From the December 2001 Idaho Observer:

IRS official admits voluntary nature of the income tax

At what the IRS calls a “desk hearing” in Media, Penn., October 18, 2001, IRS Examination Division Tony Burton admitted the voluntary nature of the income tax. Burton's subordinate John Vastardis disagreed. The ensuing conversation illuminates the illogic of the tax code as applied to the “wages-are-not-income” argument. Following is a piece of the transcript of the Oct. 18 hearing. The entire transcript and much of the logical case Ken Evans has presented to the IRS can be found at:

Mr. Burton: "It's voluntary to file. Alright?"

Mr. Evans: "Could you just repeat that once?"

Mr. Burton: "It vol. It's a voluntary file."

Mr. Evans: "Doesn't voluntary imply choice?"

Mr. Burton: "Yeah. You exercised your choice not to file a return."

Mr. Vastardis: "No. You must file. It's.."

Mr. Burton: "No."

Mr. Vastardis: "It's the determination of tax liability."

Mr. Burton: "No."

Mr. Vastardis: "The assessment is voluntary. We're letting them self assess."

Mr. Burton: "The assessment is voluntary?"

Mr. Vastardis: "Whatever. You know. So, actually, you're in violation of a court order then?"

Mr. Evans: "Not at all."

Mr. Vastardis: "The court told you to file."

Mr. Evans: "I've appealed. "

Mr. Burton: "Right, the assessment is voluntary."

Mr. Evans: "I've appealed. I have every right legally."

Mr. Vastardis: "The determination of liability is voluntary, that's what it is."

Mr. Vastardis: "You must file..."

Mr. Evans: "If you're liable."

Mr. Vastardis: (in agreement) "If you're liable. And we told you're liable."

Mr. Evans: "You just said determination of liability is voluntary."

Mr. Vastardis: "The way we interpret the law . the way the laws are . the way the courts interpret the law . you're liable."

Mr. Evans: "But, I thought you just said that determination is voluntary?"

Mr. Burton: "Yes, you can voluntarily make your own self assessment."

Mr. Vastardis: "Not assessment of liability. Determination of liability is voluntary."

Mr. Evans: "So if I voluntarily determine that I don't have liability then I don't have to file and if I don't have to file, section 6020(b) doesn't apply."

Mr. Vastardis: "You're going in circles again."

Mr. Evans: "Oh, I agree."

All talking

Mr. Burton: "No no no.. that's when people like John & I come into play."

Mr. Evans: "Well, you (referring to Mr. Burton) just said that filing is voluntary and you (referring to Mr. Vastardis) just said that determination of liability is voluntary."

Mr. Vastardis: "You must file. Determination of liability is voluntary. We let you self assess. That's the voluntary portion."

Mr. Evans: "So, I must file, IF I'm liable?"

Mr. Vastardis: "Which we have a definition of "income" problem."

Mr. Evans: "But you just said that determining liability is voluntary. I just hope this illustrates to both of you the serious degree of confusion that is created."

Mr. Burton: "Excuse me, sir. It's not confusion to us."

Mr. Evans: "No? You (referring to Mr. Burton) just told me that filing is voluntary and he (referring to Mr. Vastardis) just disagreed."

Mr. Vastardis: "No, I said.."

Mr. Burton: "I'm not confused."

Mr. Vastardis: "No, you must file. The determination of the self assessment. The liability is voluntary."

Mr. Evans: "But, you only have to file if you're liable."

Mr. Vastardis: "And you don't think you have income and we think you do have income and the courts think you have income."

Mr. Burton: "See. don't.. you don't..see. I'm not confused cuz I know that you don't believe that you have liability. So, I'm not confused."

Mr. Evans: "But he (referring to Mr. Vastardis) just told me that determination of liability is voluntary."

Mr. Burton: "Yeah, you voluntarily made a determination that you didn't have a liability."

Mr. Evans: "Isn't that my right?"

Mr. Burton: "Ok. Now."

Mr. Vastardis: "You're saying you don't have don't have income."

Mr. Evans: "Right."

Mr. Vastardis: "But, we believe you do have income."

Mr. Burton: "I .. You see why I'm not confused?"

Mr. Vastardis: "Now, we're going back to the old argument."

Mr. Burton: laughing

Mr. Evans: "But, if I don't have liability, I'm not required to file and if I'm not required to file, the IRS doesn't have the authority to assess."

Mr. Vastardis: "In our eyes, you have liability."

Mr. Burton: "Now, that's where you make the quantum leap. That's where you get confused."

Mr. Evans: "I'm not confused at all."

Mr. Burton: "Yes you are. You just said if you don't think you have a tax you don't have to that's where."

Mr. Evans: "I said if I don't . if I'm not liable I'm not required to file. You (referring to Mr. Vastardis) just said that determining liability is voluntary. If there's no liability? Doesn't that make sense to you?"

Mr. Vastardis: "No. You're interpreting .. We got to go back a step. You're interpreting income. You're saying you don't have income and we're saying you do. And that's the definition of income from before.."

Mr. Evans: "But, even supposing I did, you told me that determining liability is voluntary."

Mr. Vastardis: "Right. Let's say you have income."

Mr. Evans: "Voluntary implies choice."

Mr. Vastardis: "You have to put your wages down and say this is what I owe."


(This story will be followed up in the January, 2002 edition of The Idaho Observer).

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