Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Dees Illustration

Will Kesler
Activist Post

Years ago I realized that there is no law that requires a citizen to file an income tax return. Therefore, I have publicly refused to file for the past twelve years. If brought before a jury I will rely entirely upon the following 12 points which constitute my body of evidence.

1. The law I am allegedly violating is Section 7203 of the Internal Revenue Code “Willful Failure to File.” To convict, the government must prove two elements. First, that a citizen is required by law to file a return and second, that the failure to file is “willful.” If constrained by law, the government can do neither.

2. Mens Rea, or “guilty mind,” is a central feature of criminal law. Criminal liability generally requires not only causing a prohibited harm or evil . . . but also a particular state of mind, an act done with bad purpose or evil intent. Therefore, it is essential to substantiate my intent for not filing, which is to:

  • Expose tyranny.
  • Scrap our hopelessly flawed and corrupt system of taxation.
  • During the twelve years I have not filed I wrote over a dozen columns in the Aspen (CO) Daily News, self-published a book, marched in parades and sat on the Pitkin County Courthouse steps. From start to present I have placed my freedom at risk as I document my stance. 
  • In retaliation, the IRS assessed me for eleven million dollars they claim I owe for the year 2002 (I am a man of modest means). Then, without complying with due process as required by Section 6320 of the Internal Revenue Code, the IRS gained control over everything I own and stole liquid assets. This treatise goes far beyond income tax into the heart of a government that is profoundly out of control.

3. If the IRS required a citizen to file they would be in direct conflict with multiple Supreme Court decisions. For instance, in Brushaber [240 U.S.1] the landmark case regarding the 16th Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled that a new, direct taxing power, not limited by apportionment or uniformity, would, quote, “Cause one provision of the Constitution to destroy another,” and “If acceded to would create radical and destructive changes to our Constitutional system.” To avoid these disasters the Supreme Court ruled that “Taxation on income was in its nature an excise (indirect) tax entitled to be enforced as such.” The Constitution commands that an indirect tax must be uniform and since income tax is obviously not uniform, it is not entitled to be enforced.

  • In Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co. [240 U.S. 103] we find, “The 16th Amendment conferred no new power of taxation but simply prohibited the….. power of income taxation from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged.”
  • The Harvard Law Review confirms that income tax is an indirect tax in vol. 29, page 536 which states, “In Brushaber, Chief Justice White, construed the 16th Amendment as a declaration that an income tax is “indirect” rather than making an exception to the rule that direct taxes must be apportioned.
  • In stark contrast and in a testament to tyranny and the power of propaganda most Americans believe that the 16th Amendment created a direct tax without apportionment. Meanwhile, “radical and destructive changes to our constitutional system” are evident as our government acts as if it did.

4. The Fifth Amendment states “No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” The landmark case regarding the Fifth Amendment and income tax is Sullivan v. U.S. [274 U.S. 259]. Sullivan “Took the Fifth, …I refuse to file on the ground that I may tend to incriminate myself.” The Supreme Court ruled that if Sullivan wished to “Take the Fifth” he first had to file.

However, “Taking the Fifth” is absolutely, fundamentally different than our constitutional right “not to be a witness against oneself.” The former is a privilege, used primarily if subpoenaed in another’s trial, the latter is a right guaranteed by our Constitution. Sullivan was required to file because he erred and claimed a privilege instead of insisting on his right. We supposedly have to file because Sullivan had to. Our government is exploiting our confusion of right v. privilege to subvert the Constitution and force us to file.

5. In Boyd v. U.S. [116 U.S. 616] the Supreme Court ruled “A taxpayer may refuse to exhibit his/her books and records for examination on the grounds that compelling him/her to do so might violate his/her right under the Fifth Amendment and constitute an illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment.”

  • Also from Boyd “It does not require actual entry upon premises and search for and seizure of papers to constitute an unreasonable search and seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment; a compulsory production of a private party’s books and papers, to be used against himself or his property in a criminal or penal proceeding, or for a forfeiture, is within the spirit or meaning of the Amendment.”
  • Given that Boyd v. US proclaims that a citizen can legally withhold books and records (surprise!), the IRS would be in direct conflict with the Supreme Court if it required a citizen to file a return, which is simply a summary of books and records. Therefore, and for other valid reasons, the IRS does not require a citizen to file.

