Documentaries to Change the World
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Some helpful questions adapted from "Teach With Movies":
- State the title of the film and the year it was released. Then briefly describe what the film is about.
- 2017 - A Broken IRS. This film is about the difficulties citizens of the United States have in understanding and obeying the tax laws because of problems in the IRS and in the courts.
- Identify the people, places, events, or aspects of people, society, or nature that are the focus of this film. Describe and clarify the significance of each.
- Chief Justice White of the Supreme Court used the term "erroneous assumption" in 1916 to describe a particular understanding of the 16th amendment. Larry Becraft's argument that the assumption is erroneous was deemed frivolous by the ninth circuit court of appeals. Lawyer and CPA Robert G. Beard Jr. writes about this on page 38 of his book, "The U.S. Individual Income Tax is Incompatible with a Free Society" (2013). Peter Hendrickson has educated thousands of people who have collected refunds from the IRS by filing their returns with IRS agents who understood the law well enough to follow it. The law reflects testimony by legislative draftsman F. Morse Hubbard who had worked for the Treasury department in which he describes the income tax as a tax on certain activities and privileges. A large portion of the citizenry does not engage in the certain activities or use the privilege, but they are deceived into believing the law says they still have to pay taxes. IRS makes it look like a very large number of people have claimed religious exemption. Highly educated people believe that the Tax Court is a sham and that there is no justice in the area of taxation. Many people who understand Hendrickson's work and obey the law and inform the IRS that they have no liability for the tax are victimized by the agency anyway.
- List six facts described in the film that impressed you and explain how each fact relates to the film’s premise or theme.
- The ninth circuit court of appeals ruled that something the Supreme Court said seventy-three years before was both frivolous and absurd.
- A man who wrote legislation for the Treasury Department testified in 1978 that the income tax was a tax on certain activities and privilege.
- A senate hearing was planned in which government lawyers were going to answer several questions, among which were questions about how various circuit courts of appeals held contradictory views of the income tax, and that therefore the law could not be enforced because the courts could not understand it.
- The senate hearing was postponed and then canceled under false pretenses.
- People working for the IRS don't examine or follow the law, but instead do what they are told.
- IRS has an internal list of frivolous positions which is different from the official list that the law requires the secretary of the treasury to publish.
- What aspects of the film show something most haven't seen before?
- Judicial Review makes the law pointless because judges make up whatever they want when they get a chance to rule on a case. This can be appealed, but the appellate court can ignore the law just as easily as the lower court does, and the Supreme Court can too, or it can just decline to hear a case, allowing a possibly incorrect appellate court ruling to stand and provide a precedent for further error.
An article in the Washington Post describes some misbehavior (find "those new guidelines are not being faithfully followed" near the botton) of the IRS that may be useful.