, declare all the by-check income, and maybe some of the cash income. Also, if you need to pay a mortgage or buy a car, you will need some on-the-books assets. Ed Brown got caught because he used money orders to pay his mortgage. It would have been smarter for him to declare enough income so he could pay his mortgage.
Suppose you don’t declare some of your income, but not all of it. Then, if the IRS goes after you, you’re saying “Prove I didn’t declare all my income!” rather than “The income tax is invalid!”
Of course, your surplus savings shouldn’t be kept in FRNs, because you’ll get robbed by inflation. You should buy gold/silver/platinum. For this reason, an agorist gold/silver/FRN barter network is desirable.
Also, if you’re promoting tax resistance, you’re a bigger target. Larken Rose, Simkanin, Schiff, and Kahre were all promting tax evasion. They had acquired a decent audience. That made them an attractive target. If you don’t spend any effort promoting freedom, it’s easier to fly under the radar.
The IRS and State aren’t omniscient. They go after the people who publicly taunt the IRS, and then claim to have gotten everyone.
Larken Rose is an idiot, if he expects to get a fair hearing, regarding his “Employees or contractors?” dispute with the IRS. He’s an even bigger idiot if he expects to sue the State and win, for denying him due process. Any State-licensed lawyer would be an idiot to represent Larken Rose, either on contingency or pro bono. (Contingency would be pro bono, because Larken Rose has zero chance of winning.)
Larken Rose is a good advocate for freedom. On this issue, he’s still thinking like a Statist. Only a Statist would expect to sue the State and win, especially on the issue of taxes. I’d be impressed if he went full “hardcore anarchist”, daring the IRS to try and collect. He’d have to work 100% off-the-books, have no State assets, and not use the State banking system. If the IRS claims a large debt, that may be the right approach.