6. The title of Section 6012 of the IRC proclaims “Persons required to make returns of income.” 

However, according to the IRC itself [section 7806(b)] a code section’s title is not part of the law. In the body of code section 6012, where the law resides, we find “Returns with respect to income taxes under subtitle A shall be made by the following…
  • The Supreme Court [Cairo v. Hect, 95 U.S. 170] held “As against the government the word ‘shall’ when used in statutes is to be construed as ‘may’ unless a contrary intention is manifest.”
  • Also, “The word ‘shall’ in a statute may be construed to mean ‘may’ particularly in order to avoid a constitutional doubt.” [Fort Howard Paper v. Fox River Sanitary Dist., 26 NW 2nd 661].
  • The IRS could, but does not, use the obligatory word “required” in the body of code section 6012.
  • In 2008, 70,000 Americans, organized by the “We the People Foundation,” signed and delivered a petition that demanded, under the First Amendment, that our government “Show Us the Law.” Answered by silence, we appealed to the Supreme Court which refused to hear our case.

7. The IRC defines a “withholding agent” at IRC 7701(a) as only required to deduct and withhold income tax from nonresident aliens and foreign corporations. Therefore, no law requires withholding income tax from citizens living in America. Also, every year millions of citizens pay estimated income tax while their exemption is hidden deep in the IRC.

Title 26, Subtitle f, Chapter 68, Subchapter A, Part 1, Section 6654 of the IRC states “Failure by individual to pay estimated income tax (e) Exceptions… (2c) “If the individual was a citizen or resident of the United States throughout the preceding year.”

  • As there is no law requiring income tax, withholding tax or estimated income tax, three strikes and income tax must be… voluntary.

8. In fact, the IRS has insisted for decades that filing a return and paying income tax is based on “voluntary compliance.” In 1971 the 1040 booklet declared “Each year American taxpayers voluntarily file their tax returns and make a special effort to pay the taxes they owe.” The 1980 1040 booklet stated “The primary task of the IRS is to collect taxes under a voluntary compliance system.” Webster’s defines “voluntary” as “something done of one’s own free will, without legal obligation.”

  • The Federal Register [vol. 39 March 29, 1974] testifies that “The mission of the IRS is to encourage and achieve the highest possible degree of voluntary compliance with the tax laws and regulations.”
  • The Supreme Court ruled in Flora v. U.S. that “Our system of taxation is based upon voluntary assessment and payment, not upon distraint.” [357 U.S. 63]

9. In 1953 Dwight E. Avis, then Director of the Alcohol and Tobacco Division of the IRS, testified under oath, before Congress, that “Your income tax is 100% voluntary tax and your liquor tax is 100% enforced tax. Now the situation is as different as night and day.” [Hearings: Internal Revenue Investigation]

  • Note, I sincerely believe the honorable Dwight E. Avis.

10. The Supreme Court ruled in Cheek v. U.S. [498 U.S. 192] that in relationship to income tax, “A good faith misunderstanding of the law or a good-faith belief that one is not violating the law negates willfulness, whether or not the claimed belief or misunderstanding is objectively reasonable.”

  • The 1998 U.S. Attorney’s Bulletin 19 states “In the seminal case of Cheek v. U.S. the Supreme Court held that a taxpayer’s ‘belief’ that he or she was not required to file a tax return, however incredible such a misunderstanding of and beliefs about the law might be, does not have to be objectively reasonable. Rather, the standard is a subjective one.”

11. While this treatise proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that I am not required to file, the Supreme Court has ruled, thus it is a law of this land, that I need not be legally correct. I need only possess a sincere belief. As I have revealed why, as my actions have proven, I have a good faith belief that I am not required to file, thus my failure to file is “not willful.”

12. Irwin Schiff is the godfather of the tax protester movement. Irwin changed my world view, as yours must change to comprehend this vast treachery. He’s 86 years old and has been locked in a small cell for a long time. The IRS held his Motion to Dismiss for over a year, then released it mere hours before his verdict, ruling that Irwin’s arguments were “frivolous.”

For proof there is no legal requirement to file go to: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Will Kesler, Activist Post 

Will Kesler is an anti-income tax activist living in Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado


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