Chairman’s Report - April 12, 2019

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  • Source: FAIRtax
  • 04/09/2021


Many Americans see the demand by Richard Neal, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, for President Trump’s income tax returns as a sideshow that has little effect on them.  They know that Mr. Neal and the President will employ legions of lawyers and probably nothing will happen for years.  They also recognize that political pundits will talk about this situation endlessly.
Defenders of the income tax often have asserted that even though all of us are required, under penalty of perjury—if we lie we have committed a criminal offense--that the returns are confidential.  Most people think that their personal information on their federal tax returns is confidential.  This is true—to a point.
The law relating to the confidentiality of income tax returns is stated in 26 U.S. Code § 6103 Confidentiality and disclosure of returns and return information.

The section that applies to this request is:
6103(f) Disclosure to Committees of Congress
(1)Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Finance, and Joint Committee on Taxation

Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.

In an article written for Politico entitled Why Congress Might Not Get Trump's Tax Returns, Ross Garber, an attorney specializing in political investigations, gave an analysis of the current law.  Mr. Garber pointed out that while IRS Code 6103(f) appears to give the committee the power to get the tax returns, the Supreme Court has held that Congress can’t use its powers to delve into someone’s private financial matters unless there is a proper legislative purpose and that Congress is not a “law enforcement agency” that can seek information to uncover or expose crimes. 

As the title of his article states, unless the House moves to impeach the President, they will have some serious problems obtaining the tax returns.
Although there is no law requiring a President or candidate for President to release their federal income tax returns, it has been a standard practice since 1973. 
Few of us are naïve enough to believe that if the Ways And Means Committee obtained the President’s income tax returns, that they would not be leaked to the press.  Doing this would be a federal crime, but there is a much easier way for a Member to make the returns public that is immune from prosecution.
Article 1, Section 6 of the U.S. Constitution states:
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
Because of this provision in the Constitution, if a Member of the Ways And Means Committee went on the floor of the House and discussed the President’s income tax returns and even placed them in the public record, there is almost no chance of prosecution—assuming that they “appeared” to be conducting legislative business. 
Even if a court ruled that the releasing of the income tax returns was improper, it would be too late.  Providing his income tax returns to the Ways And Means Committee is almost certainly the same as the President making them public.
Americans instinctively know that if a government can abuse the rights of one citizen, they can abuse the rights of other citizens.  The question for Congress and the President is why should Americans be forced to submit income tax returns at all when there is a more efficient way to fund the government—the FAIRtax.
Many “income tax protestors” have argued that making you complete a federal income tax return and sign it under penalty of perjury is actually a violation of both the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution.
The Fourth Amendment states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Fifth Amendment states:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
While the right to privacy is not explicitly guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, many court decisions have relied on the Fourth Amendment to justify determining that there was a right to privacy for one group or another. 
The Fifth Amendment protects a person from being “compelled to be a witness against himself.”  Strictly speaking, filing an income tax return and saying that it is true is being a “witness against yourself.”
Of course, the courts have held that these arguments are invalid when made by income tax protestors.  Many in Congress correctly point out that when you fill out a loan form, a driver’s license form or a myriad of other forms that you are giving up privacy and are being a witness against yourself in that it could be a criminal offense if the information is incorrect.
There is a difference—filing an income tax form is mandatory and if you don’t, it can subject you to civil and even criminal penalties.  Doing the other filings is your choice and if you don’t drive there is no need to apply for a driver’s license—for example.

The Swamp and many Members of Congress delight in any events that will draw our attention away from the truth—this entire income tax disclosure drama is unnecessary.   If we had a sane tax system like the FAIRtax, there would be no need for any of us to expose our private information about our income and spending to anyone—unless we chose to do so.
Sometimes we forget that opposition to the present income/payroll tax system is not just opposition to a system that:
  • Economically is far worse than the FAIRtax. 
  • Imposes a huge record-keeping and reporting burden on Americans that would not be needed under the FAIRtax.
  • Continues to reduce job creation the U.S.
  • Continues to be almost impossible to understand.
  • Continues to be widely evaded—a projected $9 trillion in the next decade. 
Opposition to the present income/payroll tax system is opposition to a form of tyranny imposed on us by the federal government.  All of us live under the cloud of possible attack from the IRS that could result in financial ruin or worse.   Why?  Because the Swamp and its affiliated Members in Congress want to constantly remind us that they have the power to directly affect us if we get out of line.
If they can obtain the President’s federal income tax returns and, with no civil or criminal liability, reveal them to the world, they can do it to anyone else they believe is a threat.  Even if we are not concerned about anything being revealed, we still are not eager to have our data widely available to all when it was supposed to be confidential.
Freedom from this type of government control over our lives is what for many years made the U.S. so different from the rest of the world.  The Swamp and their Member allies agree with Adolf Hitler’s statement, How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think.
The Swamp and their Member allies are eroding our freedoms every day and, make no mistake, they are doing this for the purposes of controlling us so that they can make enormous profits at our expense.
Martin Niemoller, the Lutheran pastor who was sent to a concentration camp by the Nazis and died there, said,
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Some say that the way to speak out is with violence or civil unrest.  However, we can strike a mighty blow for freedom by working together to rid the Swamp and their Members of Congress of a tool that enriches them and provides them control over us—the income/payroll tax system. 
Isn’t it time to take back control from D.C.?
President Trump, “Embrace the FAIRtax and real tax reform!  What have you got to lose?”
It is time to
The truth is the truth.  Remember, if we don't continue to tell the truth and demand a change, then this quote from George Orwell's 1984 may foretell our children's future:

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”


Call up the local or D.C. offices of your House Member and two Senators and you can use the following script:
  • I am sure that Representative ____ or Senator ____ is in favor of everyone obeying the income tax laws.
  • After they assure you that their boss is not in favor of anyone breaking the law, ask if they are aware of the Cebula study showing $9 trillion of evaded income/payroll taxes over the next ten years.
  • Since most will say they don’t believe their boss has seen the study, either drop off a copy or get an email address and send a copy to them for their boss.
  • Say you are going to call back in a week and ask what the Representative or Senator is going to do to stop this evasion.
  • In a week, call back and ask specifically what the Representative or Senator is going to do to enforce the law.
  • They probably will say their boss believes that simplifying the income tax will handle the problem.
  • Explain that when people evade income taxes, they are also evading the 15.3% payroll/Medicare tax and state income tax.  So it is unlikely that they are going to pay 30% or 40% when they were paying 0% because they have already decided it is okay to cheat.
  • Say that the only way to reduce evasion is to increase by tens or hundreds of thousands the number of comprehensive IRS audits done each year.
  • Point out that Evaders do not self-identify by putting an “E” on their income tax return.
  • 80% of the people likely to be audited are trying to comply, but they will be forced to endure these IRS audits as well.
  • Ask if the Member is in favor of this?
  • If they say no, then ask again how the Member proposes to stop people breaking the income tax laws.
  • Then explain that the way to handle evasion without unleashing the IRS audits is the FAIRtax.  

If you can see your Member or attend a town hall and ask these questions, you can be even more effective.


#155 Questions, Suggestions, Comments & Tax News?
This episode featured comments and suggestions from our listeners plus news hot off the wire such as:
-           ‘Can the FAIRtax be made more Congress Friendly by including a campaign fund?’ (paraphrased).
-           FAIRtax Power Radio works!  New volunteer and database specialists found for AFFT.
-           News report: Minimum wage hikes trigger ‘payroll tsunami’ as Steve Hayes predicted.
-           Congress trying to set a record for proposed changes to the tax code.
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