IRS Documentary Plan

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“At the time, we concentrated single-mindedly on promoting the war effort. We gave next to no consideration to any longer-run consequences. It never occurred to me at the time that I was helping to develop machinery that would make possible a government that I would come to criticize severely as too large, too intrusive, too destructive of freedom. Yet, that was precisely what I was doing.”

--Milton Friedman, Two Lucky People (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1998, p. 123)

  1. Find people who can help make a documentary
  2. Create the story arc.
  3. Create a way for people who want to help financially to do so.
  4. Write a script, or maybe a few, as can be seen in the Freakonomics documentary.
    1. Script One, to educate the audience on a few important things
      1. The editor will choose clips of attractive people asking questions about the income tax.
      2. Youtube clips and live interviews will answer questions.
      3. The audience will be encouraged to share their insights and the documentary with authorities, and current and potential government workers.
    2. A Script to Provide Some History
      1. The inventors of a cable grip in 1928, siblings Vivien and Edgar Kellems run a successful business with no interference or worries about any federal tax.
      2. In 1941, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, creating fertile ground for manipulation of the citizenry.
      3. The Federal government leverages the emotional state of the citizens to get their employers to withhold a part of their paychecks
      4. In 1948, Vivien determines that withholding is unconstitutional and asks to be prosecuted for refusing to do do it.
      5. Unable to cover the ongoing legal costs of trying to get prosecuted as her battle threatens to bankrupt her company and the federal government continues declining to prosecute, Vivien abandons her fight.
    3. A Script Explaining Judicial Review
      1. In 1916, Frank Brushaber sues Union Pacific Railroad Company for withholding federal income tax from dividends owed him because he owns shares of the company's stock, and the case goes all the way to the Supreme Court.
      2. Chief Justice White of the Supreme Court refers to an erroneous assumption about what the 16th Amendment did.
      3. In 1989, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denies Attorney Lowell H. Becraft, Jr.'s argument that what the assumption asserts is false, calling that argument "frivolous."
      4. Attorney Becraft is fined $2,500.
      5. As the case law is now understood, parts of the Constitution of the United States destroy each other, as which Chief Justice White explained when he called the assumption erroneous for that very reason.
    4. A Script Illustrating Profitable IRS Error
      1. In 1978, a legislative draftsman that worked for the treasury department, F. Morse Hubbard, testifies to congress that the income is a tax on certain activities and privileges.
      2. A citizen who wishes to avoid supporting the federal government earns a living without engaging in the activities or using any privilege.
      3. Those who pay him suggest to the IRS that he may owe taxes.
      4. The citizen provides sworn testimony indicating that he avoided the activities and privileges on which the tax falls.
      5. An IRS bureaucrat use an internal list of frivolous positions that doesn't match the official list, matching the appearance of the sworn testimony to a description of how a form may be filled out.
      6. The bureaucrat enters data into the IRS system that indicates the citizen "assigned or attributed the income to a religious organization."
      7. Evidence of the mistake is presented to [ a judge who ignores it] and makes the citizen pay both a fine and the tax.
  5. Create a budget.
  6. Hire a film crew.

"Throughout history taxation has ever posed the one great question. It has been the goad which has driven oppressed people to free themselves. From taxation have come the longest and bloodiest wars, including our own Revolution. By undermining the rights of private prop- erty, the foundation of civilized government, it has destroyed one civilization after another, and bids fair to finish the one in which we find ourselves."

-- Vivien Kellems, Toil, taxes, and trouble (E. P. DUTTON & CO., INC., 1952, p.7)

Some helpful questions adapted from "Teach With Movies":

  1. 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.
  2. 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 and obey the law and inform the IRS that they have no liability for the tax are victimized by the agency anyway.
  3. List six facts described in the film that impressed you and explain how each fact relates to the film’s premise or theme.
    1. The ninth circuit court of appeals ruled that something the Supreme Court said seventy-three years before was both frivolous and absurd.
    2. A man who wrote legislation for the Treasury Department testified in 1978 that the income tax was a tax on certain activities and privilege.
    3. 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.
    4. The senate hearing was postponed and then canceled under false pretenses.
    5. People working for the IRS don't examine or follow the law, but instead do what they are told.
    6. 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.
  4. What aspects of the film show something most haven't seen before?
    1. 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.

We are of opinion, however, that the confusion is not inherent, but rather arises from the conclusion that the Sixteenth Amendment provides for a hitherto unknown power of taxation, that is, a power to levy an income tax which although direct should not be subject to the regulation of apportionment applicable to all other direct taxes. And the far-reaching effect of this erroneous assumption ...

-- Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., 240 U.S. 1, 12-19, 36 S.Ct. 236, 239-42, 60 L.Ed. 493 (1916)